Gabe Knapton won’t sugar coat it: he wants to show the other guys they made a mistake. Two days after his trade from the Montreal Alouettes for wide receiver Chris Williams saw the release of the 2018 schedule. And wouldn’t you know it? Knapton and the BC Lions open their 65th regular season against those same Alouettes.
“I’ve had this one circled on my calendar for quite some time,” stated the defensive end this week.
“I’m ready to go out there and get after it. I want to win and a try to approach it like one game isn’t more important than the other to me. Montreal is our next opponent and we won’t look past that right now.”
If training camp and the two pre-season wins were any indications, Knapton and the new-look defensive front has the potential to cause major havoc on the opposition week in and week out. That could mean bad news for Alouettes starting quarterback Drew Willy on Saturday night. Knapton and Odell Willis look to provide the perfect bookends the defensive line has been looking for the past several years.
“I’d like to think so,” said Knapton.
“Odell is great to have on your opposite side. He knows a great amount about the game, he’s a good vet and they have to focus on him that will let me go a little bit and if they focus on me he can do his thing.”
It will be a tough act to follow from those dominating pre-season performances. After forcing seven turnovers in a victory at Calgary June 1st, Willis returned a fumble caused by defensive tackle Davon Coleman 20 yards for a touchdown on Winnipeg’s opening drive last week at BC Place. Otha Foster‘s third quarter pick-six proved to the final dagger. Knapton and company are looking to build a unit that can thrive on making those big plays at any given moment, something they have lacked the past couple of seasons.
“This week’s plan is to just do what we’ve been doing: cause takeaways, get pressure on the quarterback, fly to the ball and arrive with impact,” explained the former Alouette.
“We’ve come together pretty good.”
And yeah, if he can stick it to the squad that deemed him expendable, that would be the perfect way to cap a successful first regular season game in orange.
“It (the trade) was needed,” added Knapton.
“I was ready to be out of there and have a change of scenery. I couldn’t be more happy about where I am today and now Montreal is going to have to prepare against me.”
Nothing wrong with a little extra motivation to start things off.
Game 1: Montreal Alouettes at BC Lions
Saturday, June 16th
TV: TSN 1/ESPN 2
Radio: TSN 1040
2017 season series: it was a clean sweep for the Lions. They prevailed 23-16 at Molson Stadium on July 7th and cruised to a 41-18 victory at BC Place on September 8th.
Game day weather forecast: mainly sunny with a high of 22 degrees Celsius