Bring down the Hammer

HOSEA CHEUNG, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:27 AM ET

It's playoff time for the B.C. Lions Sunday when they head to Ivor Wynne Stadium to face the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the Eastern Division semi-finals. This time though, it's lose and they're out, unlike last week when the Lions found new life after a little help from their upcoming foes. The winner moves on to face Montreal next Sunday.

After losing their top two quarterbacks during last Friday's game, the Lions will have a somewhat different looking top three against Hamilton. Casey Printers will once again start but this time, he'll be backed up by Travis Lulay, while Jarious Jackson, who separated his shoulder two months ago, will be the third string.

"Every week you find issues that you have to resolve, and I think the thing that's encouraging is that when we've had an issue we've addressed it, and the next week it's always been better," said Wally Buono.

Hamilton linebackers Otis Floyd and Jamall Johnson, among others, will be facing their former team and some back and forth bickering has been ongoing all week. "Otis leaves a message on my phone everyday. All he says is, 'Be grateful, you owe me.' So we're going to thank him our way," said ex-Ti-Cat JoJuan Armour this week.

Ian Smart was activated off the practice roster this week and took reps as a running back and returner, and will see action on Sunday. "Sometimes things don't go your way and you just can't give up on yourself," said Smart. "I wasn't going to doubt myself and just stay prepared."

With Jeremy Gibbs injured, the Lions re-signed defensive lineman Caesar Rayford to fill in. The 6'7" Rayford was on the Lions practice roster all last season and was released during training camp this year.

The key to a B.C. win this week is stopping Hamilton's rushing game, as DeAndra'Cobb is second overall with 1,759 yards from scrimmage. The Lions have allowed a league-worst 138 rushing yards per game and 370.6 offensive yards per game.

Three Lions were named as West finalists for CFL awards yesterday including Ricky Foley (Outstanding Canadian), Martell Mallett (Outstanding Rookie), and Jason Arakgi (Special Teams).

It's been just over three months since these two teams met back in week five when the Tiger-Cats won 30-18. They also took the first matchup 31-28.


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