Wednesday, July 31, 2013

CFL Recap Week 5

Scores and Standings

Edmonton vs Montreal:
Brandon Whitaker ran for 162 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries and the Montreal defence held off a dramatic late surge by the Eskimos to defeat Edmonton 32-27.

Whitaker added another 40 yards in the air in his most convincing performance since returning from an injury that forced him to miss the second half of last season.

It wasn't all good news for the versatile tailback however, as he left with just over a minute left in the contest with an injury.

Kicking off Week 5 in the CFL were two teams who were visibly looking for consistency, especially on offence. The Als came out on fire a week before, putting up 24 first-quarter points in Calgary only to add only three in the second half. An opposite story for the Eskimos, who were slow out of the gate in BC but pulled to within 10 only when the game was all but out of reach.
Calvillo and the Als got on the board first when, given a short field, helped set up a 32-yard Sean Whyte field goal.

The Eskimos answered with a 19-yarder of their own off the foot of Grant Shaw on the ensuing possession – made possible by a 44-yard over-the-shoulder catch by veteran slotback Fred Stamps.

Tied at six, Calvillo and the Als offence put together their first touchdown drive since the first quarter of the aforementioned Calgary game. Beforehand however, it was Shea Emry coming up big for Montreal, jumping a Mike Reilly pass over the middle and setting the Als up deep in Edmonton territory. The veteran linebacker took a taunting penalty after the play and pushed Montreal back to the 18 yard line.

After taking a loss, Calvillo connected with SJ Green twice – first for a 24-yard gain to set up the Als at the two-yard line and then following a penalty, completed the drive by hitting no.19 in the back of the endzone on a wheel route for a 6-yard touchdown and a 10-3 lead.

The Eskimos had been moving the ball in waves in the first quarter, having challenges in the intermediate passing game but finding success when stretching the field. That didn`t stop head coach Kavis Reed from making a brief change behind centre however, putting backup Jonathan Crompton in the game with 11:58 left in the first half.

Reilly was pulled after completing 4 of 9 passes for 84 yards in only one quarter of work. He would re-enter the game with just over four minutes left in the half but not before both teams traded field goals.

After an incompletion on his first pass, Crompton also fell victim to Emry’s impact after the linebacker picked off his second pass of the game to set up a 31-yarder for Whyte.

The Esks forced a turnover of their own when they made Noel Devine put the ball on the carpet on a punt return but could only muster an 18-yard field goal. Third stringer Kerry Joseph, along with Crompton shared that short possession before Reilly returned.

Meanwhile, the Alouettes offence began to find its traction as Calvillo led an 8-play, 61-yard march capped off by a handoff to Brandon Whitaker who darted through the middle of the Eskimo defence untouched for a 13-yard touchdown with 45 seconds remaining in the half.

The Alouettes took a 20-6 lead into halftime.

Reilly remained at the helm as the second half began but it was one of his go-to receivers that got the Eskimos back in the game on special teams.

Cary Koch fielded a punt – in place of cornerback Joe Burnett who was a late scratch – turned up field and raced 81 yards for the touchdownand closed the gap to 20-13 in the process.

The Alouettes answered back with a 23-yard Whyte field goal but getting within range was all Whitaker. The man many call “two-way” carried the ball 4 times for 60 yards on the drive, including a 25-yard rush off tackle.

After Whyte added another field goal (from 24 yards out), the Eskimos seemed to catch fire, scoring two touchdowns in 59 seconds to take their first lead of the game.

First, Reilly engineered a 75-yard march, finished off by a 19-yard Calvin McCarty touchdown run which saw him sidestep a defender on his way to pay dirt.

The Esks forced an Als fumble two plays later and Edmonton wasted no time capitalizing.

Reilly through a strike down the sidelines to Koch who hauled in a 24-yard touchdown reception to give the Green and Gold a 27-26 lead.

The Esks got a stop and made Whyte to punt the ball, which he did with near-perfection, forcing the Esks to scrimmage from their own 2 yard line. After a two-and-out, Reed and the Eskimos elected to punt it out of the endzone but only got a kick that netted 24 yards. Whyte added an 18-yarder to re-take the lead for the Alouettes, 29-27.

Poised to put the game away, Whitaker was jarred on a hit with 1:29 left while heading for the goal line and headed to the locker room with an injury. Whyte added a chip-shot field goal to put the Als up by five and the Eskimos got the ball back with a minute remaining.

Reilly did everything he could to put the Esks in contention to win the game, engineering a brilliant 75-yard drive. With time running out, Reilly handed the ball off to running back John White on the game’s final play on the Montreal one yard line but he was stuffed, preserving the 32-27 win for the Alouettes.

Calgary vs Winnipeg
Bo Levi Mitchell did everything required of him and more in his first career CFL start, completing 29 of his 33 passes for 376 yards and 3 touchdowns, leading the Stampeders to a 37-24 win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Friday night.
With Kevin Glenn and Drew Tate sidelined with injuries, Mitchell made sure the Stamps offence didn't miss a beat, as they garnered a total of 489 yards, 175 of them coming from Jon Cornish, who was dominant in the win as well.
It was a night of firsts for Winnipeg too, as in addition to Mitchell, Justin Goltz was also making his inaugural CFL start.
Both pivots saw action in Week 4, with Mitchell helping the Stamps complete a dramatic 24-point comeback over the Alouettes, throwing two touchdowns in limited action, while Goltz held his own in a loss to the Argonauts, completing 13 of 15 passes for 170 yards.

Goltz was named starter due to an injury to Buck Pierce.

As expected with a pair of young pivots leading their respective teams, it took some time for both offences to find their rhythm.

But with just over two minutes to play in the first quarter, Mitchell struck first.

Already leading 1-0 thanks to a punt single by Rob Maver, Mitchell embarked on his second possession of the game and wasted no time moving the Stamps into Winnipeg territory.

After Cornish earned two yards on a run up the middle, Mitchell went deep to rookie Tim Hawthorne for a massive 55-yard gain.

The grab brought the Stamps inside Winnipeg’s 30-yard line with a fresh set of downs.

