The B.C. Lions have won three straight games, but veteran receiver Geroy Simon is not ready to include his team among the elite clubs in the CFL. “You know, we want to be a great team. Right now, we’re a decent team,” Simon told reporters following Saturday’s 28-6 win over the Toronto Argonauts. “In order to beat the good teams — the Calgarys, the Edmontons, the Montreals, the Winnipegs — we’ve got to score touchdowns. Field goals are good every once in a while, but when we get in the red zone, we’ve got to put the ball in the end zone.” The Lions had a pair of touchdowns against Toronto, but also had to settle for four Paul McCallum field goals. Simon also lost a fumble early in the first quarter after making a catch deep in Toronto territory.
Getting a kick out of things
Lions defensive lineman Khalif Mitchell was assessed an objectionable conduct penalty on Saturday after dribbling the football across the field soccer-style and kicking it toward Argos head coach and general manager Jim Barker. “I just kept kicking it. I was like a little kid,” Mitchell told The Vancouver Sun. “You know what, this is a game where they tell us to go out and play like kids, and I was having fun, man. Sometimes having fun will get you a penalty and sometimes it will get you sacks.” Mitchell had a ton of fun at Empire Field, recording three sacks and five tackles against Toronto. As for the kicking? The 6-foot-5, 315-pound Mitchell claims even the men in stripes were impressed. “The officials just told me I had good footwork for a big guy.”
Steven Jyles produced just six points in his first start with the Argos, but that did not stop Jim Barker from gushing about his new No. 1 quarterback. “He made some plays we haven’t seen here in the two years since I’ve been here, and those are the kinds of things we need to have,” Barker told reporters after the game. “Now we just need to put it all together and things will be much better.” Jyles completed 18 of 33 passes for 220 yards in his first start since sustaining a serious shoulder injury last October. He also ran five times for 47 yards and lost a fumble. “We’re going to become a very good football team with this man at quarterback,” Barker said.
Having a ball
Montreal Alouettes halfback Dwight Anderson threw the football into the stands at Hamilton’s Ivor Wynne Stadium after returning an interception for a touchdown in the fourth quarter of a blowout win by the Ticats on Labour Day. Twenty-two-year-old Ticats fan Matt Szczesny ended up with the ball and decided to throw it back much like baseball fans do when a visiting player hits a home run. “The ball got fumbled around among all the fans, so I jumped up on my seat and grabbed it out of the air,” Szczesny said in an interview with the Hamilton Spectator. “I told all the Montreal fans ‘This is supposed to be your ball but you can’t catch, just like your team.’” Hamilton tailback Avon Cobourne was impressed by the act of defiance and asked his Twitter followers to help track down the person who threw the ball. The Ticats invited Szczesny to a practice and gave him a new ball featuring the autographs of several players.
Fail Mary for the Eskimos
Calgary quarterback Henry Burris heaved a pass about 60 yards toward Edmonton’s end zone on the final play of the first half on Friday. The ball deflected off the hand of Eskimos defensive back Chris Thompson and right into the arms of Nik Lewis, who then ran four yards for a touchdown, which put the visitors up 17-6. “One in a million play, it just happened,” Thompson told The Edmonton Journal. “I’ve got to bat that ball down. I need to time my jump better and bat the ball down.” Lewis believes there was divine intervention at work. “Well, the first thought was, I can’t get tackled at the four,” he told the Calgary Herald. “I knew I still had to get in the end zone, and God was with me … The ball went to the middle of the field, and luckily they bumped into each other, I guess, and tipped the ball up, and I just made a play.”
Fantuz still has that NFL itch
Saskatchewan receiver Andy Fantuz is not ready to give up on his NFL dream. The Chatham, Ont. native, who is in the option year of his contract with the Roughriders, recently returned to the CFL club after being released by the Chicago Bears. He would not mind getting another shot at four-down football. “If I become a free agent. then it’s an option, of course,” he told reporters last week. “I don’t want to close out doors at this point … It’s been kind of a crazy few weeks for me. Once I settle down and decide what I want to do — and talk to so many people that I care about around me — we’ll make a decision. For now, I just want to focus on playing football.”