VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The BC Lions opened their season with a loss to the Edmonton Eskimos. A slow start turned in to a thrilling finish at BC Place. The two teams combined for 26-points in the fourth quarter. White Rock native and Eskimos kicker Sean Whyte kicked a nine yard field goal as time expired to lift Edmonton to a 30-27 victory.
The referees penalty flags flew early and often. Several big plays by both teams were wiped out by penalties. As a result of the infractions, the first quarter was limited to a pair of rouges for the Leos, on top of two field goals for Whyte.
In the second quarter, Ty Long connected on his first CFL field goal. The 43-yard kick cut the Edmonton lead to 6-5. The Eskimos replied on the next drive. Mike Reilly connected with Duke Williams for the 22-yard touchdown reception giving Edmonton a 13-5 lead heading in to halftime.
In the third quarter, Long connected on his second field goal of the game to pull the Lions within five, but once again Edmonton responded with a touchdown. Vidal Hazelton hauled in a 13-yard pass from Mike Reilly to put the Eskimos up 20-11 after three quarters.
In the fourth quarter, Leos running back Jeremiah Johnson scampered in to the end zone for his first touchdown in 2017 to make the score 20-17 for Edmonton, but as was the trend all night, the Eskimos immediately responded with a touchdown. John White narrowly broke the plane and scored from two yards out.
With one minute remaining in the game, and trailing by seven, Jonathon Jennings connected with Nick Moore on a 62-yard reception. On the very next play Travis Lulay scored from two yards out to even the score at 27-27. Long missed the extra point convert.
The game was only tied for seconds. Mike Reilly found Brandon Zylstra wide open down field for a 76-yard gain. It set up Whyte’s nine-yard field goal to win with two seconds left on the clock.
Before the game BC honoured to Lions legends who passed away in the offseason. There a was a moment of silence for former coach Don Matthews and former defensive lineman Rick Klassen.
The Leos return to action next Friday against the Argonauts. It’s the first of three straight games on the road. Kick off is set for 3:30 p.m.