And Mitchell wasn’t done there. Following another small gain by Cornish, the 23-year-old QB connected with Greg Carr in the corner of the endzone for a 27-yard score, increasing Calgary’s lead to 8 in the process.

To that point in the game, Mitchell was a perfect 7-7 for 118 yards a touchdown.

Not to be outdone, Goltz wasted little time getting his Bombers back in the game.

And thanks to a pair of strong plays by Canadian receivers Jade Etienne and Rory Kohlert, he was able to do just that. First, Goltz hooked up with Kohlert for a massive 40-yard gain that saw the receiver break a tackle and romp down the sideline before being taken down by a facemask tackle by Calgary’s Chris Randle.

The penalty brought the Bombers to the Stamps’ 11-yard line with a fresh set of downs.

Following a 6-yard run by Chad Simpson, Goltz found Etienne for a 5-yard score, bringing the Bombers within one of Calgary’s lead.

With the second quarter underway, the Bombers offence went back to work. Taking over with excellent field position as a result of a shanked 23-yard punt by Maver, Goltz, Simpson and the rest of Winnipeg’s offence were within striking distance of taking the lead.

It was then that Goltz sent the crowd at Investors Group Field into an absolute frenzy.

After Simpson and Terrence Edwards brought the drive to Calgary’s 7-yard line with gains of 15 and 11 respectively, Goltz threw to Etienne again, finding the receiver for his second touchdown of the game to give the Bombers a 14-8 lead.

Soon after, the Stamps would begin to claw their way back into the game, using the foot of Rene Paredes as their vehicle.

The Concordia product first split the uprights from 37 yards out to bring the Stamps within three of Winnipeg’s lead. The kick was also his 30th-straight successful field goal, tying Paul McCallum’s mark.

With less than two minutes to go in the half, Paredes would enter the record books, as he split the uprights from 19 yards out for his 31st-straight successful field goal attempt, tying the game in the process.

Then, with no time remaining on the clock, Paredes would extend his own record and give the Stamps a 17-14 lead, as he booted a 26-yard field goal as time expired.

While Paredes made waves at the tail-end of the first half, it was Cornish who stole the spotlight to start the second, as the tailback powered his way forward for gains of 14, 14, 9 and 8 before Mitchell connected with Canadian receiver Anthony Parker for his first career major.

The Bombers had a chance to cut into Calgary’s 10-point lead midway through the quarter, but a failed gamble on third down saw them walk away with nothing.

On the play, the Bombers were facing third-and-two from the Stampeders’ 36-yard line when Winnipeg head coach Tim Burke opted to go for it rather than attempt a field goal.

Goltz lined up in the shotgun and rolled out to his right, but was sacked for a one-yard loss by Keon Raymond.

The call proved to be a costly one for the Bombers, as the Stampeders managed to increase their lead on their ensuing possession, with Paredes splitting the uprights from 32 yards out.

Calgary, however, wasn’t satisfied with stopping there.

After Justin Palardy brought the Bombers back within 10 of the Stamps’ lead, Mitchell – appearing poised and in total control – hooked up with Marquay McDaniel for a 10-yard score.

The drive capped off a five-play, 37-yard drive that was made possible because of a 61-yard punt return by Raymond.
The Bombers would end their night with Simpson crossing the plane for a three-yard score. However, it was a classic case of too little, too late, as the Calgary held on for a 37-24 win.
In a losing effort, Goltz completed just 19 of his 35 passes for 194 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. His main target was Regina native Kohlert, who hauled in 5 passes for 79 yards.
On the defensive side of the ball, Raymond put together a very Raymond-like performance, registering a pair of sacks and two tackles.
Next week, the Stamps will head into their bye, while the Bombers will hit the road and travel to BC to take on Travis Lulay and the Lions.
Saskatchewan vs Hamilton
Drew Willy threw three touchdown passes, while Kory Sheets reached 100 yards for the fifth straight game to pace the Saskatchewan Roughriders to a 32-20 win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Saturday night at a rainy Alumni Stadium in Guelph.
Replacing the injured Darian Durant to make just his third career start, Willy answered the bell in a big way with 269 yards and three touchdowns in the first half alone.
Chris Getzlaf and Weston Dressler each caught second-quarter touchdown passes, while Geroy Simon had his first touchdown in a Riders uniform as Saskatchewan continues its perfect start to the season.
Seven days removed from being shutout for the first time in seven years last weekend against the Riders, the Ticats offence came out of the gate buzzing in front of the home faithful.

First, dynamic rookie running back Lindsey Lamar dashed for an 18-yard run on the first play from scrimmage, before Henry Burris made a splash on his first completion of the game with a 51-yard catch-and-run by Bakari Grant.
The Ticats’ opening drive stalled deep in Rider territory, but Luca Congi’s 16-yard field goal gave Hamilton an important 3-0 lead early in the first quarter.

Following a quick two-and-out on the Riders’ first possession, the Ticats went back to work promptly. After converting a second down play with his legs, Burris found Onrea Jones, back from injury this week, for a 30-yard gain to the Saskatchewan 17-yard-line.

This time the Ticat offence made sure to finish, as Burris hit Lamar in the middle of the field, and the running back fought through defenders at the goal line for the touchdown to put Hamilton in front 10-0.

The Roughriders capped off the first quarter on a 17-yard field goal from Chris Milo after their longest drive stalled deep in Ticat territory, making it 10-3 through 15 minutes.

Early in the second quarter the Green and White added two more points, as an accurate punt by Ricky Schmitt followed by a two-and-out forced Hamilton to concede a safety.

On the ensuing drive the Riders added more and in a big way. First, Willy found Dressler for a 24-yard completion into scoring range, before finishing the drive off on the very next play with a 30-yard over-the-shoulder touchdown pass to Simon.

It was Simon’s first score wearing Green and White, and it gave the Riders their first lead of the game, 12-10.
On the ensuing kickoff, the shifty Lamar was hit hard and stayed on the turf, forced to leave the game under the care of the medical staff.

The Ticats offence, meanwhile, hemmed deep in its own end, looked to rebound from a couple of two-and-outs with a big drive of its own. C.J. Gable, the replacement for Lamar, started it off with a key catch on second down to extend the drive.

