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CFL: BC call at QB on hold, Calgary looks for rebound

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Football is back in Canada and so are quarterback controversies.

BC Lions fans won’t truly know until kickoff on Thursday night who will be starting under center against the host Calgary Stampeders.

Veteran Michael Reilly was announced as the starter for the season opener at Saskatchewan last Friday, but it was rookie Nathan Rourke who surprisingly led the Lions onto the field in Regina.

Reilly started the second half with BC behind by 23 points and the Lions (0-1) rallied before falling short, 33-29. Rourke completed 10 of 18 passes for 194 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, while Reilly completed 17 of 24 throws for 203 yards and one score against the Roughriders.

Reilly, who has been dealing with a right elbow injury, was listed as limited at Monday’s practice.

Coach Rick Campbell said the expectation is that Rourke will get the start against the Stamps. Reilly’s status will be a game-time decision.

“We can’t count on Michael’s situation right now, but that does not mean Michael is ruled out,” Campbell said in a videoconference. “What I told our team is Nathan is practicing. We have to plan on him playing and if Mike ends up playing it’s a bonus.”

There’s no such quarterback confusion for Calgary (0-1), where two-time Grey Cup champion and two-time Most Outstanding Player Bo Levi Mitchell is in his ninth season with the club.

Mitchell completed 23 of 35 passes for 252 yards and a touchdown in last Saturday’s season-opening 23-20 home loss to the Toronto Argonauts.

Rene Paredes kicked four field goals for Calgary, including the 400th of his career, but Toronto rallied from a 17-12 fourth-quarter deficit and grabbed the lead on Boris Bede’s 32-yard field goal with 37 seconds remaining. Mitchell was picked off on the first play of the ensuing possession to seal the win for the Argos.

“We gift wrapped that thing,” Mitchell said. “We are young and we played that way. Guys that are asked to step up didn’t step up, myself included.”

Calgary swept both meetings against BC during the CFL’s most recent season in 2019. The West Division teams will meet again in Week 11 on Oct. 16 in Vancouver.

–Field Level Media

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