SPORTS

B.C. Lions' defence hopes to continue win streak with game against Stampeders

09/16/2011 07:39 EDT | Updated 11/16/2011 05:12 EST
CALGARY - The B.C. Lions will attempt to win their fourth straight game on Saturday against the Calgary Stampeders at McMahon Stadium.

During their three-game winning streak, B.C.'s defence has been stellar. The Lions (4-6) have gone 13 straight quarters without allowing an offensive touchdown against.

"They're playing good defensive football," said Calgary coach and general manager John Hufnagel. "I've always respected B.C.'s defence so it doesn't surprise me how they're playing."

B.C. coach and general manager Wally Buono praised his defence for their accomplishments over the past month.

"It's about the fact that we're playing good defence and we're making it tough on offences to move the football," Buono said.

Meanwhile, the Stampeders (7-3) have won four of their past five games including a 30-20 road victory over the Edmonton Eskimos last weekend.

"Our defence is doing well as well," stressed Calgary running back Joffrey Reynolds. "You're going to see two good defences (on Saturday). We know that it's going to be a tough game. We just know that it's going to be a difficult task for us to try and get into the end zone."

B.C.'s defensive line of Keron Williams, Khalif Mitchell, Aaron Hunt and Khreem Smith have been giving opposing quarterbacks all sorts of trouble this season.

"We've got a long ways to go," cautioned Hunt. "Nobody's high on themselves. We're just going to keep playing hard and do what we've got to do."

B.C. leads the league so far this season with 31 quarterback sacks. Hunt has seven, while Williams has six.

"All four of them are on a hunting spree," said Calgary quarterback Henry Burris, who will also be on the lookout for linebackers Anton McKenzie, Solomon Elimimian and Anthony Reddick. "We're going to have to have our stuff sharp as far as knowing our blocking assignments, when to throw hot and when not to because their linebackers … they're all great at blitzing and getting to the ball as well.

"There's a reason why they lead the league as far as fewest points allowed per game. They're one of the tops as far as in turnovers they've been able to take away. We're going to have our work cut out for us."

Coming off a three-sack performance against the Argos last week, Mitchell earned accolades as the CFL's defensive player of the week.

"We're going against a good O-line and against a good Burris and a good receiving corps, so it's going to be a good game," Mitchell said. "I've just got to go out here and keep doing what I'm doing with my teammates. We go out here and we go hard every day. We practice hard every day and we execute and we have a good bond."

Although he has missed five of Calgary's last six games with a knee injury, linebacker Juwan Simpson said he's feeling good and that he's excited to get back into game action.

"We want to be the best and we feel like we're the best, but at the end of the day we're just trying to get a W," Simpson said. "As long as we get the win at the end of the day I'm happy. We had a lot of talk early in the season. They've won a few games so now the talk is on them. I understand that and our players understand that."

While the Stamps have compiled a perfect 5-0 road record, they have gone 2-3 at home which is cause for concern.

"Unfortunately just the losses we've had have been at home," Simpson said. "We're definitely looking to turn things around."

When asked about Calgary's lack of success at home this season, Reynolds replied: "I really don't have an answer. It's just a lack of execution. I don't want to say a lack of focus. It's just one of those things that we haven't been able to win at home. I really can't see why. You would think on the road it would be a tougher environment for you. Hopefully we can turn that around."

Buono also couldn't put his finger on why the Stamps haven't had more success at McMahon.

"That's surprising because usually Calgary's very good at home," Buono said. "They're usually very good in front of their fans. I'm not sure what their nemesis is that way.

"From our point of view it all starts with the quarterback. He's critical in their success. He's critical in all that they do whether it's run, plan action or throwing the ball downfield. We know that Henry is going to be on top of his game because he knows the value of the game."

Veteran B.C. receiver Geroy Simon has confidence that the Lions can extend Calgary's home-field woes in front of a hostile crowd.

"Calgary's a good team," Simon said. "If we slow Henry down and just stay out on the field on offence, I think we have a good chance at beating them."

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