An illegal block on Hamilton slowed progress, but wasn’t enough to stall the drive as Burris built on a 30-yard completion to Greg Ellingson with a 39-yard strike to the rookie receiver to put the ‘Cats back in the end zone, putting Hamilton back out in front 17-12.

Not to be out-done, however, was the kid making just his third CFL start on the other sideline. Willy opened the drive with consecutive completions to Simon and Getzlaf before Sheets rumbled off runs of 20 and 17 yards for his greatest burst of the game.

Then Willy struck again, finding Getzlaf for an 18-yard catch-and-run, capping off a seven-play, 76-yard drive in just 2:52.

Just when you thought the 26-year-old was already having an outstanding first half, he added insult to injury for the Ticats after quickly getting the ball back in his hands.

On a second-and-long play, Willy found Simon for a 35-yard completion, before striking to Dressler for a 24-yard touchdown pass to add to the Riders’ lead. That stood to give the Roughriders a 26-17 lead at the half.
In the second half, the rainy conditions began to finally play a role as the offences slowed down and the turnovers began. Two Henry Burris fumbles led to Milo field goals, while a boot by Congi to start the third quarter cut the deficit for the Ticats to 32-20.
The Ticats would get a golden opportunity to make it a one-score game on their ensuing possession, marching all the way inside the Saskatchewan five-yard-line after Burris completed four of five passes on the drive. But a physical Rider front-seven rose to the occasion, stuffing Burris at the one-yard-line and forcing a turnover on downs.
Hamilton again threatened late, but fell short on a chance to cut into the deficit as the Riders buckled down and allowed just three points in the final 30 minutes of the game.
Sheets finished the game with 140 yards on 25 carries, asserting his dominance as the league's leading rusher and leaving him on pace for more than 2,500 yards over the span of an 18-game season.
On the defensive side of the ball, Tearrius George deserves as much credit as anyone for the way he disrupted Burris, on the way to a three-sack performance.
Burris, meanwhile, enjoyed a bounce-back game in a losing effort for the Ticats, throwing for 395 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
The Roughriders head into their bye week with a league-best 5-0 record, while the Ticats are set to travel to Edmonton in a duel with the Eskimos next weekend at Commonwealth Stadium.
BC vs Toronto
If Ricky Ray needs an extra week or two to recover from his lower-body injury, the Toronto Argonauts appear able to wait.
Making his first CFL start, backup pivot Zach Collaros completed 21 of his 25 passes for 253 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Boatmen to a 38-12 win over the Lions at Rogers Centre on Tuesday night.

With both Ray and tailback Chad Kackert sidelined with injuries, the Argos were forced to insert backups Collaros and Curtis Steele into the lineup in their place.
Steele finished with 111 total yards on 17 touches for two touchdowns in his regular season debut.
While the two ended up keeping the Argos' offence afloat, they didn’t get off to the start they would have preferred.

Facing a stingy Lions defensive corps, the two would run into trouble on their first possession, by way of running into each other, as Collaros fumbled the ball as a result of Steele’s shoulder knocking it out of his hands.

The Lions would recover and set up on Toronto’s 42 yard line with a fresh set of downs.

Things went from bad to worse for the Boatmen as Travis Lulay proceeded to find receiver Nick Moore for a 36-yard gain which brought BC to Toronto’s 3-yard line.

However, the Argos defence bent but didn’t break. With their backs against the wall, they kept the Lions out of the endzone, forcing them to settle for a 10-yard field goal by Paul McCallum.

Undeterred by his earlier fumble, Collaros walked onto the field for his second possession of the game, looking to even the score.

Things looked promising for the 25-year-old thanks to a 15-yard facemask penalty by Dante Marsh on a 5-yard run by Steele.

After hitting John Chiles for a 7-yard gain two plays later on second down, the Argos seemed primed to tie the game with a 41-yard field goal.
However, Noel Prefontaine’s attempt sailed wide, keeping the Argos down by the 3 with 5:50 left in the opening frame.

But Collaros was given another shot to get the home team on the board, this time thanks to his defence.

Having already sacked Lulay twice on the night, the Argos continued to put pressure on the pivot, this time forcing him to move out of the pocket and rush his pass, which was ultimately intercepted by Marcus Ball and returned for a 9-yard gain.

Collaros then led his offence on a eight-play, 44-yard drive that was capped off with a 22-yard touchdown strike to Jason Barnes in the endzone.

On the play, Collaros evaded Adam Bighill and threw it into double coverage to Barnes who managed to over-power both JR Larose and Josh Bell for the grab.

The drive lasted 3:12 and stretched into the early parts of the second quarter.

The Lions would pull within one on their next possession thanks to McCallum’s second field goal of the night, this time connecting from 17 yards out.

Clinging to that one-point lead, Collaros returned for his next possession looking to keep momentum in Toronto’s favour.
After throwing an incompletion to Andre Durie on his first play, Collaros was perfect on his next five, connecting with Spencer Watt, Durie, Zander Robinson and Steele, before finding Robinson a second time for a one-yard touchdown pass.

The Western University product’s first career major gave the Double Blue a 14-6 lead into the half.

The third quarter saw the Argos continue to add to their lead, with Collaros once again leading the charge.

After McCallum connected on his third field goal of the game to pull the Lions within five of Toronto’s lead, Collaros put together another strong drive, one that again ended with a major score.

But it didn’t come without adversity, as Collaros found Durie for a 58-yard completion, only to see it get called back due to a holding call on tackle Wayne Smith.

Moments after the referee picked up his flag, however, Collaros hooked up with Watt for a 34-yard gain down the sideline, entering BC territory in the process.

Three plays later, Collaros found receiver John Chiles streaking mid-strike in the endzone for a 25-yard touchdown, increasing Toronto’s lead to 12.

BC would respond on their next possession, with McCallum chipping in his fourth field goal of the game from 10 yards out.

However, the Argos would answer right back with a field goal of their own, as Prefontaine made up for his earlier miss with a 20-yard connection.

