B.C. Lions look to stop Stanback, stymie Montreal Alouettes’ run game

B.C. already faced Montreal once this season, dropping a 21-16 decision back on Sept. 6

The B.C. Lions may be looking for their third win in a row, but coach DeVone Claybrooks says his team still has plenty room for improvement.

“We still haven’t played a perfect game by my standards,” he said on Friday. ”We’re just trying to get better and trying to win the next game.”

The Lions’ next test will be much tougher than their previous two outings — wins over the free-falling Ottawa Redblacks. On Saturday, the Lions (3-10) host the Montreal Alouettes (7-5), who have won four of their past five.

B.C. already faced Montreal once this season, dropping a 21-16 decision back on Sept. 6.

But this week, the Als will be without quarterback Vernon Adams Jr., who was suspended by the CFL after swinging a helmet at Winnipeg’s Adam Bighill in Montreal’s 38-37 comeback win last week.

Alouettes coach Khari Jones said missing his starting QB is “unfortunate” but the club accepts it and will move on with Matt Shiltz at the helm.

“We’ll be OK,” he told reporters in Montreal this week. ”These guys rally together really well. I have all the faith in the world in (Shiltz) and I’m excited to see him get out there and play. He’s been practising really well.”

The Lions haven’t been thinking too much about who’ll be tossing for their opponents, Claybrooks said.

“We can’t control who plays,” he said. “All I’m worried about is what we do. … If we focus on us, execute and do our thing, we’ll be fine.”

Shiltz has slotted into two games this season, completing 11-of-16 attempts for 107 passing yards, and said this week that he’s ready to go out and do whatever’s asked of him on a given play.

“Whether that’s hand the ball off 40 times a game or have 50 pass attempts, I just go out there, read the defence and get the ball to the open guy,” he said.

“When you think about it that way, it’s a pretty simple game so I’m going to go out there, do everything I can to move the ball down the field, protect the football and hopefully come out on top.”

Claybrooks called the 26-year-old Butler University alum ”a mobile kid (who) can make all the throws,” but said the Lions will be focusing on shutting down the Als’ run game.

Running back William Stanback already has 748 rushing yards and five touchdowns for the Als in 10 games this season.

He could also get some help from former Lion Jeremiah Johnson, who’s expected to be back in the lineup after missing two games with a concussion.

B.C. will also have to work around what Lions quarterback Mike Reilly called “a very good defence.”

“They’re not really the team that’s going to have busted coverages and breakdowns and things like that that you’re going to be able to take a bunch of big shots over the top,” he said.

Instead, Reilly expects that his offence will have to make long, sustained drives.

That task has become a bit easier for the veteran quarterback in recent weeks, thanks in part to a stronger offensive line.

While the Lions allowed 42 sacks in the first 10 games of the season, Reilly has been hauled down just four times over the past three games.

He credited “fantastic” protection across the field with allowing him to make big plays.

“I think we’ve all done a better job on protection, but certainly it starts up front (with the offensive line),” he said. “Protecting really well, but also getting the run game going. That always makes it a lot easier on the back end.”

MONTREAL ALOUETTES (7-5) AT B.C. LIONS (3-10)

Saturday, B.C. Place

PLAYOFF IMPLICATIONS: The Lions’ faint hope of a post-season berth could be snuffed out this week if they lose to the Alouettes and the Edmonton Eskimos beat the Ottawa Redblacks.

SCORING BIG: Montreal has 24.8 points per game heading into Saturday’s contest, good for second in the league. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers lead the CFL with 25.8.

TOUGH CROWD: The Alouettes haven’t won at B.C. Place since Aug. 20, 2015. Still, Montreal has been decent on the road this season, going 3-3.

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Petition calls for appeal of Luke Strimbold’s sentence for sex assault

Prosecution service says the former Burns Lake mayor’s case is under review

Former Burns Lake mayor gets two years for sexual assaults against minors

Banned from taking work involving young people for five years

Premier honours Smithers hydrologist with Legacy Award

David Wilford has been with the forestry ministry for 45 years

Vaping a real drag on student health, parents hear at Nov. 26 presentation

The event was billed as a chance to inform parents about the risks associated with teen vape use

Resident urges Town to create citizens’ climate council

In a letter to council Tina Portman says other jurisdictions have built similar “citizen assemblies”

VIDEO: Federal Liberals’ throne speech welcomes opposition’s ideas

Trudeau will need NDP or Bloc support to pass legislation and survive confidence votes

VIDEO: John Lennon’s iconic Rolls Royce rolls into Vancouver Island college for checkup

Royal BC Museum, Camosun College and Coachwerks Restorations come together to care for car

VIDEO: Rockslide closes part of Highway 93 in Fairmont Hot Springs

Geotechnical team called in to do an assessment after rocks fell from hoodoos

BC firefighters to help battle Australian bushfires

Canada sent 22 people, including 7 from B.C.

B.C. NDP touts the end of MSP premiums

Horgan, James held news conference to reiterate that people will get their last bill this month

Illicit drug deaths down, but B.C. coroner says thousands still overdose

Chief coroner Life Lapointe says province’s drug supply remains unpredictable

Trustees ask for more help after tearful meeting on B.C. school’s ‘toxic’ stench

Enforcement has ‘no teeth,’ school trustee says, while kids become sick

One of B.C’s last surviving strip clubs baring all again for Christmas charity

25th annual event is Sunday and raises money for the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society.

University of Victoria researchers develop industry-changing ‘hyper-glue’

‘Cross-linking’ technology already playing a role in performance body armour

Most Read