VANCOUVER — The B.C. Lions aren't looking back as they enter the Canadian Football League playoffs.
The Lions (12-6) ended their season with a 41-16 loss to the Calgary Stampeders and will face off against their Western rivals on Saturday in the Western Semifinal.
"We're jogging on and off the field whether it's a good play or bad play," said Lions quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. after practice at B.C. Place. "You can't look in the rear view mirror."
Adams went nine of 13, throwing 116 yards in the regular season loss to the Stampeders before being replaced by backup Dane Evans.
"We want to start fast against a good Calgary defence," he said. "You have to come out here, enjoy the environment, pick up on the energy and match their intensity."
The game against Calgary will be Adams' second as a starting quarterback in the playoffs after having served as a backup.
The Lions enjoyed double digit wins over the Stampeders earlier in the season before the blowout loss.
If the Lions want to advance, they'll have to improve their work stopping the run from the last time out, when the Stampeders rushed 213 yards on 31 attempts.
"It's big," said B.C. head coach Rick Campbell. "They got good running backs, got a good scheme, they do a good job."
Defensive back Garry Peters acknowledged the Lions' vulnerability to the run game, adding that he and his defensive corps are ready.
"They know one of our weakness points when playing them has been the run. That's the main thing, we got to stop the run first," he said. "The top team in the leagues are running the ball and you got to stop the run first."
The Stampeders come in having won two of their last three games and are on a high, added Peters.
"It'll be a good challenge for us," he said. "Everyone doubted them so they had a chip on their shoulder for a while so you know their confidence is really high."
Calgary had a 4-7 record against conference rivals and were 3-6 away from McMahon Stadium, while the Lions were 6-3 at home.
B.C. head coach Rick Campbell said he's looking to his veteran players to step up and use their playoff experience to advance.
"It's win or go home," he said. "You know all these guys have played enough football to know you have to play well and only have one shot at it."
As has been the mantra all season, Campbell said he's looking for the team to collectively pull in one direction.
"If we can play what I say is complementary football where the offence, defence and special teams is all functioning at a high level and you're not playing from behind on the scoreboard, that helps the cause too," he said.
For Peters, he said he see continuing on in the playoffs represents a chance to keep the team together and not call an abrupt end to their season.
"It's a sense of urgency," he said. "At the end of the day, you grow this big relationship with all these guys over the year and at the end of the year, this team will never be the same.
"You want top win for your brothers but not only that, you want to spend as much time as you can with your teammates and keep it going. This feeling, this high that we have, keep it going."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 2, 2023.
Nick Wells, The Canadian Press