Lions coach says Simon slighted

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 9:53 AM ET

VANCOUVER -- The B.C. Lions, having locked up first place in the West Division yet again, are playing a meaningless regular-season finale for the third year in a row.

Since they failed to win the Grey Cup the last two years, however, head coach Wally Buono has been peppered lately with questions about what he will do differently this year to get his players in the right frame of mind going into the post-season.

It appears Buono has found something for his troops to think about.

When asked yesterday about Milt Stegall's pursuit of the CFL touchdown record yesterday, Buono had to get something off his chest.

The CFL will stop the game tonight if Stegall breaks the record to conduct a brief ceremony commemorating the feat. Buono is fine with that, but he feels his team has been slighted.

"The league said that we would stop the game for one (record), but I'm saying that we might have to stop the game for two," Buono said.

He was referring to Lions receiver Geroy Simon, who needs 280 receiving yards tonight to break Allen Pitts' single-season record of 2,036.

"It kind of annoys me a little bit, because I would like the game to be stopped when Geroy breaks the record," Buono said. "Because, to me, he would've accomplished what no other player in the CFL would've accomplished.

"Maybe it won't happen, but the league didn't send us a notice on that, and that annoyed me a little bit."

Buono went on to say that if Simon does somehow catch 280 yards worth of passes tonight, the Lions will stop the game and hold their own ceremony.

I'M NOT DONE: Buono didn't stop there in an effort to get his players fired up.

The CFL's active winningest coach figures tonight's tilt features three battles that will play out again at the CFL Awards ceremony on Nov. 16 in Winnipeg: Charles Roberts vs. Geroy Simon (outstanding player); Doug Brown vs. Brent Johnson (Canadian); and Barrin Simpson vs. Johnson (defensive player).

"You want to show who has the most outstanding player," Buono said.

OLD FRIENDS, NEW FOES: The man in charge of trying to stop Milt Stegall from setting the CFL touchdown record tonight is his former coach, Dave Ritchie.

The Lions defensive co-ordinator, who was Winnipeg's coach for 75 of Stegall's 136 touchdowns, isn't going to give the star slotback any extra attention.

"If we can (stop him), we will," Ritchie said. "If he gets them, he gets them.

"All I want is a W at the end of the night. We're not going to do anything special."

LATE HITS: Stegall had at least a dozen out-of-town media requests earlier this week. Normally he gets one or two ... The Lions hammered the Bombers 32-5 on Aug. 10, but Winnipeg was missing both Stegall and QB Kevin Glenn ... The Lions will be trying to match a club record tonight of 13 wins ... More than 32,000 fans are expected tonight.


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