Desperation time for Lions

BOB MACKIN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:43 AM ET

The last-place B.C. Lions may not be able to drop the "last-place" description Friday night, but they're desperate to erase the "winless at home" designation when they host the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

The Lions are 1-4 after last week's 30-18 loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and want to reach the one-third mark of the CFL schedule the right way by beating the 3-2 flatlanders. B.C. is seeking revenge for the 28-24 season-opening loss in Regina when the porous Leos' offensive line gave up nine sacks.

The Lions will have to hang on to the ball if they're hoping to beat the 'Riders tonight. They're tied with Toronto with 21 turnovers, including a CFL-leading nine interceptions and eight fumbles.

They also are second in the league with 18 sacks allowed -- half of those in the season-opening loss in Regina. The Leos' defence has allowed 159 points, second only to the Roughriders' 164.

"We're good, we're getting better but there's still too many mistakes," said centre Angus Reid.

Friday signals the return to the Leos of linebacker JoJuan Armour, who won a Grey Cup with the Calgary Stampeders in 2008, but was dumped in training camp. He replaces Javier Glatt who was demoted to special teams.

"We're not replacing (Glatt), we're just changing his responsibilities," said B.C. head coach and general manager Wally Buono. "Part of that was trying to get a spark into this football team and trying to make sure that what happened Friday night doesn't happen again."

It will be colour shock for many Lions' fans when they see veteran slotback Jason Clermont wearing number 82 for the green and white. The Regina native ended seven years in B.C. last fall when he was released.

Clermont is searching for his first touchdown of 2009. After five games he has 81 yards on just seven catches. He is bound to get more service from quarterback Darian Durant because Andy Fantuz and Eric Morrison are injured.

Rider Chris Getzlaf caught a pair of touchdowns in Saturday's last-minute 24-23 win over the Calgary Stampeders. On Tuesday, the club lost veteran defensive lineman Scott Schultz to retirement. He hung up his helmet to focus on his insurance agency.

The Lions are four wins away from having a winning record again and Buono is four wins away from the all-time CFL coaching wins record. The Lions have one win in eight games dating back to the 2008 West final.

Lions' legends of the 1960s will be in attendance as B.C. dons uniforms of that era for the annual home retro game. Linebackers Tom Brown and Norm Fieldgate and running back Willie Fleming will join a halftime salute to emergency services.

The Lions are 74-87-4 all-time against the Saskatchewan Roughriders.


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