British Columbia Lions

- 1982 -

9 Wins 7 Losses - 4th Place West Division

East: W L T F A Avg Att Most Outstanding Player Condredge Holloway (Tor)
Toronto 9 6 1 426 426 38,426 Most Outstanding Canadian Rocky Dipietro (Ham)
Hamilton 8 7 1 396 401 19,299 Most Outstanding Defensive Player James Parker (Edm)
Ottawa 5 11 0 376 462 21,000 Most Outstanding Lineman Rudy Phillips (Ott)
Montreal 2 14 0 267 502 15,391 Most Outstanding Rookie Chris Isaac (Ott)
            Coach of the Year Bob O'Billovich (Tor)
Edmonton 11 5 0 544 323 57,901 Playoffs Ott 30 @ Ham 20
Winnipeg 11 5 0 444 352 28,596   Cgy 3 @ Wpg 24
Calgary 9 6 1 403 440 30,530   Ott 7 @ Tor 44
BC 9 7 0 449 390 25,059   Wpg 21 @ Edm 24
Saskatchewan 6 9 1 427 436 28,103 Grey Cup Toronto 16 Edmonton 32



Lyndon Little - Vancouver Sun - June 2010

As the BC Lions prepare to play their one-and-only season at Empire Field, their temporary facility on the PNE grounds, it's perhaps worth a nostalgic look back at their final campaign at old Empire Stadium.

Hopes were high for the Lions in 1982. The team had closed the 1981 campaign on a high note -- finishing the regular season at 10-6, then upsetting Winnipeg in the Western semifinal before finally bowing out to Edmonton 22-16 in the West final.

Unfortunately, the '82 season didn't live up to expectations: the club went 9-7, missing the playoffs by a single point. The disappointment cost head coach Vic Rapp (pictured above) his job, even though he never had a losing season in his six at the helm of the club.

To give themselves an extra boost for '82, the Lions recruited well. The biggest off-season coup was landing "Swervyn Mervyn" Fernandez (pictured) out of San Jose State.


The 6-foot-3, 190-pound receiver from Merced, Calif., had just completed his second season at San Jose, but was planning to drop out of school. Because he'd played just two years for the Spartans, he was considered off-limits by NFL and CFL clubs. But the Lions' director of player personnel, John Herrera, was able to obtain documentation showing Fernandez had spent some previous time at De Anza Junior College, making it possible for the Leos to claim his rights.

With his great leaping ability and uncanny skill at eluding tacklers, Fernandez enjoyed a sensational CFL debut season, hauling in 64 passes for 1,046 yards and eight touchdowns. That earned him rookie-of-the-year honours in the West.

Besides Fernandez, the '82 Lions included other new imports like defensive back Mel Byrd, who became a cornerstone of the team's secondary for years to come. On the non-import side, valuable newcomers included UBC's Bernie Glier, SFU's Dennis Guevin and North Vancouver's Gerald Roper.

With two solid quarterbacks -- Roy Dewalt and Joe Paopao -- and other offensive weapons such as Harry Holt, John Henry White and Larry Key, the Lions scored a then-club record 449 points.
They got off to a great start and were 7-3 at one point in the season before things turned sour. They lost four of their last six to fall just short of the playoffs.

"I remember it was very disappointing," Rapp reminisced recently from his home in Orlando, Fla. "We thought we really had it going good. But then things went bad and we missed the playoffs."

While the team averaged 25,059 fans per game during the campaign -- just about average over their 21 years at Empire -- only 15,075 were on hand Nov. 6 to see the team play its final game at the stadium -- a 32-16 victory over the Montreal Alouettes. By a twist of fate, it was the Als who provided the first opposition at Empire, a pre-season game in 1954.

"Personally, it was a memorable year in that it was a breakout season for me," recalls linebacker Kevin Konar, the UBC grad who is now a financial adviser for RBC Dominion Securities. "It was my third season and I established myself as a starter. Because of the field, however, I don't think any of the players were sorry to leave Empire. The artificial turf was absolutely horrendous. In some places it was only spray painted concrete."

It was general manager Bob Ackles who decided a coaching change was in order at the end of the season. He brought in Don Matthews who, in his first season as head coach, took the core of Rapp's '82 team and guided them into the Grey Cup game in the new dome downtown. The Lions were edged 18-17 by Toronto.

But back to Empire where, despite the playoff disappointment of 1982, there were some outstanding individual performances. Defensive end Nick Hebeler had 14 sacks and made the all-CFL team. Hebeler, Fernandez and linebacker Glen Jackson were on the all-Western Division squad.


Middle linebacker Ty Crews, who is going into the team's Wall of Fame this year at the same time as Rapp, led the team in defensive tackles with 60.

Defensive tackle Mack Moore, another 2010 Wall of Fame inductee, formed a formidable front four with Hebeler, James Curry and Rick Klassen.

During the course of the final season at Empire the club also saw all-time great Willie Fleming inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.


