CFL: After tight regular-season battles, Lions, Stampeders meet in West semifinal

The B.C. Lions hope home-field advantage will help them to their first playoff win since 2016 when they face the Calgary Stampeders in the West Division semifinal on Sunday afternoon.

Each team has a quarterback playing in their first playoff game, as B.C.’s Nathan Rourke will oppose Calgary’s Jake Maier.

After a sensational start to the season, Rourke suffered a sprained right foot Aug. 19 against the Saskatchewan Roughriders. The injury required surgery.

He returned to complete 7 of 11 passes for 68 yards in an Oct. 28 loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

“It’s going to be a fun environment,” said Rourke, a native of Victoria, Canada.

In his first season as starter, Rourke was 255-for-324 passing (78.7 percent) for 3,349 yards with 25 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

“He looks great to me,” Lions coach Rick Campbell said of Rourke after practice on Wednesday. “We’ll have to watch the film and do those things, but he’s probably frustrated about a few reads, which (is) typical of him, but physically, (he) sure looked good. … He’s saying he feels good.”

B.C. and Calgary each had 12-6 regular-season records, but the Lions won two of the three games between the teams.

Calgary led the league in scoring with 562 points. Stampeders running back Ka’Deem Carey rushed for a CFL-best 1,088 yards and had 10 touchdowns.

Calgary’s losses to B.C. were close — 41-40 and 31-29.

“It’s going to be one of the best matchups of the year, and it has been all year,” Maier said. “We know what they’re capable of. We know how electric that place is going to be on Sunday. We just have to block out the noise, play our brand of football and really play our best game.”

The winner visits Winnipeg on Nov. 13 for the Western final.

Stampeders offensive lineman Joshua Coker (arm) and defensive backs Marcelis Branch (hip), Demetri Royer (hamstring) and Tre Roberson (knee) have been ruled out for Sunday.

Lions receiver Lucky Whitehead (ankle) and offensive lineman Joel Figueroa (shoulder) are out.

–Field Level Media

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