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BC Lions Land Calgary Stampeders open the 2023 CFL season

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Calgary — Vernon Adams Jr. and Dominic Rimes put pressure on the BC Lions early in a 25-15 win over the Calgary Stampeders to open the CFL season on Thursday.

Rhymes caught two touchdown passes and totaled 100 yards in the game.

He picked up where he left off in 2022 when his 1,401 yards ranked second among CFL receivers behind Winnipeg’s Dalton Schoen and earned Rhymes a league All-Star rating.

The BC quarterback took over early Thursday.

Adams threw for 176 yards on two touchdown passes – one on BC’s first possession of the game and the other in the first minute of the second quarter.

He capped off those drills by throwing rhymes into the end zone.

“It’s the business we were doing together like a complete insult,” said Rhimes. “When they give me opportunities to make plays, I have to play for him.

“He’s our quarterback and he’s our captain and I want to be the best person I can be with him, so I can make our offense work.”

Adams was as effective with his feet as he was with his arm.

The quarterback rushed for 35 yards on 10 carries and also ran for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

BC kicker Sean Whyte’s 44-yard field goal with 25 seconds left put the game out of reach for the Stampeders.

“The fast start was fantastic,” Lyon coach Rick Campbell said. “It’s a 60-minute game, but playing Calgary here is tough.

“If they get the momentum early, it’s really tough. You have an uphill battle. It was nice to be on the scoreboard and Vernon and we were swearing for the most part.”

Tre Odoms-Dukes caught a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter from Jake Meyer for Calgary’s only touchdown in front of a crowd of 17,942 at McMahon Stadium.

Calgary’s Rene Paredes kicked three field goals on five attempts.

He missed the first two by 39 and 45 yards, but managed 22, 39 and 52 yards.

Adams completed 27 of 35 passes for 270 yards and two touchdowns in the game. Mike Rose intercepted it.

The Lions acquired Adams, a 2019 All-Star from the Montreal Alouettes midway through last season when Canadian quarterback Nathan Rourke was injured.

With Rourke now owner of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, the Lions have turned to 30-year-old Adams to lead their offense.

“I feel a lot more comfortable than I did last year when I was thrown into the fire,” Adams said.

Meyer struggled in the first half on Thursday, completing just seven of 15 passes for 56 yards.

The 26-year-old had several pressures and was sacked by Matthew Bates late in the second quarter.

Meyer was 20-for-36 on pass attempts for 154 yards and a touchdown pass. It was intercepted once.

“There’s no excuse,” Meyer said. I will never be an excuses man.

“We didn’t play well, especially in attack in the first half, and we are in the second week.”

Last season’s CFL Player of the Year, Kadeem Curry of Calgary, rushed for 42 yards on seven carries.

BC’s defense limited top Stampeder receivers Reggie Bigleton and Malik Henry to 58 total yards.

The Lions had more first downs than the Stampeders in the first three quarters.

“We have to stay ahead, which means we can’t be second team and be great,” Stampeders coach Dave Dickinson said.

“We weren’t necessarily able to give Jake that extra time to read that extra read, to make that extra game.

“It’s still early. I’m not going to hit them. I understand what it is. I look in the mirror. We have to be better. The coaches too.”

Paredes’ 52-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter put the home side within four points of BC, but a 44-yard run from White sealed the win for BC.

The Lions and Stampeders are both 12-6 in 2022.

BC Calgary won 30-16 in the Western Division semifinals last year before losing 28-20 to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the division final.

“Last year we went to the semi-finals so we know what kind of team we have,” Lions defender Gary Peters said. We got to the camp much earlier.

“We have a lot of experienced players, and that’s just a testament to the kind of team we have and that’s what we’re putting on the field today.”

The Stampeders will take on the host Ottawa Redblacks for the second straight game on Thursday night to open their season.

The Lions will host their home game against the Edmonton Elks on June 17 with a pre-game concert by LL Cool J scheduled at BC Place.

Campbell is hoping the Calgary home run will increase the buzz from the home crowd.

“We’re trying to do our part on the field,” Campbell said. “Hopefully we’ll have a big crowd next week.”

Notes: The Stampeders had nine rookies on their game-day roster, including three receivers, compared to the Lions’ seven. . . Since the CFL’s return to the nine-team league in 2014, the Calgary are 4-4-1 and the Lions 4-5 at the start of the season.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on June 8, 2023.

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