On the drive, Collaros was good on six of his seven passes for 59 yards, two of which found Chad Owens.
Late in the fourth quarter, the Lions ran into some more trouble offensively. Already on the run because an oncoming Argos blitz, Lulay was caught by Jalil Carter, who forced the ball from his hands and onto the turf, where it was recovered by Janzen Jackson who appeared to have a clear cut lane to the endzone, but fumbled the ball himself on the one yard line.
After a pileup ensued, Argos safety Matt Black came up with the loose ball, givng the Boatmen possession on BC's one-yard line.
Two plays later, the Argos would put the game out of reach, as Steele leaped over the pile for the score, giving the Argos a 30-12 lead with 2:24 left in the game.
With less than one minute to go in the game, Steele would rip up the middle for his second touchdown of the game, sealing a 38-12 win for the Argos in the process.
Next week, the Argos head into the bye for a week off, while the Lions return home for a Monday night matchup with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

CFL Recap Week 4

Scores and Standings

Toronto vs Winnipeg
Ricky Ray had three touchdowns and completed 19 of 20 passes, as the Toronto Argonauts cruised to an impressive 35-19 road win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers at Investors Group Field on Friday night.
The win didn't come without concern for the Argos, however, as Ray was forced out of the game in the third quarter with an apparent knee injury, during an exceptional performance in which his only incompletion came on a dropped ball in the first quarter.
Bombers pivot Buck Pierce, meanwhile, missed the entire second half after being rattled on a hit at the end of the second quarter, leaving backup pivots Justin Goltz and Zach Collaros to duel it out the rest of the way.
Pierce got the Bomber offence moving early on the first drive, with completions to Rory Kohlert and Clarence Denmark to move into scoring range inside the opening minute of the game. The drive stalled short of the end zone, but the effort led to a 34-yard field goal from Justin Palardy to give the Bombers a rare first-quarter lead.
Facing deafening crowd noise on the ensuing drive, Ray quickly got the Argos’ offence to work. The veteran pivot started with a key second-down conversion on a nine-yard completion to Andre Durie, before hitting on consecutive passes to Chad Owens and Jason Barnes to move the Boatmen into Winnipeg territory.

After a 19-yard catch-and-run for running back Chad Kackert took the Argos to the 15, Ray finished it off with a floating pass over the shoulder to Owens, who made an impressive adjustment to come up with the catch.

The touchdown capped off an eight-play, 68-yard drive over 5:18, giving Toronto a 7-3 lead midway through the opening quarter.

Following the early scoring, the defences seemingly settled in as the teams exchanged punts. But late in the first quarter, the Bomber offence got the volume up at Investors Group Field on a deep Pierce completion to Denmark for a 39-yard gain into Argos territory.

But again that Argo defence – while bending – did not break, eventually forcing Palardy to kick his second three-pointer of the night from 31 yards, making it a 7-6 game early in the second quarter.

Midway through the second quarter, a big defensive game would serve as a possible game-changer, as Jamie Robinson used his long reach to grab his first career interception, returning it 47 yards to the Winnipeg 30.

Then, like only the best quarterbacks know how to do, Ray took advantage on the ensuing play, hitting Spencer Watt on a corner route for a 30-yard touchdown pass to put the Argos in front 14-6.

The Boatmen weren’t done there though, again challenging the Blue and Gold vertically. Ray fired to Durie for a 36-yard gain to the Winnipeg seven-yard-line, then completed consecutive passes to newcomer John Chiles and Owens to get to the one.

A 1-yard plunge by Collaros put the quick scoring drive on ice, giving Toronto a 21-6 lead at the completion of the first half. Down by a pair of touchdowns, the Bombers had an uphill climb in the second half, particularly with Pierce not returning to action after taking a hit late in the second quarter.

And after completing 15 of 16 pass attempts in the opening half, Ray wasn't going to make it any easier in the next 30 minutes for the Bombers. The veteran completed three quick passes, including a key second-down conversion to Owens for 25 yards down to the Winnipeg 22.

Then on another second down, with the Bombers having Toronto’s receivers covered downfield, Ray found a seam up the middle and beat the Winnipeg defence with his feet.

The 18-yard touchdown run capped off an efficient eight-play, 80-yard drive, putting the Argos ahead 28-6 to start the second half of the game.

Shortly after moving into third all-time on the CFL completions list, passing Danny McManus, a scary moment occurred for the Argonauts and their star pivot. At the end of a long completion to Durie, Ray was taken down hard to the turf, appearing to be favouring his knee.

He was forced to leave the game and did not return, with Collaros coming in under centre to take his place.

The Argos finished the drive with a field goal, which was matched by a Winnipeg field goal to start the fourth quarter following a punt block by Teague Sherman, recovered by Cauchy Muamba.
With both starters out of the game, neither offence could muster up a lot of production the rest of the way. Chad Simpson scored a late major from a yard out, but it wouldn't be enough as the Argos held their ground en-route to a 35-19 win -- their first of the season away from the Rogers Centre.
While the Bombers failed to come back, Goltz made the most of his opportunity in the second half, completing 13 of 15 pass attempts for 170 yards. Pierce's status for next will is unknown, but the young Goltz may have made enough of an impression to get a better look sooner rather than later.
With the victory, the Argos split the four-way tie in the East Division, now sitting in first place with a record of 2-2. They'll return home to take on the BC Lions on July 30th.
The Bombers, meanwhile, get back at it a week from now, as they search for their first win at Investors Group Field on Friday Night Football against the Calgary Stampeders.
Montreal vs Calgary
The Calgary Stampeders scored 35 straight points, coming all the way back to defeat the Montreal Alouettes 38-27 on Saturday night at McMahon Stadium.
The win could have potentially come at a cost for the Stamps, as QB Kevin Glenn was injured in the third quarter with an apparent elbow injury. He did not return and Bo Levi Mitchell took over under centre in his place.
Prior to exiting the game, Glenn was solid, completing 18 of his 27 passes for 204 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
With the win, the Stamps swept the home and home and the season series against the Als.
While it didn’t take long for the offences to get rolling one week ago in Montreal, with the Als scoring on their opening drive, the same couldn’t be said for tonight’s clash, as both teams played to two and outs on their initial possessions.

But it wouldn’t take long for the Als to find their rhythm.

