Riders fall to Lions in pre-season game that takes forever

Veterans Ronnie Yell and Shawn Gore scored touchdowns to lead the B.C. Lions past the Saskatchewan Roughriders 28-16 on Saturday in the first pre-season games for both teams.

The game was delayed for nearly 45 minutes after a power outage across Regina – reportedly caused by confetti streamers shot at power lines – shut off the lights at Mosaic Stadium.

Gore, a seven-year veteran of the Lions, hauled in a 24-yard pass from quarterback Jonathon Jennings late in the second quarter for the Lions’ first touchdown of the night.

On the ensuing Saskatchewan possession, Yell snagged a deflected pass attempt and returned it 50 yards for B.C.’s second TD of the first half. Jeremiah Johnson scored a two-point convert.

Add that to a first-quarter Richie Leone field goal and the Lions took an 18-6 lead into halftime.

Tyler Crapinga, in his first full year in Saskatchewan, kicked two field goals (22 yards and 23 yards) for the Riders’ only scores of the half.

Veteran quarterback Travis Lulay played the entire second half for B.C. He engineered two drives, one in each quarter, that were capped with Leone field goals from 42 yards and 21 yards, respectively.

The Lions built a 24-9 lead early in the fourth quarter.

The Riders cut into the Lions’ lead when Brett Smith hooked up with veteran receiver Clarence Denmark on a 54-yard touchdown pass. Quinn Van Gylswyk kicked the convert to make it 24-16.

The Chris Jones era in Saskatchewan did not get off to a solid start. The new head coach and general manager, who joined the Riders after guiding the Edmonton Eskimos to a Grey Cup championship in 2015, has several newcomers to assess.

One veteran that stood out was Greg Jones, who made his presence felt for Saskatchewan on defence and on special teams. The former Toronto Argonaut will be a steadying influence on the Riders’ defence, as the team will see an entirely new cast in the secondary. The front seven will see a handful of new faces well.

Eight of the 14 defensive backs that dressed for Saturday’s game are first-year pros. Including the two starting corners (Xavier Walker and Justin Cox) and safety Kevin Francis.

Five of the seven linebackers in uniform also are in their first year in the CFL.


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