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'It was pretty special': Former Regina Rams LB shines in Lions loss to Riders

Ryder Varga looked right at home on Saturday afternoon at Mosaic Stadium. He should. The 24-year old spent his entire U Sports career with the Regina Rams playing on that same turf.

This time, however, it was in a professional setting, a Canadian Football League game, and he was in visiting colours with the B.C. Lions.

“It was good to get my feet wet at the CFL level and hit some guys again,” said Varga, after the 30-27 loss to Saskatchewan.

In the third quarter, Varga read the eyes of Saskatchewan Roughriders quarterback Mason Fine perfectly, jumped the intended receiver’s route, a perfect 11-yard pick six.

He celebrated in the end zone, as he’d done several times before, but this time it was with his B.C. Lions teammates.

“It was special. I think that’s my first pick six ever, at any level,” he said.

“If it was a betting man I wouldn’t have picked a CFL game to get my first pick six. To do it in my home city, I had a lot of friends and family in the stands, it was pretty special.”

Varga says he had a large number of friends, family, former teammates and other supporters in the stands on Saturday.

“It was heartwarming to see the number of people who care about you.”

The rookie linebacker finished the game with three defensive tackles, one special teams tackle and that 11-yard pick six.

This is his second training camp with the Lions, having attended last season before returning to the Regina Rams at the U Sports level. Varga says the move to return for his final season of eligibility was extremely beneficial to his overall game.

“I think it just helped slow the game down a little. You see the speed of the pro level. It just allowed me to be a lot more comfortable and I think I have good instincts in believing in what I’m seeing and playing off of it. Applying some of the trial and error from the U of R and hopefully it keeps paying off and getting better.”

Varga was selected by the Lions in the third round of the 2022 CFL entry draft (29th overall).

In his final season with the Regina Rams, Varga recorded 54 combined tackles, seven tackles for a loss, two sacks and an interception in the team’s nine games.

He was an academic all-Canadian in 2018, 2019 and 2021 and was a Canada West all-star in 2021. Top Stories

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