Brent best in the West

BOB MACKIN -- 24 Hours Vancouver

, Last Updated: 8:34 AM ET

B.C. Lions' defensive end Brent Johnson will find out Nov. 24 if he's the Canadian Football League's outstanding Canadian.

The league's 2005 sack king with 16 is paired off with eastern nominee Kevin Eiben of the Toronto Argonauts. The linebacker is a Vancouver College graduate from Delta.

Johnson was the Lions' only candidate chosen as a western nominee yesterday.

He's honoured to be cited, but the Grey Cup is the prize he prefers.

"Individual things aside, that's going to be the one that you're going to remember the most," Johnson said.

Lions resume training today at B.C. Place Stadium for Nov. 20's western final against the Calgary Stampeders or Edmonton Eskimos. The opponent will be decided Sunday when the Alberta foes meet for the ninth time in a western semifinal in Calgary (3 p.m., CBC).

Montreal Alouettes and Saskatchewan Roughriders also play Sunday (noon, CBC) to decide the Toronto Argonauts' visitor in Nov. 20's eastern final. B.C. Place Stadium is site of the 93rd Grey Cup on Nov. 27.

Lions went 11-0 before sliding 1-6 to finish the regular season. They relied on Calgary to win its last game Sunday, thus preventing Edmonton from taking first place. That wasn't the way the Lions preferred to win top spot.

"You're based on the whole season not the last seven games where we sputtered," Johnson said. "We have 120 minutes to win the Grey Cup. It doesn't give you much time to think about what happened in the past."

Regardless of the awkward fashion in which they earned the bye, Johnson is happy the Lions will be playing at home before more than 40,000 orange-clad fans.


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