September 24, 2018

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Bighill returning 'home' to play Lions

Bombers linebacker expects cheering section at game

THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods</p><p>Winnipeg Blue Bombers' Adam Bighill intercepts the BC Lions' pass and runs it in for the touchdown during the second half of CFL action in Winnipeg Saturday. Bighill is having a homecoming of sorts when he returns to Vancouver to face the B.C. Lions for the first time as a member of the Bombers.</p>

THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

Winnipeg Blue Bombers' Adam Bighill intercepts the BC Lions' pass and runs it in for the touchdown during the second half of CFL action in Winnipeg Saturday. Bighill is having a homecoming of sorts when he returns to Vancouver to face the B.C. Lions for the first time as a member of the Bombers.

Adam Bighill expects a decent-sized cheering section for his return to BC Place, in what will be his first game against his former team in what is now enemy territory.

The Blue Bombers middle linebacker played six seasons for the B.C. Lions before jetting off to the NFL’s New Orleans Saints last season. He signed with Winnipeg shortly into training camp, after it was clear the Lions didn’t have the money to bring him back.

In total, Bighill will have 18 tickets accounted for — a group that includes friends and family from Vancouver and a few just south of the U.S. border in Washington state, where he grew up in a city named Montesano.

But while he looks forward to seeing some familiar faces, Bighill insists it remains a work trip.

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Adam Bighill expects a decent-sized cheering section for his return to BC Place, in what will be his first game against his former team in what is now enemy territory.

The Blue Bombers middle linebacker played six seasons for the B.C. Lions before jetting off to the NFL’s New Orleans Saints last season. He signed with Winnipeg shortly into training camp, after it was clear the Lions didn’t have the money to bring him back.

In total, Bighill will have 18 tickets accounted for — a group that includes friends and family from Vancouver and a few just south of the U.S. border in Washington state, where he grew up in a city named Montesano.

But while he looks forward to seeing some familiar faces, Bighill insists it remains a work trip.

"It’s all business and when the game is over we can chat," Bighill said Friday. "It’s also going to be fun playing my old teammates again and competing. I know they’re going to come out hungry and all week we’ve been preparing what we got to go out and do and that’s win and play our brand of football."

Bighill said having had such a strong performance — he led the Bombers with six tackles and had two interceptions, one he returned for a touchdown — against the Lions in last week’s 41-19 win has only made it that much more special.

"It was going to be fun regardless, but obviously having such a great game is just the sweetener," he said. "The way our team played collectively, it’s something to be proud of and it kind of adds on top of it as well."

Lions head coach Wally Buono had plenty of praise for Bighill, but he also took the chance to downplay Bighill’s big night a week ago, most notably his two picks.

"I could have had those two interceptions," Buono said, noting they were more misfires from Lions QB Jonathon Jennings that what Bighill did.

Bighill chuckled when told about the comments.

"Those interceptions are about being in the right place at the right time and obviously catching the ball when it comes," he said. "They weren’t extremely difficult to make, but at the end of the day, you do have to seal the deal and in a better sense you got to make the layup."

PLENTY MORE ON OFFENCE

Bombers quarterback Matt Nichols said he liked parts of last week’s win, including four consecutive touchdown drives that gave the Bombers a 28-10 lead at halftime. But there were also a number of mistakes, which were addressed at practice this week.

"Just the consistency of trying to move the ball up and down the field throughout the entire game, making sure we’re always flipping field position," he said. "I don’t put too much stock into exactly what you want to see, you just want to see consistent movement of the ball down the field and make sure that you’re putting your defence in good positions and giving your special teams a chance."

Nichols said he expects to see some different looks from the Lions’ defence.

"Week to week you never know really what they’re going to do until you get out there. I feel like as an offence we have a plan for every coverage that’s thrown our way. I expect for us to handle whatever they throw at us."

Bombers running back Andrew Harris leaps over B.C. Lions defender Anthony Orange during last week’s CFL game in Winnipeg. The two teams will do it all over again tonight in Vancouver.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/JOHN WOODS

Bombers running back Andrew Harris leaps over B.C. Lions defender Anthony Orange during last week’s CFL game in Winnipeg. The two teams will do it all over again tonight in Vancouver.

HARRIS FEELS AT HOME

Three seasons after leaving the Lions, joining the Bombers for the start of the 2016 season, running back Andrew Harris said he still feels at home in Vancouver.

"There are lots of positives and a lot of great memories and definitely that nostalgic feeling coming back to this building," he said. "And I love that turf at BC Place, it’s definitely something I’m used to accumulating yards on. It’s always nice to get back here but ultimately you just want to get the win and get out of here."

Harris, who played six seasons in B.C., also had some kind words about Lions veteran quarterback Travis Lulay, who has been appointed the starter after a slow start to the season by Jonathon Jennings. Lulay returns to action for the first time since tearing the ACL in his right knee, an injury that ended his season last September.

"I look at Travis and all the things that he did while I was playing with him and there are a lot of similarities between him and Matt (Nichols), as far as tenacity and the work ethic and the knowledge of the game. Just how he approaches the game with that grittiness and that toughness," said Harris, who won a Grey Cup with Lulay and the Lions in 2011.

"Super proud of the guy to battle back and be back on the field and all the adversity he’s faced. To be the starter and then have to take on a mentor role with Jennings… he’s handled it so well. Definitely a great leader, definitely a great pro and a guy that you want to lead your team. Hopefully he doesn’t play that well tomorrow, but he’s definitely a guy who will always be a top-10 teammate."

NO UPDATE ON CORNEY

Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea was unable to provide an update on defensive end Trent Corney, who was placed on the six-game injured list Friday. Corney was injured in the first game and hasn’t played since with an upper-body injury.

jeff.hamilton@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @jeffkhamilton

Jeff Hamilton

Jeff Hamilton
Multimedia producer

After a slew of injuries playing hockey that included breaks to the wrist, arm, and collar bone; a tear of the medial collateral ligament in both knees; as well as a collapsed lung, Jeff figured it was a good idea to take his interest in sports off the ice and in to the classroom.

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