Back into the Lions' den

Wide receiver Frank Cutolo, during practice yesterday at Frank Clair Stadium, is one of four...

Wide receiver Frank Cutolo, during practice yesterday at Frank Clair Stadium, is one of four Renegades who started last season for the B.C. Lions. (Ottawa Sun/Sean Kilpatrick)

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:27 AM ET

Richard Harris has a nickname for Ottawa.

The Renegades defensive line coach likes to think of his new home as "B.C. East."

It's like the first-year Renegades coach never left Vancouver after spending four seasons with the Lions, because more than one-quarter of the team's 40-man roster and two of his fellow coaches have strong B.C. connections.

It's an important game for all of them, as the Renegades try to beat the Lions for the first time in franchise history, Friday in Vancouver.

Since Ottawa's return to the CFL in 2002, it has lost all six games vs. B.C.

"When I was there, the Renegades started out playing us pretty strong, but kind of faded along the way," said Harris, who coached against Ottawa in every one of those games.

"I would love to be part of the first Ottawa unit to go in there and beat them. It would be nice to be able to beat that streak, and I feel we have the squad that can do it."

That team includes four players --- defensive back Da'Shann Austin, receiver Frank Cutolo and defensive linemen Cameron Legault and Marc Pilon who all played for B.C. last season.

The Renegades also signed free-agent defensive lineman Ray Jacobs, a former CFL all-star, who last played in the league for the Lions in 2003.

"It will probably be a little strange going there and going into the visiting locker room," said Cutolo, who played two seasons with the Lions. "But all it is is a business trip, Ottawa vs. B.C., and we've got to go out and play the game."

CAUGHT KEY TD PASS

Cutolo, who scored a key touchdown reception during Friday's 39-36 overtime win over Montreal, couldn't stick with Wally Buono's team during training camp, despite scoring nine touchdowns for B.C. last season.

"I don't really have much to prove to them," said Cutolo. "They know what I've done in the past, and they know what I can do. I'm just basically going to go out there with the Ottawa Renegades and make plays and help us win."

Legault, one of the few Carleton grads left in the CFL, spent five seasons with the Lions before signing with his home-town Renegades in February, on the same day Pilon and Jacobs also joined the Ottawa team.

The other Renegades who are ex-Lions are safety Greg Bearman, kicker Matt Kellett, linebacker Jason Kralt and receiver Yo Murphy.

Offensive lineman Ibrahim Khan played collegiate ball at Simon Fraser in Burnaby, and rookie linebacker Cam Yeow is from Surrey, B.C.

Renegades coach Joe Paopao began his CFL playing career with the Lions in 1978 and remains popular in Vancouver to this day.

"I've still got a lot of great friends there, but I've got a lot of great friends here, too," said Paopao, who served as the Lions coach in 1996 and worked on the coaching staff there with Renegades offensive co-ordinator Kani Kauahi.

Paopao said it's important for the former Lions -- especially the ones who played there last year -- not to get too emotional.

"You always want to do well against your (former) team, but life goes on," said Paopao.


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