Taking over from their own 28 yard line, Calvillo marched his offence downfield with a solid combination of gains through the air and on the ground.

The 40-year-old pivot completed all four of his passes on the drive, the biggest of which found SJ Green on a flat for a 27-yard gain that set the Als up with a fresh set of downs from Calgary’s two-yard line.

One play later, tailback Brandon Whitaker trotted untouched into the endzone for a touchdown, giving Montreal an early 7-0 lead.

Following their early score last week against the Stamps, the Montreal offence went dry for the remainder of the game, a trend they didn’t want to continue tonight.

They were given an almost immediate chance to add to their lead thanks to an interception by middle linebacker Shea Emry, who took advantage of a tipped ball at the line.

While the Als were unable to find the endzone, they did put three more points on the board, courtesy of a 42-yard field goal by Sean Whyte.

From there, the floodgates appeared to open wide up for the Alouettes.

First, Green hauled in a ‘go up and get it’ pass from Calvillo and proceeded to run it in 58 yards for a major to extend Montreal’s lead to 17.

Then, with the first quarter winding down, Noel Devine gave his offence exceptional field position thanks to a 41-yard punt return that set the Als up on Calgary’s 22 yard line.

On their ensuing possession, Jerome Messam exploded up the middle for an 18-yard gain and followed that big run up with another carry up the middle, one that ended with him in the endzone to give Montreal a 24-0 lead after 15 minutes of play.

After the teams switched sides, the Stampeders embarked on an 11-play, 55-yard drive that didn’t result in a touchdown, but did give them their first points of the game, as Rene Paredes connected from 27 yards out to cut Montreal’s lead to three touchdowns.

The field goal was the 26th consecutive successful boot by Paredes, who is chasing Paul McCallum’s consecutive field goals record of 30.

From there, the Stampeder offence started to find their legs.

After the Als weren’t able to answer offensively, the Stamps went on another long drive, this time marching 88 yards downfield on nine plays, the last of which found Tim St. Pierre in the endzone off a one-yard pass from Mitchell who was in for a short-yardage play.

With just over a minute left in the first half, Paredes split the uprights once again, connecting from 41 yards out, extending his streak to 27-straight in the process.
Then, with 10 seconds left in the half - after the Stamps regained possession - Glenn scrambled and hooked up with Nik Lewis for a 10-yard touchdown strike.

The first half came to a close with the Als clinging to a 24-19 lead.

In their first three games of the season, Montreal has had trouble in third quarters, having been outscored by a combined total of 26-2.

On Saturday, the trend continued, as Calvillo wasn’t able to generate much traction offensively, highlighted by a failed third-and-short gamble that gave the Stamps excellent field position to start their second possession of the second half.

Montreal’s defence held strong, however, limiting the Stamps offence to just a field goal – the 28th straight connection by Paredes.

With just over five minutes to go in the third quarter, disaster struck for the Stampeders, as Glenn sustained the aforementioned injury.

Mitchell was inserted into the game as his replacement and kept the Stampeders offence afloat, as he almost immediately found Jon Cornish for an 11-yard touchdown, giving the Stamps a 28-24 lead.

The Stamps went for two but Mitchell’s pass was dropped by McDaniel.

On the ensuing kickoff, Devine broke through coverage for what looked like a sure-fire touchdown return. However, a hustling Fred Bennett stripped Devine of the ball before he hit the endzone, giving possession right back to the Stampeders.

And the Stamps would take advantage of Bennett’s excellent heads up play, as Mitchell orchestrated an impressive and lengthy drive that ended with Cornish finding the endzone from 11 yards out to give the Stamps a 35-24 lead.
The Als would cut Calgary's lead to 12 thanks to a 27-yard field goal by Whyte, but only momentarily, as Paredes restored Calgary's 11 point lead with his 29th straight field goal, this time from 46 yards out.
With just over a minute remaining in the game, Paredes was given a chance to tie McCallum's record, but saw his attempt blocked by Montreal's John Bowman.
However, the statistical rulebook states that for a legal kick to be made the ball must cross the line of scrimmage. In all cases of this kind the kicker is charged with a fumble and not a field goal attempt in the case where it is blocked and the ball is recovered behind the line of scrimmage.
As a result, Paredes' streak remains intact at 29.
Despite the missed chance at history, the Stampeders closed out the game strong, defeating the Als 38-27.
Next week, the Stamps will travel to Winnipeg to take on the Blue Bombers, while the Als head home to face the Eskimos.
Edmonton vs BC
Andrew Harris scored three touchdowns, while Travis Lulay threw for 284 yards and one touchdown as the BC Lions cruised to a 31-21 home win over the Edmonton Eskimos.
The win gave the Lions a sweep of their home and home series, one that saw them beat the Eskimos 17-3 in Edmonton one week ago.
Mike Reilly made his regular-season return to BC Place Stadium, but registered modest numbers in a losing effort. The former Lions backup completed just 12 passes for 152 yards and no touchdowns.
In both games against BC, Reilly has thrown for just 249 yards and no touchdowns with two interceptions. He'll get one more chance to beat his former club in Week 18.
Harris, meanwhile, racked up 103 yards on the ground, leading the Lions to their eighth-straight win at home.
The first quarter saw very little action, as both teams were unable to break through on the offensive side of the ball.

The only scoring arrived by-way of a 47-yard field goal by kicker Grant Shaw, giving the Esks a 3-0 lead on their opening drive.

However, their lead was short-lived, as BC kicker Paul McCallum evened the score early on in the second quarter with a 36-yard field goal of his own.

The arrival of the second quarter also spurned the arrival of the offence, with the Lions getting things started first.

One play after Lulay found receiver Courtney Taylor for a 34-yard gain to bring the Lions to Edmonton’s 25 yard line, Esks rush end Odell Willis committed a costly roughing the passer penalty, bringing BC to the Esks’ 12-yard line.

One play later, Andrew Harris rumbled his way into the endzone for a touchdown, giving the Lions a 10-3 lead in the process.

But the sea-saw battle continued, as the Eskimos offence finally woke up.

First, offensive coordinator Doug Sams called a gutsy play, as QB Mike Reilly flipped it back to receiver Cary Koch who proceeded to throw it back to Reilly for a 16-yard gain.

