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Blue Bombers dominate B.C. Lions 50-14 in battle of West Division’s best

Winnipeg earns some payback for loss earlier in CFL season
Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ Ricky Walker (9) pressures B.C. Lions quarterback Dane Evans (17) during first half CFL action in Winnipeg Thursday, August 3, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

Brady Oliveira and Dalton Schoen each had two touchdowns, Kenny Lawler and Nic Demski added their own and the host Winnipeg Blue Bombers delivered some payback to the B.C. Lions with a 50-14 victory on Thursday.

The last time the Lions were in Winnipeg in June, they left IG Field with a 30-6 win.

The two clubs are tied atop the CFL West Division with 6-2 records.

Winnipeg’s victory in front of 30,874 fans was a shot to the Lions’ top-ranked defence.

B.C. had only allowed five touchdowns through its first seven games.

Bombers quarterback Zach Collaros completed 19 of 27 pass attempts for 369 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. He was replaced by Dru Brown late in the fourth quarter.

Lions quarterback Dane Evans left the game late in the second quarter and didn’t return. He’d been sacked on an earlier play by Bombers defensive end Willie Jefferson, who was penalized for a horse collar tackle.

Evan was 12-of-21 passing for 113 yards and two interceptions. Dominique Davis took over under centre and was 8-of-18 passing for 76 yards.

Schoen caught a 71-yard touchdown pass from Collaros and a 14-yarder from Brown. Collaros also connected with Lawler for a 57-yard TD and Demski pulled in a 30-yard pass for a major.

Lawler finished with seven receptions for 200 yards. Schoen caught five passes for 137 yards.

Oliveira, who leads the league in rushing, ran in TDs from three and 27 yards. He finished with nine carries for 67 yards.

Sergio Castillo was good on field goals from 37, 16 and 23 yards. He made five of his six convert attempts, with one hitting an upright.

B.C. linebacker Bo Lokombo took a fumble recovery 30 yards for a touchdown. A two-point convert failed.

Sean Whyte booted field goals from 16 and 47 yards for the Lions. Punter Stefan Flintoft had a pair of punt singles.

Winnipeg led 14-1 after the first quarter, 27-4 at halftime and 37-8 after the third.

B.C. ended up punting after its first possession of the game and the Bombers appeared to get off to a bad start, too.

But not for long.

After taking a procedure penalty on their first play that set them back at their five-yard line, Collaros threw a 34-yard pass to Lawler, followed by a 71-yard bomb that Schoen took into the end zone at 2:26.

B.C. then turned the ball over on downs after Winnipeg’s defence held tough on third down and less than a yard.

The Bombers took over at their own 53-yard line and Collaros quickly tossed a 57-yard TD pass to Lawler at 5:56.

A punt single on their next possession got the Lions on the board a couple minutes later, but another turnover soon followed.

READ MORE: Lions’ defence has earned title of best in the CFL, says B.C. defensive back

Bombers cornerback Demerio Houston intercepted Evans late in the opening quarter, but Winnipeg’s offence couldn’t capitalize.

The teams exchanged field goals and then a B.C. pass-interference penalty placed Winnipeg at the Lions’ three-yard line.

Oliveira took over and ran the short distance into the end zone for the TD with 1:55 remaining.

Brandon Alexander intercepted Evans with 58 seconds remaining and the turnover led to Castillo’s 16-yard field goal with 14 seconds left on the clock. Evans left the game after the pick.

Winnipeg’s first possession of the third quarter ended with Demski’s TD catch at 3:18 to cap off a five-play, 68-yard drive. Castillo’s convert boosted the lead to 34-4.

Castillo hit his 23-yarder nine minutes into the third, followed by Whyte’s 47-yarder at 11:31 to make it 37-8.

Oliveira’s fumble was taken into the end zone by Lokombo at 5:29, but the Bombers tailback redeemed himself with his 27-yard major at 6:18.

Brown tossed the TD pass to Schoen with three minutes remaining.

NOTES: When the Lions beat the Bombers in June, Collaros was sacked seven times. He wasn’t sacked once in the rematch … Winnipeg was coming off its first bye week of the season and is now 12-1 after a break … Houston’s interception of Evans was his league-leading sixth pick of the season.