Lions hunt QBs in Montana

BOB MACKIN -- 24 Hours Vancouver

, Last Updated: 7:52 AM ET

B.C. Lions have big hopes for their second quarterback from the Big Sky state.

Lions' inked 23-year-old free agent Tyler Emmert yesterday from Montana's Carroll College Fighting Saints. The Helena, Mont. native will compete with Buck Pierce and Jarious Jackson to back up Great Falls, Mont.-born Dave Dickenson when training camp opens May 21 in Abbotsford.

Head coach and general manager Wally Buono had been seeking a fourth quarterback to bring to camp after Casey Printers left for the National Football League's Kansas City Chiefs in January. Emmert, he said, is better than the fourth slot on the depth chart.

"Tyler Emmert is going to come in here and compete very well," Buono said.

Emmert quarterbacked the Fighting Saints to four consecutive National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics titles. The six-foot-two, 204-pounder was offensive player of the game in three of the four championship wins.

His 258 completions for 3,317 yards and 32 touchdowns in 2005 earned NAIA football player of the year honours. Emmert is also an academic all-star majoring in civil engineering.

"When you look at his credentials and what he's accomplished, it's tremendous," Buono said.

The Lions open the 2006 Canadian Football League regular season at home June 16 against Saskatchewan Roughriders. Lions' president and chief executive officer Bob Ackles said yesterday the club has sold 17,500 season tickets including 2,000 packages. B.C. had just over 19,000 subscribers in 2005.

"I feel we'll hold that same level this year, maybe a bit better," Ackles said.


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