Three key Lions will run free Sun­day

Lu­lay, Sut­ton, Elim­imian didn’t play in back-to-back split with Ticats

The Hamilton Spectator - - Sports - STEVE MIL­TON

Each team will field a mod­i­fied lineup from the ones it em­ployed dur­ing the back-to-back Septem­ber split, but “mod­i­fied: is a very flex­i­ble ad­jec­tive here.

Does it re­fer to num­bers? Or to im­pact? If it’s the for­mer, it’s ac­cu­rate. If the lat­ter, it’s way, way off.

“Mod­i­fied” means that Hamil­ton Tiger Cats’ wide re­ceiver Bran­don Banks — who was en­joy­ing, oh, merely a sea­son for the ages be­fore he was in­jured — won’t be play­ing against the

B.C. Lions in Sun­day’s

CFL East Di­vi­sion semi­fi­nal at Tim Hor­tons Field. How­ever, pow­er­ful run­ning back Alex Green will.

“Mod­i­fied” also means that vet­eran quar­ter­back Travis Lu­lay, who didn’t play ei­ther Hamil­ton game be­cause of a dis­lo­cated shoul­der, will be un­der cen­tre for the B.C. Lions, rather than Jonathon Jen­nings. Plus, it means that Tyrell Sut­ton, the pound­ing run­ner who was a Mon­treal Alou­ette un­til late Septem­ber, will be in the back­field and, for the first time since mid-July, tack­ling ma­chine Solomon Elim­imian is likely to be at mid­dle line­backer.

Ad­van­tage un­til proven oth­er­wise: B.C.

“He’s a very ac­cu­rate passer and he’s a tough guy,” Ticats head coach June Jones says of Lu­lay. “He’s go­ing to stand in and throw the ball. If you have that

com­bi­na­tion of ac­cu­racy and will­ing­ness to take a hit, you can play.”

Jen­nings did lead the Lions through the Cat-as­trophic last­minute drive which forced over­time in the Lions’ 35-32 win in Van­cou­ver, Sept. 22, but was in­ef­fec­tive and ul­ti­mately re­placed in the Ticats’ 40-10 vic­tory a week later at Tim Hor­tons Field.

Banks didn’t play in the B.C. loss but the fol­low­ing week caught two Jeremiah Ma­soli touch­down passes.

“With Lu­lay, they’ll be go­ing through the same reads,” Hamil­ton safety Mike Daly says of the Lions’ lineup.

“He’s a lit­tle quicker to pull the trig­ger but Jonathon added that run­ning as­pect. So, it’s a bit of a give-take, What’s bet­ter than the other, I’m not too sure.”

Elim­imian, who had mid­sum­mer wrist surgery, is ex­pected to take back over in the mid­dle from Micah Awe. He had a phe­nom­e­nal 144 de­fen­sive tack­les last year and 28 this year be­fore he was hurt in the Lions’ fourth game.

“They were a good team al­ready, es­pe­cially in­side the box,” Ma­soli says. “And then you add some­one like Solomon. Num­ber one, you can’t re­place ex­pe­ri­ence. And he’s been in the big games. It’s def­i­nitely a chal­lenge for us, a chal­lenge for the line­men, a chal­lenge for the run­ning backs, but I think we can han­dle it.”

Sut­ton ac­tu­ally joined his new team at the game in Hamil­ton for the trip back to B.C. Head coach Wally Buono said at the time he liked Sut­ton’s hard-run­ning style that’s suited to CFL games late in the cal­en­dar year.

Ticats all-star line­backer Don Unamba, who played briefly with Sut­ton in Mon­treal said, “You have to swarm-tackle him.

“I don’t care if you traded for him for games in the sum­mer, fall or win­ter, he’s a good player.”


B.C. Lions run­ning back Tyrell Sut­ton has a pound­ing style suited to play­off foot­ball.


B.C. Lions quar­ter­back Travis Lu­lay did not start in ei­ther game against the Tiger-Cats.

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