The question can be raised: Would this have happened if Nathan Rourke, QB for the BC Lions, was on the field, leading his team? That’s fair to say of course, but in the end, Cody Fajardo, whether he took advantage of the holes that were left by Rourke’s absence or not, had quite the performance in Friday night’s game.
Cody Fajardo had some statements to make following the victory:
“That’s a good win and we did a lot of good things. We’ve got a lot of things to improve on, but we needed that. That locker room needed that more than you guys know. It’s a good feeling in there — a lot of guys smiling and we worked really hard. We’re down some really good players and we found a way to grit it out.”via CBC
Michael O’Connor (who sadly suffered a groin injury in the game – more on that next time), was of course in for the injured Rourke, who as stated last time, may be missing the rest of the season (to be determined). Head coach for the Lions had some statements to make on Rourke’s replacement and on the performance made by the Saskatchewan Riders overall:
“Michael made some really good throws early on…And Pip coming in — that’s a tough, tough situation to come in. He knows what he’s doing and he knows the offence. But he literally has very, very limited reps practicing and obviously not playing…So, good for them for competing. And they kept swinging all the way till the end…”via CBC (link above)
He also went on to say:
“No one should be coming back (not able) to practice if they haven’t been getting in and getting treatment…We need to take advantage of this bye week that comes at a good time. We need to get guys as healthy as they can be, both mentally and physically, to play a lot of important football.”via CBC (link above)
And speaking of head coaches, head coach for the Riders, Craig Dickenson had a few words as well on what transpired and about Fajardo:
“It looked like the guy that we know and love. I feel very strongly that he’s the right guy and I feel very good about his performance and very proud of him. He got the game ball. We only handed out one tonight. And he got it…
We knew they would not have to change the game plan but pare it down…We felt like if we could pressure the quarterbacks, we could maybe get them to throw a couple to us, which they did. We just weren’t able to intercept.”via CBC (link above)
To be fair, the Riders were missing players as well, and top key players at that, specifically, Justin McInnis and even Duke Williams were out due to injury. So in the end can we say that the playing field was even going into this game?
If we can indeed play Monday morning quarterback, knowing full well that Nathan Rourke was going to be out for this game beforehand, which we all did, it was clear that there would be some sort of shakeup on the field; for a team to have built their whole game plan around the rookie prodigious player, there are going to be a lot of holes going in once that essential cog is out for perhaps the rest of the season, let alone the very first game, which we just saw on Friday.
But as coach Campbell said, perhaps the Lions will be able to take advantage of the bye week, watch a heck of a lot of tape, and be better prepared to take on all adversaries with a whole new game plan moving forward. Time will tell.
For now the Riders should be proud of a great victory over the second best team in the league right now arguably, and perhaps the high of this win can carry them to many more victories to come.
They are set to face the absolute best in the league (unarguably) and the defending Grey Cup champions, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, on Sunday September 4th at 6 PM EST.
*For all of your 2022 CFL Season News: CFL News Hub