On the next play, shifty tailback John White cut his through the line for a nine-yard gain, which set up a three-yard touchdown run by backup QB Kerry Joseph, tying the game at 10 apiece.

At the half, Lulay had completed 11 of his 17 passes for 137 yards and an interception. Reilly, meanwhile, was just 5-7 for 59 yards.

The biggest star offensively, however, was Harris, who registered 52 yards and a touchdown on eight carries.

When the third quarter got underway, the Lions offence swung momentum back in their favour, as Lulay connected with receiver Emmanuel Arceneaux for a massive 77-yard touchdown to give BC a 17-10 lead.
The Lions would extend their lead on their next possession, with Harris stealing the show in the process. After a seven-yard grab by Arceneaux brought the Lions to Edmonton's 25 yard line, Harris ran to the outside on the next play and nearly leaped over an Eskimo defender straight into the endzone.
However, the official close to the play ruled him out at the one yard line.
One play later, Harris would reach the endzone for the second time, trotting into the endzone from one yard out.
The fourth quarter saw the Eskimos slowly chip away at BC's lead, as Shaw connected from 15 yards out, but missed on his next attempt from 51 yards out for a rouge, shrinking the Lions' lead to 10.
With less than five minutes to go, Reilly and the Eskimos were pressing to bring themselves within striking distance, but the QB threw a crucial interception to Jabar Westerman deep in his own end, allowing the Lions to take over from inside the Esks' red zone.
It was then that Harris put the game out of reach, taking a handoff and shifting through the line untouched for a three-yard touchdown to make the score 31-14.
Fred Stamps would score with just over a minute remaining to bring the Esks within 10, however it was a case of too little, too late, as the Lions held on for the win.
Next week, the Lions travel to Toronto to take on the Argos, while the Eskimos will also head east to face the Montreal Alouettes.
Hamilton vs Saskatchewan
If his sprained foot bothered him at all, Roughriders QB Darian Durant refused to show it in the slightest bit.
The 30-year old pivot was exceptional, completing 20 passes for 347 yards and 4 touchdowns, two to receiver Rob Bagg as the Roughriders beat the visiting Hamilton Tiger-Cats 37-0 on Sunday night.
Kory Sheets was also solid, rushing for 130 yards, eclipsing the 100-yard rushing mark for the fourth straight game in the process. Bagg, meanwhile, finished with 5 catches for 152 yards in addition to his pair of scores.
Hamilton QB Henry Burris, meanwhile, completed 16 passes for 158 yards and no touchdowns.
The win marked the first Roughriders shutout since they beat the Blue Bombers 52-0 on Labour Day of last season.
Tonight’s tilt had all the makings of being an offensive shootout, but it took some time for both units to gather their bearings.

In fact, it wasn’t until the final minute of the opening quarter when the Riders began to establish themselves offensively.
Sheets, who has been red-hot through three games this season, ran the ball seven times for 32 yards through the first frame and kick-started the Riders on their first scoring drive of the game, running the ball 11 yards to the outside for a fresh set of downs.

From there, Saskatchewan’s offence moved downfield with a nice mix of runs and completions, one of which turned out to be Geroy Simon’s first as a Roughrider.

However, Durant wasn’t able to find the endzone, forcing the Riders to settle for a field goal, a 13-yard chip shot for Chris Milo.

On Hamilton’s ensuing possession, they seemed primed to reply with points of their own, as Burris quickly pushed his offence closer to Rider territory with apparent ease.

Heading into Week 4, the Riders defence had allowed a league-high 1,042 passing yards but countered that stat by registering the most interceptions with four.

True to form, when it looked like they were being victimized through the air, safety Craig Butler picked off Burris in the endzone, squashing the drive and any momentum it may have given the Ticats in the process.

Saskatchewan took advantage of the turnover, as Milo connected on his second field goal of the game, this time splitting the uprights from 47 yards out.

After a quick two-and-out by the Ticats, one that saw them hand the ball to running back Chevon Walker for the first time of the half, Durant and the Riders’ offence went to work on extending their lead.

First, Durant hooked up with two of his most reliable targets, as Taj Smith and Weston Dressler caught passes for gains of 32 and 12 yards respectively.
With a fresh set of downs, Durant then looked to Bagg, who hauled in a 28-yard pass in the endzone for his second touchdown in as many weeks.

The Riders would tack on three more points as the half expired, increasing their lead to 16-0 at the break.

The first half saw Durant complete 13 of his 23 passes for 187 yards and a touchdown, while Burris was solid as well, completing 11 of 17 attempts for 117 yards.

On the ground, Sheets ran for 36 yards on nine carries, while Walker had just one carry for five yards.

Until the later stages of the third quarter, there was little action to report offensively.

With less than three minutes to go in the frame, Durant took advantage of a costly pass interference penalty by Hamilton’s Rico Murray, one that negated what would have been the first interception thrown by the pivot this season.

But Durant quickly forgot about his slight miscue, as he proceeded to find Simon for a gain of 32 yards and followed that up immediately with a 12-yard strike to Dressler.

One play later, Durant hooked up with 310-pound guard Dan Clark for the big man’s first CFL touchdown, increasing their lead to 23-0.

But the Riders weren’t done just yet.