John Henry White provides some blocking for Lui Passaglia


1982 Team Statistics



  Passing           Rushing    
Att Cmp Yds Pct. TD Int Lg C Yds Avg Lg TD
Roy Dewalt 282 172 2,505 61.0 18 6 85 49 415 8.5 52 5
Joe Paopao 214 115 1,394 53.7 10 12 66 5 7 1.4 2 0


Running Back

  Rushing         Receiving  
C Yds Avg Lg TD C Yds Avg Lg TD
Larry Key 167 820 4.9 62 10 36 331 9.2 38 2
John Harvey White 111 624 5.6 24 5 38 290 7.6 25 1
Don Taylor 13 65 5.0 12 0 4 38 9.5 22 1



  Receiving       Punt Return  
C Yds Avg Lg TD No Yds Avg Lg TD
Mervyn Fernandez 64 1,046 16.3 84 8 20 179 9.0 74 1
John Pancratz 40 683 17.1 66 6          
Harry Holt 35 588 16.8 80 4          
Richard Ellis 30 516 17.2 41 2          
Tyron Gray 19 204 10.7 27 2          
Alan Charuk 11 114 10.4 20 1          



  Punt Return       Kick Return  
No Yds Avg Lg TD No Yds Avg Lg TD
Larry Crawford 70 691 9.871 53 0 27 720 26.0 60 0



Conv     Field Goal        
A G % A G % LG S Pts
Lui Passaglia 45 45 100% 35 26 74% 46 11 134






Empire Stadium

Avg Att: 25,059


Week 1 v Hamilton

BC 51,

Hamilton 34

Att: 23389

Roy Dewalt relieved injured starter Joe Paopao in the second quarter and threw four TD passes, including three in a 23-point third quarter, as the Lions roared


Week 2 @ Saskatchewan

BC 26,

Saskatchewan 24

Att: 27534

The Lions drove from their own 35 to the Riders' five, close enough to allow Lui Passaglia, suffering from a minor groin injury, to chip a 12-yard FG as time expired


Week 3 v Edmonton

BC 38,

Edmonton 28

Att: 28329

A 75-yard, fourth-quarter punt return by Mervyn Fernandez and two TDs by Larry Key lifted B.C., giving them first place. Edmonton took a 25-17 lead on a 25-yard TD catch by Neil Lumsden


Week 4



Week 5 @ Winnipeg


BC 16

Att: 32946

K Trevor Kennerd booted 11 points and helped set up a TD in the final quarter, with a five-yard run on a fake FG, to pace the Bombers before a record crowd in a driving rain.


Week 6 v Calgary

Calgary 30,

BC 8

Att: 26184

The blitzing Calgary defense had six sacks. Stamps QB Bruce Threadgill came up with almost 375 yards. James Sykes got out of the doghouse with 116 yards rushing and three TDs.


Week 7 @ Montreal

BC 45,


Att: 15208

QB Joe Paopao tossed three TD passes, including one on a fake field-goal attempt, and accumulated almost 300 yards in the air in less than three quarters as B.C. romped.


Week 8 v Toronto

Toronto 20,

BC 19

Att: 27285

Condredge Holloway completed 18 of 33 passes for 260 yards and scrambled for 40 yards on five carries. He also passed for his 13th and 14th touchdowns. He had 12 all last year.


Week 9 @ Ottawa

BC 45,

Ottawa 13

Att: 20609

QB Roy Dewalt tossed for a pair of TDs  and ran for another to key a 35-point first-half blitz for the Lions. Dewalt completed 15 of 19 passes for 232 yards before Joe Paopao replaced him.


Week 10



Week 11 v Saskatchewan

BC 36,

Saskatchewan 32

Att: 28513

B.C. QB Roy Dewalt fired three TD passes in the first half, including two to rookie Mervyn Fernandez, who caught a 76-yard bomb from Dewalt in the second minute of the game.


Week 12 v Toronto

BC 46,


Att: 40250

Roy Dewalt completed 21 of 28 passes for 239 yards and two TDs, and scored two TDs rushing, while directing the Lion offence to most of its 473 yards.


Week 13 v Winnipeg

Winnipeg 29,

BC 17

ATT: 31867

The Bombers' defense registered seven quarterback sacks. After the Lions made it 29-17 on Larry Key's 55-yard TD run early in the second half, the Winnipeg defense went to work.


Week 14 @ Edmonton


BC 1

Att: 40250

Edmonton took advantage of B.C.'s weakness at quarterback to move into a tie for third place. The Lions were without Roy Dewalt and Joe Paopao played with a fractured left shoulder.


Week 15 v Ottawa


Ottawa 22

Att: 20068

FB John Henry White scored two TDs, ran 10 times for 56 yards and caught five passes for 48 yards. HB Larry Key scored the other B.C. touchdown on a 24-yard run, one of 20 carries for 108 yards.


Week 16 @ Hamilton


BC 22

Att: 16275

The Ticats led 28-0 going into the fourth quarter, as QB Tom Clements completed 24 of 34 pass attempts for 320 yards and four TDs, leading his team to a tie for first.


Week 17 @ Calgary


BC 19

Att: 31980

With the score tied 19-19, J.T. Hay kicked a FG added another field goal with six seconds left, to give Calgary the win and clinch the final Western Division playoff berth.


Week 18 v Montreal

BC 32,

Montreal 16

Att: 15071

In the final game at Empire Stadium, Roy Dewalt threw two TD passes to Mervyn Fernandez and scored himself on an 18-yard run as the Lions finished the season with a 9-7 record.