(Vancouver) Following a successful 2016 regular season, the BC Lions Football Club is pleased to announce that eight players have been named West Division All-Stars.
On offence, it’s been all Manny Show all the time as the six-year vet became a prime target for quarterback Jonathon Jennings racking up 1,566 yards on 105 receptions along with a league-high 13 majors. Arceneaux makes it back-to-back campaigns after also earning a divisional nod in 2015.
Fellow receiver Bryan Burnham enjoyed a breakout year hauling in 79 passes for 1,392 yards and three majors. He also had the CFL’s highest average gain per catch at 17.6 yards. This is Bryan’s first division honour.
It wouldn’t be a West Division All-Star squad without lineman Jovan Olafioye and 2016 is no different as the hulking tackle makes it seven-consecutive seasons on the list of standouts. Despite a move to left tackle this season, Olafioye continued his dominant play and extended his games-played streak to 126-straight.
A terrifying trio of Lions defenders also make the grade as Solomon Elimimian, Adam Bighill and Alex Bazzie pick up divisional kudos.
For Elimimian it’s been a comeback for the ages as the hard-hitting linebacker returned from a season-ending injury in 2015 to lead the league in tackles again in 2016. The first purely defensive player in league history to win the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player award back in 2014, this is Solomon’s fourth West Division acknowledgement.
Teammate Adam Bighill makes it five-consecutive years on the West Division squad as the CFL’s 2015 Outstanding Defensive Player continues his consistent and productive play. Racking up 108 defensive stops along with five sacks and an interception, Bighill’s big numbers gave the Leos the first-ever defensive duo in CFL history to tally 100-plus tackles in a single season.
Alex Bazzie enjoyed a career year in his third campaign as a Lion, the athletic and relentless defensive end racked-up a team-high 11 sacks while adding 31 tackles and a forced fumble. This is Bazzie’s first divisional selection.
Richie Leone makes it a repeat performance in 2016 as the West Division’s best punter. Consistently flipping the field for the Lions defence with monster kicks at key times, Leone’s 49.3-yard average boot was three yards clear of the next best in the category. His net punting average (punt yards minus return yards) of 36.9 was also a CFL-best.
Rounding out the eight exemplary Leos is speedster Chris Rainey who has become a force on both special teams and offence this season. Finishing the year in third spot in both punt and kickoff returns, his 95-yard punt return for a major versus Calgary goes down as the CFL’s longest of the year. Elusive and incredibly fast, Rainey led the league 2,945 combined yards, almost 300 more than the next player in the category.
CFL All-Stars will be announced in the days following the 104th Grey Cup.
The Lions take on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the CFL Western Semi-Final set for 1:30 pm on Sunday, November 13.