June 18, 2016

Catch me if you can

Running back Roy Finch during a pre-season game in BC on June 17, 2016 (Photo by Darryl Dyck, Canadian Press)

The Lions came up short in their attempt to pounce on the Stamps at BC Place, and at times struggled mightily to lay even a paw on one player in particular.

Despite a strong showing from a personal standpoint, Roy Finch was most pleased with the team’s first win of the pre-season. The 31-21 victory will surely provide a boost of confidence for the Red and White heading into next week’s regular-season opener, which also happens to take place right back in Vancouver with a rematch against the Leos.

“I’m happy about the ‘W’,” expressed the 24-year-old Finch post-game. “We came off of a loss so it was good to come out here and get a ‘W’. Like (head) coach (Dave Dickenson) said, we’re moving forward in the right direction. It just felt good for us to come together and be cohesive.”

Friday night saw the Niceville, Fla., native secure an eight-yard catch in the third quarter which he turned up field before juking past a pair of Lions defenders with lightning-quick speed.

But the first-year Stampeder is drawing rave reviews for another play in particular – pulling down a BC punt and burning 50 yards, allowing Jerome Messam and the Calgary offence to find the end zone just three plays later.

The return was in response to an earlier 21-yard touchdown pass from Jonathon Jennings to Brian Burnham followed by an Emmanuel Arceneaux two-point conversion to give the Lions the lead early on.

“There scored on us, and like the coaches said, they’re bringing in guys that they want to see make plays and be game-changers,” recalled Finch, who broke into the league with the RedBlacks during their inaugural season and made his individual debut at BC Place, as well. “We’re going to have games like that this season where the opponent scores or we’re down and it’s the third quarter or fourth quarter and we need a big play. It was a great play to give us a spark and get us in field position. The momentum just swung and we started scoring after that. When I’m back there, I’ve got the team on my back so I take pride in that.”

With final roster cuts to be made by Sunday morning, Finch now realizes that he will soon be separated from many of his current teammates, regardless of whether or not he cracks the squad himself.

“I grew some great relationships with some of these guys and there are a lot of great guys here,” identified Finch. “I love them to death. They’re funny guys, great guys, come from good homes. I’m really going to miss them because at the end of the day that’s really what it’s all about. We come out here and play ball, but (people) don’t understand that we spend more time off the field than on the field with each other. Nothing but prayers and best of luck to whatever direction these other guys go for whoever doesn’t make it.”