If you saw Matt Dunigan on the phone at the end of Friday night’s Lions Stamps contest there’s a good chance he was on the line to 9-1-1, hoping to talk to the VPD squad. Dunigan threw in one of those nifty little quirks of the CFL rules at the end of the game, to nearly snatch victory from the jaws of defeat and to hear Dunigan tell the story it should have been victory!
The controversial play stemmed from the completion of a Khari Jones pass to Mike Juhasz who then punted the ball downfield, the Stamps receiver Sulecio Sanford recovered the ball and ran it into the end zone for what should have been a touch down. However, on field officials were split on the placing of Sanford on the field, eventually it was ruled that he was ahead of Juhasz when he made the punt and thus was guilty of being offside, the whistle blows, the touchdown doesn’t count and the Leos win 19-17.
The Stamps protested claiming that Sandord was behind Juhasz at the time of the punt and thus was an eligible player, the TSN replays proved inconclusive to the television viewer, but would have been of no use on Friday as the CFL has not yet implemented video replay. The chance of it becoming a fixture at league games gets a quantum boost with Friday night’s drama.
Beyond that it was a rather entertaining if error prone game at the Dome at BC Place, another large lower bowl crowd of 27,295 watched with interest as Dave Dickenson held a dominant role for most of the game, leading the Lions down the field time and time again, completing 17 of 24 passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns. He remained in the game until the midway point of the fourth quarter when a heavy hit from the Stampeders brought Casey Printers into the game. Printers added to the drama setting the stage for Duncan O’Mahony’s game winning field goal with nine seconds left.
Khari Jones was slow to start but fast to finish as he found success in his second start as the Stampeder field general. Jones could hardly be blamed for dropped passes through the game as his receivers let him down at key moments of Stampeder drives. Despite the slow start and giving up fourteen points early in the game, the Stamps had battled back to take the last minute lead of 17-16 before Printers made his final drive. With Jones though the game may never really be over, he weaved his own magic only to have the winning points taken away on the controversial no yards call.
For the Lions the points are welcome if not needed, but more importantly some weaknesses were highlighted for Wally Buono to work on in time for the Western Final in mid November. The Lions finish off the season next Saturday night, when Saskatchewan comes to town. They then wait for the winner of the Western semi final.
The Stamps wrap up the 2004 campaign on Friday night in Winnipeg, a homecoming of sorts for Jones who may get to play the role of spoiler for his old team. Once Matt gets finished with his robbery forms with the VPD he can get to work on the game plan for Winnipeg. With a bit of renewed confidence in Red and White that may prove to be an entertaining night of football!