The B.C. Lions spoiled the Ottawa Redblacks’ home opener with a 24-12 win at TD Place.
Saturday’s game marked the first at TD Place in 667 days and there was a celebratory feeling from the fans on hand, despite the disappointing outcome on the field.
The game also marked the return of Rick Campbell, the Lions’ new head coach, who spent five seasons leading the Redblacks before choosing to step down in Nov. 2019.
Mike Reilly finished the game 23 for 32 for 301 yards with two touchdowns to help the Lions improve to 2-2-0, while the Redblacks fell to 1-2-0 with Matt Nichols going 23 for 37 for 206 yards.
Both teams left a lot to be desired offensively and relied on their respective field goal kickers.
Lewis Ward picked up all 12 of Ottawa’s points.
The offence delivers! 11:04 to go!
🔴⚫️| 12 pic.twitter.com/yr869rtyqi
— BC LIONS (@BCLions) August 29, 2021
With the rain pouring down, Reilly was able to connect with Jevon Cottoy for a 46-yard touchdown pass to extend the Lions’ lead to 22-12 early in the fourth and send many of the Redblacks faithful to the exits.
Ottawa went on to concede two singles as footing became difficult in the rain.
B.C.’s Jimmy Camacho gave the Lions a 15-6 lead early in the third quarter, but Ward responded with 47- and 38-yard kicks of his own to make it 15-12 and keep the Redblacks close.
A late touchdown allowed the Lions to end the half leading 12-6.
With B.C in scoring territory, Ottawa’s Randall Evans was called for pass interference, putting the Lions on the one-yard line. On the ensuing play, Reilly punched in the first TD of the game.
Down 12-3 the Redblacks managed to close the gap with a 48-yard field goal by Ward.
The two teams exchanged field goals in the first quarter to tie the game 3-3.
Down 3-0 Ottawa had a great opportunity to take the lead, but saw its drive stalled on the 10-yard line and settled for a field goal.
The Redblacks will have a quick turnaround as they host the Montreal Alouettes Sept. 3.
Lisa Wallace, The Canadian Press