Following another quick two-and-out by the Ticats, Durant needed just one play to find the endzone again, this timefinding Bagg for his second major of the game.
From there, the Riders offence never looked back, as Durant followed up four-straight carries by Sheets by finding Dressler wide open in the endzone for a 28-yard touchdown, increasing their lead to 37.
In the win, Simon hauled in just to passes for 38 yards. It was his first taste of action since last year's Western Final, as he missed the first three games of the season with a hamstring injury.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Riders were simply unstoppable. With Rey Williams' two sacks and three tackles leading the way, the Riders' D played to arguably their most complete effort of the young season.
Next week, the Ticats will get their shot at revenge, as the two teams will square off once again at Alumni Stadium in Guelph.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

CFL Recap Week 3

Scores and Standings

Saskatchewan vs Toronto
The Saskatchewan Roughriders continued their blazing start to the 2013 season, defeating the Toronto Argonauts 39-28 for their third-straight win on Thursday night.
Darian Durant was exceptional, connecting on 14 of his 19 passes for 245 yards and 3 touchdown passes before leaving the game in the fourth quarter with an apparent lower-body injury.
Drew Willy stepped in as his replacement and finished the game.
Kory Sheets was also dominant, recording his third-straight 100-yard game on the ground, running for 178 yards and 2 touchdowns on 26 carries. It marked the first time a Roughrider running back had accomplished the feat since Wes Cates did so back in 2006.
Smith, meanwhile, hauled in 3 passes for 141 yards and 2 touchdowns.
After the Argos offence had a rough outing against BC in Week 2, collecting only 249 total yards, the unit got off to a hot start in this one.
Led by a nifty reverse that saw Andre Durie finesse his way to the outside for a gain of 22 yards, the Argos chipped their way into Riders territory en-route to the game’s first points, a 44-yard field goal by kicker Noel Prefontaine.

The three-pointer marked the second time in three games that the Boatmen scored on their opening possession, with Jason Barnes’ Week 1 touchdown against the Tiger-Cats being the first.

But Toronto’s lead was short-lived, as the white-hot Roughriders offence came alive shortly thereafter.
Trailing by 4 as a result of a missed field goal by Prefontaine that stayed in the endzone, the Riders would begin to pave their way into Toronto territory.

First, Durant connected with receiver Rob Bagg for a gain of 11 yards and then found the receiver once more two plays later for a gain of 12.
After Kory Sheets powered up the middle for a 5-yard run, setting up a crucial second down, Durant found Weston Dressler for 12 more yards. On the play, Khalif Mitchell was called for a roughing the passer penalty, giving the Riders a free 15 extra yards.

Two plays later, Bagg hauled in his third pass of the drive and tiptoed into the corner of the endzone to give the Riders a 7-4 lead.

The score was Bagg’s first since Sept. 25 2010, as the Canadian has been battling knee injuries for the batter part of the last two seasons.

It was also a milestone moment for Durant, as the toss was his 100th CFL touchdown pass of his career.

With the 1st quarter winding down, the Argos offence went back to work, looking to restore their early lead.

Starting from his own 29 yard line, Ricky Ray carried the offence to the tune of 5 consecutive completions, the third of which saw Riders DB Weldon Brown commit a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty on Durie that brought the drive inside Saskatchewan’s redzone.

Two plays after the penalty, Durie grabbed his third pass of the possession and powered his way in for his first touchdown of the season, giving the Argos an 11-7 lead.

The offences would continue to exchange punches midway through the second quarter, but this time the Riders would land one square to the chin of the Argos defence.

While it was Durant who carried the offence on Saskatchewan’s first scoring drive, Sheets took over on their second, with the tailback charging forward for big gains of 10, 6 and 19 yards.

Durant would catch a break after Sheets’ 19-yarder, as Jamie Robinson picked off his pass that was intended for Taj Smith and returned it 80 yards untouched to the endzone.

However, Robinson was called for pass interference, giving the Riders a fresh set of downs on Toronto’s 14-yard line.

Despite the close call, Durant stuck to his guns and immediately found Jock Sanders for a 9-yard gain. On the play, Kiante Tripp was called for roughing the passer, moving the drive up to the Argos’ 2 yard line.
One play after, Sheets plowed through the line for a 2-yard score, giving the Riders a 14-11 lead.

With less than a minute to go in the half, the Riders needed just one play to extend their lead to 10, as Durant found Smith wide open for a 61-yard touchdown.

Before the half came to a close, the Argos cut Saskatchewan’s lead down to a touchdown, with Prefontaine splitting the uprights from 44 yards out.

During the first 30 minutes of action, Ray tied an Argos franchise record for most consecutive completions to start a game, connecting on his first 12 attempts before a pass intended for Jeff Johnson was deflected to turf by Rey Williams.

The veteran finished the half 18-22 for 183 yards and a touchdown.

Not to be outdone, Durant was good on nine of his 13 first half passes for 141 yards and a pair of majors. Sheets, meanwhile, continued his torrid start, as he collected 49 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries.

The Riders offence continued its strong play in the second half, with Durant once again needing just one play to find Smith for a long-distance touchdown, this time hooking up for a 70-yard score to extend their lead to 29-14.

The score marked the second one-play touchdown drive of the game, following up Smith’s first major from back in the second quarter.

After the Riders extended their lead to 18 thanks to a 21-yard field goal by Chris Milo, the Argos' slumbering offence finally woke up.
Quiet for most of the game, it was Chad Kackert who would revive Toronto's chances, has he lined up as a wideout and beat Craig Butler downfield for a 48-yard touchdown, cutting the Riders' lead to just 11.
But Sheets and the Riders offence were too much to handle on this night, as the tailback cruised through the Argos front seven for what seemed to be an easy 37-yard touchdown, putting the game out of reach with just 2:15 left in the fourth quarter.
With 23 seconds to go in the final frame, QB Zach Collaros made the most of his releif appearance, driving the Argos 102 yards downfield on 11 plays, which he capped off a two-yard TD run of his own to make the final score 39-28 for the Riders.
Next week, the Argos head to Winnipeg to take on the Blue Bombers, while the Riders return home to host the Tiger-Cats.
Calgary vs Montreal
Kevin Glenn picked up right where he left off after leading Calgary to a Grey Cup appearance last November, passing for 268 yards on 22 of 28 passing as the Stamps defeated the Montreal Alouettes 22-14 Friday night at Percival Molson Stadium.

Rene Paredes pitched in with five field goals while Nike Lewis and Brad Sinopoli each added 81 yards receiving in the Calgary victory.
Glenn was taking over behind centre after starter Drew Tate went down with a strained forearm late in Week 2’s contest with Saskatchewan.

It was a year ago to the day that the veteran quarterback stepped in for Tate in Montreal, helping lead them to a second-place finish before Tate returned late in the year.

