Life has finally steadied its pace for slotback Shawn Gore as he settles into his starting role with B.C. Lions.
The 24-year-old spent most of his 2010 football season flirting with both the NFL and CFL, but now with the 2011 Lions campaign in full swing, the Don Mills resident has gone from cub to member of the pride with 453 receiving yards on 35 passes as of press time.
Though his numbers look good as the CFL nears the mid-point of the season, the Lions’ current record is something Gore hopes to see reverse in pursuit of the playoffs.
“The way I see how our season has gone so far, there’s a lot of opportunity for improvement since we are 2-6 at the moment,” he said. “We plan to go through the second half of the year with a better record.
“We’ve felt we’ve improved. We’ve learned a lot over the last few weeks over the losses,” he added. “We’re ready to get some wins.”
Gore credits his breakout season to the new faces of influence in his life. Head coach Wally Buono, play-caller Travis Lulay and fellow receivers Arland Bruce III, Paris Jackson and Geroy Simon have all played big roles.
“He’s got a lot of experience and has a lot of knowledge, so as long as I keep my mind open, there’s a lot I can pick up from him,” Gore said of Buono.
In April, Gore went to work with Lulay, building up a rapport with the quarterback. When it comes to the receivers, the former Don Mills and Newtonbrook CI student admits the acquiring of Bruce was exciting.
“I watched him a lot when I was in high school and university and he was always someone who I really looked up to, so I was really excited,” he said.
It’s also during his high school career where his love of contact sports originated. Though it wasn’t football, Gore credits Don Mills rugby coach Daniel Kunanec for giving him his start.
“Kunanec is a great man and he really guided me in my performance on and off the field,” Gore said. “I learned a lot from him while playing rugby at Don Mills.”
He’s even returned during the off-season to help his former Bruins coach and other rugby players.
Along his path, coach Leroy Blue with Bishop’s also added that positive reinforcement.
Finally, there’s his mother, Cassandra.
“All the effort she puts in and the support is second to none,” he said.
For now, Gore’s goals are improve into a well-rounded wideout.
“I have some goals, I want to be tops in the league at the receiver position,” he said. “To do that I need to just get better at every aspect of the game.
“There’s not one specific thing I’m focusing on.”
And he doesn’t rule a possible pursuit of former Saskatchewan Roughriders receiver, Andy Fantuz’s record — the first Canadian since Dave Sapunjis to lead the league in receiving yards.
“A lot of my goals are not statistics,” Gore said. “But probably, yeah.”
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