Lions in search of four

BOB MACKIN -- 24 Hours Vancouver

, Last Updated: 9:28 AM ET

It's a clash of two 5-3 teams today in Winnipeg as the Western conference-leading B.C. Lions put their three-game winning streak on the line against the revived Blue Bombers.

The blue-and-gold went 5-13 in 2005 and shuffled back to the Eastern conference when the Ottawa Renegades franchise went on hiatus this season.

Bombers would need a 10-game losing streak to match last year's futility. While no one is forecasting disaster to strike, neither is first place expected after the club's bizarre home-and-home series with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Bombers registered a 29-0 shutout in Hamilton but came home and lost 26-11 last Friday. They also lost quarterback Kevin Glenn with torn left knee cartilage.

Backup Mike Quinn will make his first start, but he won't have Milt Stegall as his target. Stegall's sidelined with a rib injury.

That's good news for the Lions because Stegall was a one-man wrecking crew against the Lions last fall with a four-touchdown game.

Lions are going without their No. 1 quarterback as Dave Dickenson mends a right ankle sprain.

He suffered the injury after throwing a 92-yard touchdown pass to Geroy Simon during the second quarter of last Friday's home win over the Edmonton Eskimos.

Buck Pierce made a pair of touchdown passes when he played the rest of the way. He'll start today in the stadium where he made his first CFL start in 2005. Ex-teammate Barrin Simpson will be among the Winnipeg defenders looking for a sack.

"Their front four is very good and linebacking corps has gotten better," Pierce said. "We're going to have to be sound in our blocking schemes and play somewhat mistake-free football. We can't play cautious though. We're going to have to take our shots as well."

One player ready again is B.C. slotback Jason Clermont. He suffered a left knee ligament injury in the first quarter of the season opener June 16, underwent surgery and wasn't supposed to be back until September.

Clermont wants to prove Lions' doctors wrong with a big game in Winnipeg. He's not yet 100 per cent, so head coach Wally Buono will use him sparingly and strategically.

Lions are hoping this isn't their only trip to Winnipeg this season. The 94th Grey Cup will be contested Nov. 19 in Canad Inns Stadium.


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