B.C. Lions’ quarterback Nathan Rourke says he’s ready for West Semi-Final after brief return last week

Photo courtesy: Paul Yates/B.C. Lions

B.C. Lions’ quarterback Nathan Rourke admitted that his foot felt a little sore after returning to the lineup this past week against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers but wished that he could have played more than just the first three series of the game.

“I feel really good about where I’m at. I think having a couple days off was good, I think that we definitely had a couple more series in there, honestly, but it was good to feel that way and leave a little bit more in the tank at that point just given the nature of the game,” Rourke told the media.

Rourke completed seven-of-eleven pass attempts for 68 yards in the 24-9 loss along with one fumble. It was his first action under centre since undergoing foot surgery in late August, which held him out of eight games this year.

The 24-year-old reviewed the film of his performance and felt he still has a ways to go to get back to midseason form. He’s hopeful that participating fully in practice this week will help him be at his best for the West Semi-Final against Calgary, which is slated for Sunday at BC Place Stadium.

“I’d like to be able to make a couple more throws. Drops and footwork and all the stuff that I need to do to be able to perform as a quarterback, I think I was able to do that. I think I was able to do it at a pretty fast pace and be quick with my feet, which is good to see, so definitely a step in the right direction,” said Rourke.

“We’ll clean up the misses and I think a full week of practice is gonna help with that, just trying to get in the rhythm of things. I’m not too worried about it.”

The six-foot-two, 209-pound passer has always used his legs in order to attack opposing defences. He ran for 2,034 yards and 49 touchdowns during his college career at Ohio University and rushed for 309 yards and seven touchdowns this season, finishing fourth among quarterbacks despite missing half the year.

Rourke admitted that he didn’t feel fully confident in his foot while prepping for last week’s game, though he didn’t think about the injury once the contest got underway.

“During practice, I definitely was having a hard time trusting it but in the game honestly I forgot that it was even an issue until I got off the field. I think we’re at a better spot now. I don’t think it’s going to be as much of a concern,” said Rourke.

Head coach Rick Campbell gave his starting quarterback a vote of confidence during practice this week. He is hopeful that being a full participant in practice will help Rourke settle back into the starting role.

“I think it’s been good, he seems good. I think it keeps getting more normal for him and it’s gonna be a normal week of prep for us where he’s taking all the reps and doing all those things. So far, so good,” said Campbell.

The Lions will host the West Semi-Final on Sunday, Nov. 6 with kickoff slated for 4:30 p.m. EST. It will be the first playoff game that B.C. has hosted since 2016.