Dickenson dissects Riders

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:55 AM ET

VANCOUVER -- With one masterful performance, Dave Dickenson dissected the hearts of Saskatchewan Roughrider fans across the nation.

Thanks to three first-half touchdowns and pin-point passing from Dickenson, the B.C. Lions are bound for the Grey Cup for the second time in three years after hammering the Riders 45-18 in front of 50,084 fans at B.C. Place yesterday.

"Honestly, I expected to play well," said Dickenson, after the Lions racked a franchise high-point total for a playoff game.

"I felt comfortable, but what I'm most impressed with was the time up front from our big boys."

In the 2004 West Final, the Riders recorded six sacks against the Leos, but were shut out yesterday.

"(Dickenson) proved he's the best quarterback in the league (yesterday) and he'll do it again next week," predicted centre Angus Reid.

The Lions will now play the Montreal Alouettes on Sunday, which ironically is the same team the Leos beat for their last title in 2000.

But in Rider Nation, this Grey Cup will be like every other championship day for the last 17 years - meaningless.

"It's another heartbreaker," said offensive guard Gene Makowsky, referring to the Cup-winning drought going back to 1989.

"They really took it to us today. We have been in this position (in the West Final) three of the last four years and we haven't been able to get over the hump."

And this time it could cost head coach Danny Barrett his job. Speculation has run rampant for weeks suggesting Barrett had to get to the Grey Cup to receive a new contract.

Not surprisingly, he refused to address his future after the game. But he did praise the Lions.

"Hats off to those guys," he said. "They'll represent the West well (in the Cup)."

From almost the opening kickoff, the Lions were in control.

After scoring on their opening drive, Dickenson delivered an outstanding strike in the back of the end zone to Paris Jackson that made it 10-3 very early in the second quarter.

On the next series, Dickenson went six-for-six to set up a five-yard TD run by Joe Smith, who ended the game with 116 rushing yards.

By the end of the second quarter the Leos were leading 29-4 and the final score was merely a formality.

The Riders did manage back-to-back touchdown drives in the third quarter.

However, their offence was so anemic that Lion kicker Paul McCallum produced more offence on his own.

With 19 points, McCallum equalled the Lion playoff scoring record and believes he exorcized the demons from his costly 18-yard miss when he was with the Riders in the 2004 West Final.

"I had some doubters on that (Rider) team and I think that's why I wasn't there," he said, referring to why he wasn't re-signed after last year.

"It just goes to show that I have lots of football left."

The Vancouver native had five field goals, including an 18-yarder from the exact same location on the field as his botched attempt two years ago.

"The monkey is off my back in a huge way," he said of making that particular kick.

"It's all over with."

For the Lions, it's time to focus on the Grey Cup.


Videos

Photos