Touchdowns by the ton

IAN BUSBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:31 AM ET

VANCOUVER -- The free passes are done, and the Calgary Stampeders have to hope the touchdown passes by the B.C. Lions will come to an end, too.

Geroy Simon and Paris Jackson each caught a pair of touchdowns last night as the host Lions beat the Stamps 38-35 in the pre-season finale in front of 26,242 spectators at B.C. Place Stadium.

The Stamps and Leos will kick off the regular season next Thursday at McMahon Stadium, when there will be a clearer picture of how the two West Division squads stack up.

Allowing the Lions offence to score at will wasn't too troubling considering the Stamps were without linebackers JoJuan Armour and Saleem Rasheed, while cornerbacks Brandon Browner and Dwight Anderson didn't play much.

Stamps head coach John Hufnagel used the second half to evaluate prospects. The job of paring down the roster will be difficult, so Hufnagel was pleased to see a comeback attempt.

"I saw some guys who had an opportunity to make a play and they made it," he said.

"Eddie Montgomery had a nice return, Demetris Summers had a nice kickoff return, Chris Jackson did awfully well.

"Reggie Williams made a nice play at the end. There was some good things that happened."

When the expected starters lined up against each other last night, the Lions held a bit of an advantage, but the Stamps took their turn making some nice plays.

The Stamps started Henry Burris at quarterback, but he wasn't able to generate a whole lot of yardage before exiting with five minutes left in the second quarter to give way to Dave Dickenson.

Burris came back in to run the two-minute offence, but that didn't generate any points, although Hufnagel wasn't too concerned when the Lions took a 22-10 halftime lead.

"We know who our top two quarterbacks are," he said. "What I'm mostly disappointed about in our offence was two things. We had too many penalties and in the green zone, we couldn't punch the ball in. We had to settle for a field goal and that was because of what we weren't able to do."

The Stampeders defence started out well, forcing the Lions into three straight two-and-outs early in the game.

But once some starters went out, the Lions started to click as quarterback Buck Pierce hit Jackson on a couple of perfect corner routes, including one that went for a 17-yard score.

Jarious Jackson took the controls to start the second half and immediately hit Simon for another major.

On the other side, the Stamps used the second half to get a better look at who may get the job as their third quarterback.

Ben Sankey looked strong in his first opportunity, hooking up with Jeremaine Copeland on a four-yard touchdown.

Barrick Nealy finally took over with six minutes remaining the fourth quarter and promptly displayed his ability to scramble out of trouble, running for 67 yards on a touchdown drive.

Nealy then hit Williams on the final play of the game and ran in a two-point conversion to make the score close.

"The kid makes plays," Burris said about Nealy. "He understands how to get the job done. You need to look for the primary man and if it's not there, do the check-down and run. He did that and when there was chances to make plays, he used his feet to make them."


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