When British Columbia joined Confederation, it was on the condition that a railway be built to unite East and West. When the Ottawa Renegades re joined the CFL, they should have had their own condition put in place; Never have to play the BC Lions in the regular season.
The Renegades have played the Lions six times since rejoining the league three years ago; Six times they have been on the short end of the score, trailing the Lions by a combined 118 point margin.
The latest addition to that record came in front of over 22,000 fans at Frank Clair Stadium as the BC Lions dominated the Rens 31-13. The Lions struck early and carried on with the attack for the better part of the game, as Casey Printers once again set the standard for QB’s, throwing three touchdown passes and tossing for 363 yards completing 25 of 22 passes. Scoring on their opening set of downs of the game, the Lions powerhouse offence continued to show why the Lions are first in the West.
The Renegades answered the opening salvo nicely, as Joseph’s marched his team down the field to score on their first possession as well. But that was pretty well the extent of keeping the pace. By the half time gun the Lions were leading 24-8, by three quarter time that lead had increased to 31-13, which is where the scoring ended. The fourth quarter yielded no points for either team. The Lions content to control the ball and eat up the remaining time on the way to their eight win of the season, now sitting with an 8-3 record they are holding a tight grip on first place in the CFL West.
The Ottawa fans were vocal in their disappointment with the Renegades play, boos cascaded from the Upper deck of the Southsiders and stretched the width of the North Side stands as the Rens failed to put points on the board and whenever the Renegades would turn over the ball. Place kicker Sandro Sciortino continued to carry on his erratic path, missing a sure fire field goal attempt from the 17 yard line in the second quarter, his shank off course was received with a chorus of boos that would ring in his years as the teams headed for the dressing rooms.
The loss doesn’t help the Rens cause of making the CFL playoffs in their third year of operation. The idea of hosting this years Grey Cup may now mainly be a matter of helping out in the kitchen making nachos and keeping the beer cold, if things continue on this way they certainly won’t be involved in any on field activities. At this point in the season the Rens don’t look particularly threatening to their compatriots in the East Division, with Hamilton in action on Sunday the Rens may find themselves falling further behind in the race for the third and final playoff position.
The Renegades prepare for Calgary next, a must win game on Friday night, against a team that has been struggling all year. The problem for the Rens is that Calgary’s one strength is a defense that has performed admirably over the last 11 weeks. Saddled with an offence that can’t seem to score points, the Calgary defense has been the one bright spot in an otherwise forgettable season. They will give Kerry Joseph and the Rens offence all that they can handle Friday night. Renegades owner has basically declared that if the Rens lose that game Friday, the team will be torn apart and rebuilt.
The Leos head for home and a big match up against the Edmonton Eskimos, with Edmonton still entertaining thoughts of a charge for first place, Saturday night will provide the Lions a chance to send the message that first place belongs in the far west this season. Currently two points ahead of the Esks and with a game in hand, a victory will put them in the driver’s seat in the West.
A high profile game and a chance to watch Mike Pringle make CFL history should result in a huge crowd at BC Place, keeping the forward momentum of the franchise moving along right as planned. The Renegades could only dream of such a path at this time!