Vernon Adams Jr. shines as BC Lions Thump Ottawa Redblacks 34-19

Quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. played his biggest game to date in a BC Lions jersey on Friday night, propelling the host team to a 34-19 victory over the ailing Ottawa Redblacks.

Adams threw 305 yards and two touchdowns — including his first for the Lions (10-4) — and completed 17-of-21 attempts despite being fired five times.

Antonio Pipkin gave up two more majors for a BC squad that amassed 455 yards in fouls throughout the game.

It was another tough outing for the Red Blacks (3-11) who repeatedly made their way into Lions territory, but their last efforts were thwarted.

Ottawa QB Nick Arbuckle threw for 363 yards, a touchdown and an interception when his team dropped its third consecutive appearance. He connected 27 out of 36 attempts and was fired once.

Kicker Lewis Ward was responsible for the majority of the Redblacks’ runs, scoring four-of-five field goals, including a 47-yard kick.

BC jumped to an early lead early Friday night and steadily racked up points while keeping Ottawa out of the end zone. The Redblacks finally broke through with less than two minutes left on the game clock.

Arbuckle capped off a nine-play scoring drive with a seven-yard toss to Tevaun Smith, who stormed in two yards for the major. A successful convert by Ward narrowed Ottawa’s backlog to 34-19.

The home side’s defense got its first interception in three games midway through the final frame when Gary Peters grabbed an Arbuckle pass for Smith.

BC struggled to make use of the possession and eventually kicked.

The Lions extended their advantage to 34-12 in the middle of the fourth when Pipkin ran in a quarterback sneak for his second TD of the night.

The third quarter ended with BC leading 27-12 after the two sides exchanged field goals.

Ward made 47 and 20 yard attempts and Whyte sent an 11 yard kick through the goal posts.

The Lions lost an important game early in the third inning when receiver Lucky Whitehead was knocked down along the goal line and sustained an ankle injury. The speedster lay on the field for several minutes before being slowly helped away by some trainers.

After treatment, Whitehead briefly returned in the fourth before taking off his pads and sitting on the sidelines.

There were only seconds left in the first half when Adams sailed a 34-yard pass to Hatcher, putting BC in a field goal. Whyte made the 43-yard kick and the Lions went into the locker room 24-6.

The closing minutes of the second quarter looked promising for the Redblacks, with the Lions taking some careless penalties that gave the visitors a first on BC’s 31-yard line.

Arbuckle capitalized and fired a 19-yard pass to Justin Hardy before Ottawa took a 10-yard holding penalty. Ward capped the drive with a 22-yard field goal to make it 21-6.

Pipkin batted in the Lions’ third TD of the evening earlier in the quarter.

Adams started with a 26-yard shot to Lucky Whitehead and added a 35-yard throw to Dominique Rhymes, giving BC a first goal. The Redblacks stopped the first attempt, but on the second down, Pipkin went for a quick rush and stretched into the end zone for the major.

The Lions were already leading 14-3 at the end of the first quarter.

With about two minutes to go, Adams found Rhymes along the sideline with a 40-yard pass, then followed a short throw to Butler. The running back rushed 15 yards, the last pair with Ottawa’s Brandin Dandridge draped across his body as Butler stepped over the goal line.

The lions celebrated by doing the worm.

BC’s defenses struggled at times to keep Ottawa in check in the first and the Reds Blacks hit a first low midway through the quarter deep in Lions territory.

However, some defensive pressure and an offensive procedural penalty kept the visitors from entering the red zone. Lewis Ward instead kicked a 12-yard field goal to get Ottawa on the board, taking BC’s lead to 7-3 with about five minutes left in the opening frame.

The Lions rushed for seven straight plays on their opening possession, including a 24-yard dash by Adams. The QB capped the drive with a 13-yard toss to Keon Hatcher in the end zone, marking his first touchdown throw for BC.

The club acquired veteran QB from the Montreal Alouettes in late August after Canadian star Nathan Rourke underwent surgery for a foot injury.

The Lions will be back in action on October 8 when they visit the East Division-leading Toronto Argonauts. The Redblacks will face the Alouettes on October 10 in Montreal.

NOTES: Despite the loss, Ottawa remains in the playoff battle. The club has two games left against Montreal and if they both win and reach 7-11 on the season they would hold the tiebreak over the Alouettes… Players on both sides wore orange tape for the Day of Truth and Atonement . The lions also sported an indigenous-themed logo designed by Kwakwaka’wakw/Tlingit artist Corrine Hunt on their helmets.

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press

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