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Lions look to end losing streak against Redblacks who hope to play spoiler

10/10/2014 07:28 EDT | Updated 12/10/2014 05:59 EST
VANCOUVER - B.C. coach Mike Benevides was not shedding much light on his roster as the Lions prepared for Saturday's game against the Ottawa Redblacks — but one thing was already clear.

The injury-riddled Lions must attempt to improve their playoff hopes without some key regulars for the second straight game. B.C., fourth in the West Division, is seeking to end a three-game losing streak, while the Redblacks aim to build momentum after a rare win, over Winnipeg, last weekend.

"(The injury situation) certainly presents a challenge, just the challenge of: You can't replace experience," Benevides said Friday after his team's walk-through at B.C. Place Stadium. "You can't replace a person or a man that's been in that situation before and that knows how to deal with the clutch catch to get in game-winning field position or being in the clutch position when the ball's in the air — as a cornerback, as a rookie — to go make that play.

"But, again, it's a challenge. It's one that I relish and, certainly, there are a lot of examples of our young people really being successful. We've been able to win with those young people."

Benevides said he has several game-time decisions to make. The most notable question mark is wide receiver Emmanuel Arceneaux, who appeared in uniform at the walk-through and told reporters he is preparing to play.

"I have full confidence in the guys that are going to play, regardless of who it is," said Lions quarterback Kevin Glenn. "They wouldn't be here if they didn't have the ability. But now it's just about going out and making plays as far as the receivers are concerned."

The Lions (7-7) will play without key receiver Courtney Taylor and Andrew Harris, who are both out for the season, running back Stefan Logan and receiver Bryan Burnham. Defensively, they will be missing cornerbacks Dante Marsh and Ronnie Yell.

"This is an opportunity for guys to step up," said receiver Shawn Gore. "It's an opportunity for us to change the way things have gone."

Unlike in past seasons, the Lions have struggled at home, posting a modest 3-4 record at B.C. Place. The hosts are looking to capitalize on home-field advantage against a Redblacks (2-11) club that has yet to win its first road game.

B.C. also wants to improve on their last meeting in Ottawa on Sept. 5. The Lions escaped with a 7-5 victory in the lowest-scoring CFL game in 35 years, which was interrupted by a thunderstorm.

Bearing that performance in mind, Gore and fellow receiver Marco Iannuzzi are looking for the Lions to start making some long gains off single plays after struggling to get into the end zone most of the season.

"Obviously, we don't want to play like we did (against Ottawa) last time," said Iannuzzi. "It wasn't an explosive game. We need to come up with big plays."

Meanwhile, Redblacks quarterback Henry Burris feels his team is going in the right direction following its 42-20 win over Winnipeg. Ottawa hopes to keep its seemingly remote playoff hopes alive with a strong performance.

Burris will complete one milestone as he makes his 200th career CFL start. He is also one touchdown pass away from moving into sole possession of third place all-time among CFL quarterbacks. Currently, Burris is tied with the late Ron Lancaster at 333.

Burris welcomes the chance to play the role of spoiler against the Lions.

"Hey, if we play the spoiler, then so be it, because right now we've had people spoil our party in many different ways," said Burris.

Notes: Ottawa defensive lineman Keith Shologan is slated to play in his 100th career game. … The Lions have not allowed touchdowns in two straight games. ... Levasier Tuinei, who signed as a free agent with B.C. in July, is a candidate to replace Arceneaux if he can't play. … The Redblacks have two players named Jonathan Williams, one on defence and one on offence. Williams the defensive lineman won't play because of a leg injury. The other Williams, the fifth starting running back used this season, will try to excel again after posting a single-season high of 229 yards from scrimmage against Winnipeg.

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