Leos getting back to work
By Hosea Cheung, QMI Agency
|BC Lions Shawn Gore cheers from the bench during the second half of their CFL Western Conference Final football game against the Edmonton Eskimos in Vancouver, British Columbia, November 20, 2011. (REUTERS/Andy Clark)
VANCOUVER - The ecstasy of victory didn't last long for the B.C. Lions.
A day after winning the West final with authority over the Edmonton Eskimos, the Lions were done celebrating. It was brief. It was enough.
And now, they have their sights set solely on the Grey Cup game against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers Sunday at BC Place.
"It is exciting to have gotten to this point, but there's a collective feeling in the locker room that we're not done," said quarterback Travis Lulay, one of the many heroes for the Lions on Sunday. "We don't want to hang our hats on winning the West."
Having compiled an 0-5 record earlier this season, the Lions are now preparing to play a game not many expected them to be in. And during Monday's brief media availability, the players stressed they are a contrast from the one that lost twice to Winnipeg this season.
"We're a totally different team, totally different attitude, different makeup, different players," said slotback Geroy Simon. "It's a totally different situation with us and hopefully it'll be a totally different outcome then the last two times we played them."
The Blue Bombers prevailed in Week 5 at home during the team's first meeting, winning 25-20. Two weeks later, they downed the Leos 30-17 at Empire Field. But looking back, defensive lineman Brent Johnson has a good reasoning as to why B.C. came out on the losing end then.
"I attribute us playing like s--t early in the season," said the veteran. "Winnipeg is a good team and I think we got our work cut out for us this week, we really do. They deserve to be in this Cup.
"We're a lot different because we've learned to play better as a team. We're playing smarter football and we've come together. We're a legit team now."
BRUCE'S BIG BLOCK
Not that anyone is questioning what Arland Bruce brings to the table for the Lions, but the veteran receiver showed another side to him Sunday.
The mid-season acquisition laid a massive highlight reel block on safety Donovan Alexander to help pave the way for Travis Lulay's 61-yard rushing touchdown.
"Anyway I can contribute on this team — a block or scoring, whatever it is — I'm all in," Bruce said. "I told the team that last week and I really am."
Lulay also appreciated the efforts by his receivers on that critical score, one which set a franchise record for the longest rushing touchdown in the playoffs.
"That's what it takes to spring a big run like that," the pivot said. "If you see that clip again, Arland makes a huge block but Geroy (Simon) shields his guy and Shawn Gore does a great job at blocking."