A big second half proved to be too much for the BC Lions to handle as they fell to the Ottawa Redblacks 31-18 in Vancouver on Sunday.
After the Lions took a 18-14 lead into halftime, the Redblacks scored the game’s last 17 points to improve to 6-4 on the season and move to second place in the East. With the loss, BC fell to 4-6 and is a half game ahead of Winnipeg for third in the West.
Ottawa took an 11-0 lead on three field goals from Chris Milo and a safety before the Lions got the offense rolling. Following a 45-yard punt return from Chris Rainey, John Beck threw his first touchdown of the game when he connected with Austin Collie from 14 yards out. BC followed that up with a two-point conversion on a pass from Beck to Bryan Burnham to cut the deficit to three.
After another Milo field goal pushed the Ottawa lead back to six, the Lions took their first lead of the night. Chris Rainey came up big on special team again with a 98-yard kick return to give BC the ball at the Ottawa one-yard line. After two failed attempts to score, Greg McGhee punched it in on third-and-1 to take a 15-14 lead.
BC pushed the lead to four on its next possession thanks to two big receptions from Lavelle Hawkins moved the ball deep into Ottawa territory. Richie Leone capped of the five-play drive when he drilled a 40-yard field goal to end the second quarter.
The Redblacks controlled the second half thanks to the play of Henry Burris and Jeremiah Johnson. Burris was on-point in the passing game while Johnson scored two rushing touchdowns. On the day, Burris completed 26 of 37 yards for 317 yards to go along with four carries for 31 yards. Johnson totaled 17 carries for 100 yards and two touchdowns while adding five catches for 41 yards.
Burris’ favorite targets on the game were Brad Sinopoli and Ernest Jackson. Sinopoli had six receptions for 102 yards while Jackson added five catches for 96 yards.
John Beck completed 20 of 29 passes for 207 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions. He led the Lions on the ground with one carry for five yards. Burnham and Hawkins did most of the damage in the receiving game in the loss. Burnham had four catches for 52 yards and three receptions for 43 yards.
Austin Collie finished the game with three catches for 27 yards and a touchdown. He last two catches came in the fourth quarter as the Lions tried to cut into the Redblacks lead.
On the season, he has 32 receptions for 338 yards and is fourth in the league with six touchdowns. Up next for the Lions is a road matchup with the Calgary Stampeders on Friday.