Ball very much in the B.C. Lions’ court 0
BC Lions quarterback Thomas DeMarco (C) throws the ball up while playing against the Saskatchewan Roughriders during the first half of their CFL football game in Regina, Saskatchewan September 22, 2013. (REUTERS/David Stobbe)
In the first half of the season the B.C. Lions, despite a winning record, were a very underachieving bunch.
The players knew it, the coaching staff knew it, Wally Buono knew it, and anybody else that followed them knew they were pretty much destined for third in the West.
In their last eight games the Leo's offence finally awoke, averaging just a whisker under 33 points per game. Couple that with a defence that is most definitely Grey Cup-calibre, along with rock-solid special teams, suddenly we have a real contender on our hands.
I'd still argue this squad has more to give. As the season winds down we're finally seeing shades of the team that was among the early-season favourites to win it all.
As good as the Lions have looked at times they have to know they caught a break in several games where their opponent was battling injuries to star players.
But that playing field has been levelled with the shoulder injury to their most valuable asset — quarterback Travis Lulay — who will now miss at least another two weeks.
So this daunting run to the post-season will rest firmly on the shoulders of second-year-pro Thomas DeMarco.
No pressure kid, but here's what's at stake.
Beat the Saskatchewan Roughriders Friday night and continue your team’s regular season home winning streak to 13 games and beat them for the second time in three weeks. Manage that and you will successfully hold the tiebreaker and crush the green and white’s hopes of hosting anything resembling a post-season game. Also, do it all in front of a season high crowd of 40,000-plus.
The Western semi-final is your game to host, that is unless you think you have a shot at the division. If that's the case, then the final game of the 2013 season against the current West-leading Calgary Stampeders could have massive implications.
And what do you know, it's a home game to boot.