Elim­imian seeks tackle record against Cats

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - LOW­ELL ULL­RICH

Solomon Elim­imian says there is still room for growth in his game as if the B.C. Lions mid­dle line­backer eyes an­other spot in the CFL record book.

The league’s reign­ing most out­stand­ing de­fen­sive player came within a tackle of equalling the CFL record for tack­les in a game when he had 15 take­downs last week in the Lions’ win over the Mon­treal Alou­ettes.

Elim­imian is look­ing for a 16tackle per­for­mance when the Lions re­turn to face an­other East Di­vi­sion op­po­nent on the road when they face the Hamil­ton Tiger-Cats on Satur­day. If he’s suc­cess­ful, Elim­imian would share the record with Reg­gie Hunt, who had 16 tack­les in a 2003 game while with the Saskatchewan Roughrid­ers.

Elim­imian, who be­came first de­fen­sive player in Lions his­tory to have more than 600 tack­les af­ter his per­for­mance in Mon­treal, still thinks he’s ca­pa­ble of more. The 30year-old knew he would have a dif­fer­ent role this sea­son once fel­low line­backer Adam Bighill left the Lions last win­ter to join the train­ing camp of the NFL’s New Or­leans Saints.

In ad­di­tion to tak­ing on a greater lead­er­ship role, Elim­imian also has had more chances for tack­les with­out Bighill.

“It’s a chal­lenge play­ing with­out Adam,” said Elim­imian, named one of the league’s top per­form­ers of Week 3. “Ev­ery time he made a play, I wanted to make a play. There’s more onus on me de­fen­sively this year to make sure we’re on the same page but it comes with the ter­ri­tory.

“I’m sure (young play­ers) look at me the same way guys looked at (for­mer Lions de­fen­sive greats) Ryan Phillips, Korey Banks and Brent John­son. It’s dif­fer­ent. It’s harder. I have to make sure I’m sharp be­cause if things fal­ter I have to look at my­self first.”

In­di­vid­ual ac­co­lades are noth­ing new to Elim­imian, who has been in the league for eight years and won four ma­jor awards. Only Russ Jack­son (7), Doug Flu­tie (6), Tony Gabriel (5) and Wil­lie Pless (5) have more.

Hamil­ton, 0-2 prior to its home reg­u­lar sea­son opener Satur­day, has scored just one of­fen­sive touch­down in eight quar­ters dur­ing which they have only led in 5:02 of play.

Hamil­ton head coach Kent Austin and of­fen­sive co-or­di­na­tor Ste­fan Ptaszek have taken turns call­ing of­fen­sive plays in the Ti­cats’ two losses.

How­ever, Hamil­ton’s record does not have the Lions look­ing past their next op­po­nent and loom­ing in­tradi­vi­sional play, de­spite the club’s stel­lar record against East Di­vi­sion op­po­nents. Since the start of the 2016 sea­son, B.C. is 6-0 on the road and 9-1 over­all against the East.

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