Forget what he said was a fun trip to see old friends. Saturday was a personal day for James Butler III.
Instead of paying him, the BC Lions chose to send him to Hamilton in the offseason, and he came to BC Place on Saturday afternoon ready to return the favor.
Hamilton turned the Lions 30-13, tallying 118 yards and two touchdowns (one rushing, one through the air) and tearing apart his former team. He finished the match with blood on his jersey and a megawatt smile on his face.
“We all know it was personal,” Butler said. “I love this place. I love all the people on the other side, but… at the end of the day, it’s a business. old house in I felt like I rejuvenated my CFL career. I was injured on this field, I was injured on this field, I played on this field, I scored a lot of points, I went through a lot of ups and downs on this field, so it was really nice to come out and get the win. is. “
Butler had five rushes of 10-plus yards against the Lions (7-4) and was the second-least allowed rushing yards before the start of the game. He also ruined the Lions’ unblemished record at home, scoring his first passing touchdown at home against the Leos this year and ending a six-game winning streak in the Dome.
And it wasn’t just Butler personally, but the entire Tiger-Cats (4-6) roster. Talk about BC’s defense, a brilliant home record, and a solid run game all motivated them.
“Unbeaten at home, that’s all. We heard everything,” said Butler. “It was us vs. everyone. We knew nobody was picking us up, but why would they be picking us up? No. They’re not going to pick us yet, but there’s no need for that, we don’t need outside chatter, we don’t need hype, everybody can keep the hype up, we’re building it We’re going to keep it inside and do our job.”
With this, the Lions have lost two straight games, lost consecutive games with the losing team, and are starting in the third army QB. But this was a puzzling turn of events, and the sleepy, sloppy start somehow continued for the entire 60 minutes.
“It hit me today,” Lions coach Rick Campbell said. “I thought the energy Hamilton brought was better than ours, and that’s not typical of our players. Yes, I like this football team, but I didn’t like the way it was done today.
“I’m surprised. It never seemed (the energy) to show up and I don’t know why. We had a good week of training and everything seemed to be going well. The players will be back. seemed excited about
“Maybe we can do a better job of digging ourselves out when things go wrong for some reason. I never fought for it.”
Here’s what we learned…
it’s almost over
A good litmus test for a team’s will is a short yard. On any of his CFL teams, if he gets a 1-yard cushion on the line of scrimmage, he should get 1, maybe 2 yards. But on the Lions’ first attempt, Tikatz’s 3rd and 1 in the 20th, there was a miscounted snap that allowed center Michael Couture to bench-press backwards to Dom Davis. Infiltration failed.
A second 2-and-1 failed as well, and a third down attempt was barely enough to earn a first down. Two plays later, Vernon Adams scored a try on a quick second down call, enough for a first shot in front of the football.
Campbell kept that in mind when facing a third-and-two for Tikats’ 15-point run in the second quarter, choosing a Shaun White field goal while trailing 10-0.
“That third down was big. It was so easy,” he said. “We were just trying to make sure we were back in place[on the field goal].”
Vernon Adams Jr. had a career-high in his sixth 300-yard game of the season and his first against Hamilton, but he didn’t get much help from his receivers. Both Keone Hatcher and Justin McIninis had successes that would have had their sticks moving in the second half, with second-down catches bounced off their hands.
With McInnis down in the fourth quarter, the Lions went 3-10 in midfield and Adams was thrown into a mob of deep-seated Tikatz defenders before being picked off by Jamia Thurman.
With nearly seven minutes left in the game, still two points behind, the escape to the end of the game began.
“No, it didn’t feel like a 300-yard game,” said Adams, who completed 26-for-40 for 311 yards.
“I think I’ll trade this yard for a win. We just need to get better for this team.
“And… well,” he said with a sigh. “We have to get it right.”
Overall, BC gained 358 yards on offense, actually bettering Hamilton’s 336 yards, but scoring just 13. Hatcher’s only touchdown was an 11-yard pass with 1:51 left in the game.
not their night
If there was one play that summed up the night, it was six seconds after Hatcher scored to pull BC within the 10.
In the old onside kick routine, both Alex Hollins and Gary Peters overran receiver Tim White, stole the bounced ball, and ran 47 yards to the end zone.
And the mechanical White, who had recorded 23 consecutive field goal attempts, was also out of form, missing 49 yards in the first half to end the winning streak.
After failing to beat the Edmonton Elks last week, Hamilton’s Taylor Powell finally got his first victory as a starting quarterback for the Tikats. Despite being sacked four times, it was a relatively uneventful night as he gained 222 yards on 18 of 23 passes that were methodical and mediocre.
“I think their quarterback looked comfortable to me, but that’s not good,” Campbell said. “And it’s not just a function of the D-line. It’s the role of all 12 of us. They seemed a step faster than us, they seemed to have more energy than us, and like I said…( It’s not typical of our players.”
And while the Lions struggled to move the ball on the ground, that wasn’t the case for Tikats. Multiple of Butler’s long runs weren’t even touched until after the first two lines of defense, with first contact at 10 yards.
Butler was the first 100-yard rusher against BC this year, and his 132 total rushing yards were the best for a Lions team that averaged just 77.6 yards. Butler is averaging 58 yards per game, and he did it on Hamilton’s second drive alone — a 13-play, 94-yard series capped by Superman’s touchdown over the goal line defense.
“We got swung around. He’s a good player, number one,” Campbell said. “But we were pushed up front. There were times when we knew they were running the ball, but we were still pushed.
“We have to make sure that we have the players in the best possible positions … scheme-wise.
Saturday, September 2nd
Montreal Alouettes vs. Vancouver Whitecaps
4 pm, Percival Memorial Stadium, tv set: TSN, wireless: AM730
BC Lions intend to lose James Butler as he returns to BC Place
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