Simon nears Lions' receiving mark

The West Division-leading B.C. Lions play host to the Calgary Stampeders Friday night in CFL action

The Calgary Stampeders have made life miserable for B.C. quarterback Casey Printers this season and now may have their sights set on slotback Geroy Simon.

The sixth-year Lion needs 104 yards in the final two regular-season games to shatter Darren Flutie's franchise record of 1,731 receiving yards racked up in 1994.

Simon could make history in front of a hometown crowd Friday night when the Lions play host to Calgary at B.C. Place Stadium.

"Barring anything, he should have no problem if he plays his game. I wish him all the luck," Flutie, a CFL on CBC analyst, told Sports Online. "He's a hard-working guy. I have a lot of respect for Geroy.

"He takes [the game] seriously, particularly with his off-season workouts, and really tries to perfect his craft."

Simon sits atop the league this year with 1,628 receiving yards, 72 more than Edmonton's Jason Tucker and 59 short of his 2003 career high of 1,687. The 29-year-old also is within 408 yards of Allen Pitts' all-time CFL single-season mark of 2,036.

"Geroy is very strong off the line of scrimmage," Flutie said of Simon, who is averaging 17.7 yards per catch this season. "He's more fluid [than I was] and runs his [pass] routes at full speed. That's key for any receiver."

In two games against Calgary this season, Simon has 17 receptions for 247 yards, but it's expected he'll see a lot of Stampeders defensive back Joey Boese on Friday.

"These guys [Stampeders] take it personally when an opponent is approaching a [personal milestone]," Flutie said. "Look at what Calgary did to Edmonton when [Eskimos running back] Mike Pringle was going for [George Reed's all-time league rushing record]."

On Sept. 10, the Stampeders stopped Pringle two yards short of Reed's then-record total of 16,116 yards on the final play of the game at Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium. Eight days later, Pringle set the mark in Vancouver.

Calgary's defence also have given Printers fits, sacking the mobile 23-year-old nine times this season.

"They've hit me a bunch. They've confused me at times," said Printers, a front-runner for this year's CFL outstanding player award. "I want to master them, and the only way I can do that is by getting in there and playing against them."

Printers is expected to share time with veteran pivot Dave Dickenson on Friday, despite throwing for 4,783 yards and a league-leading 33 touchdowns in 2004.

Dickenson relieved Printers last Sunday in Montreal and completed seven of eight passes on the winning touchdown drive to cap a come-from-behind 32-29 victory against the Alouettes.

With the win, B.C. (11-5) clinched first place in the West Division.

The 4-12 Stampeders, who will miss the playoffs for a third consecutive season, will field the same lineup from last Saturday's 29-11 home win against Toronto.

Quarterback Khari Jones will make his second start for Calgary after hitting on 14 of 22 passes for 233 yards and three touchdown passes last weekend.

The Lions' secondary is vulnerable, having allowed the third-most passing yards in the league this season.

On Sept. 24, former Stampeders fullback Scott Regimbald scored the winning touchdown on his team's last possession for a 22-21 Calgary decision to even the season series at 1-1. B.C. won 25-18 in overtime on Aug. 21.

Calgary will end its season next Friday against the 6-10 Blue Bombers in Winnipeg, while the Lions welcome Saskatchewan (9-8) to B.C. Place Oct. 30 before hosting the West final on Nov. 14.