As for the Alouettes, the week leading into Friday’s contest was like no other with both players and coaches answering questions about a Week 2 performance where they produced just 161 yards of total offence and were forced to punt 24 times by a stingy Winnipeg Blue Bombers defence. Following the game, the usually calm Anthony Calvillo called the performance “disgusting”.
Promising a better output this week, Calvillo and the Alouettes offence silenced their critics as quickly as possible, engineering a brilliant 11-play, 81-yard scoring drive, finding WR Brandon London in the endzone for an acrobatic 19-yard touchdown and an early lead.

Already without Tate, the Stamps offence was also missing second-year receiver Maurice Price who sat out with an injury.

It took Glenn some time to get in rhythm but the veteran found his way as the Stamps marched into the second quarter, leading back-to-back drives ending in Rene Paredes field goals from 21 and 20 yards out.

With Montreal up 7-6, Glenn continued to show veteran poise, leading the Stampeders 70 yards down the field before putting the ball in the endzone to take a 13-7 advantage. Scrimmaging from the nine yard line, Glenn’s pass was tipped at the line of scrimmage but landed right into the hands of Lewis who fell back over the goal line for the major.

The Stamps defence then hunkered down, holding Calvillo to only 92 yards passing and didn’t allow the Als over their side of centre after Montreal’s opening drive.

The Stamps seemed poised to take a stranglehold on the game with an impressive possession early in the third quarter.

First, Glenn found non-import quarterback-turned-receiver Sinopoli down the sideline for a smart one-handed catch for 41 yards, before connecting with Lewis for an 18-yard gain to set Calgary up at the Montreal one yard line. However a goal line stand by the Als forced Calgary to kick a field goal and only up their lead to 16-7.

Calgary’s defence continued to confuse Calvillo and the Als, forcing another stop and countering with a 39-yard Paredes field goal to extend the score to 19-7.

Calvillo began to find his receivers midway through the final frame, spotting SB Arland Bruce lll twice in stride, one of which was a 33-yard gain. But scrimmaging from the Calgary 43 yard line, the Als elected to go for it on third-and-two and Calvillo rolled out looking for RB Brandon Whitaker only to have the pass knocked down by linebacker Deron Mayo to force the turnover on downs.

Calgary’s defence was unrelenting on the ensuing Als possession as Charleston Hughes knocked Calvillo’s arm, forcing the fumble and the ball was recovered by defensive lineman Demonte’ Bolden.

With the Als offence unable to solve the Stamps, it was the special teams that stepped up to get Montreal right back into the game. Second-year defensive back Ed Gainey, leaped in front of a Rob Maver punt, recovering his own block and returning it 38 yards for a touchdown while cutting the lead to 19-14 with just over three minutes remaining.

That was as close as Montreal would get however as the Stamps defence swarmed Calvillo on the final two drives and Paredes nailed a clutch 39-yard field goal with 47 seconds remaining to seal a 22-14 Stampeders victory.

Calvillo finished with a modest 205 yards and one touchdown on 22 of 36 passing. Bruce lll led the Als in receiving with 5 catches for 80 yards.

The two teams complete a home-and-home next Saturday when they meet at McMahon Stadium in Calgary.

Winnipeg vs Hamilton
Henry Burris led with his arm and his feet, passing for 362 yards and rushing for 47 as the Hamilton Tiger-Cats beat the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 25-20 Saturday night.

Following a 30-20 loss last week, Hamilton quarterback Burris vowed to improve heading into Saturday, saying that “as an offence we have to get better”. A tough task without star receiver Andy Fantuz and Onrea Jones.
One playmaker that was back however, was running back Chevon Walker who was a scratch due to injury in the previous two weeks.

Burris made good on his promise early – on the fourth play from scrimmage in fact – finding SB Samuel Giguere down the field for a 61-yard catch-and-run touchdown and an early 7-0 lead.

Last week it was the Blue Bombers defensive line that was receiving all the praise for a win over Anthony Calvillo and the Montreal Alouettes and they picked up where they left off, getting to Burris three times on ensuing Hamilton drives.

After the Ticats added two singles, running back Chad Simpson got Winnipeg on the board when he bounced a run outside and raced 75 yards for a touchdown. A bobbled snap on the extra point kept the Bombers with only six but cut the lead to three.

Simpson had a phenomenal first half, entering the locker room with 100 yards on five carries.

On their following possession, the Bombers had a chance to tie it up but Justin Palardy rang a 40-yard field goal attempt off the left goal post, keeping the 9-6 lead intact.

The two teams traded punts before CB Jovon Johnson flipped the field with one play, taking a Josh Bartel kick back 42 yards to give his club instant field position.

From there, quarterbacks Buck Pierce and Justin Goltz teamed up to lead a 7-play drive capped off by an 8-yard touchdown scamper by the latter on a QB option play.

The Gotlz major followed by a 24-yard Luca Congi field goal late in the half gave Winnipeg a 13-12 lead which they took into locker room after 30.

The defences hunkered down in the third quarter but it was the kickers doing all the work. Josh Bartel soared two booming punts into the endzone for single points before Congi added a 24-yard field goal to put the Tiger-Cats back in the lead 17-13.

Congi had an opportunity to expand the lead but sailed a 27-yard attempt wide right, gaining a single.

Burris, who had been stymied by an active Winnipeg defensive front finally found his footing, leading an impressive 11-play, 86-yard drive capped off by a 12-yard touchdown pass to rookie fullback John Delahunt to take their biggest lead of the game at 25-13.

Burris also made a his mark on the CFL record books on the play, moving into a tie with Matt Dunigan for 4th place on the all-time Touchdown Passing list with 306.

The Bombers would counter however and they would turn to Simpson.

The Bombers tailback took a sweep handoff, negotiated through a few tackles and turned up field for a 15-yard touchdown to cut Hamilton`s lead to 25-20 with just under three minutes remaining in he contest. The score capped off a 9-play, 92-yard drive.

Burris would show poise on the ensuing posession and close out the game with a pair of first downs, including an 11-yard run to seal the win.

Next week, the Ticats travel to Regina to take on the Saskatchewan Roughriders while the Bombers return home to host the defending Grey Cup champion Toronto Argonauts.

BC vs Edmonton
Two consecutive touchdown drives to open the second half was all the BC Lions needed on a rainy night in Edmonton, leaving Commonwealth with a 17-3 win over the Eskimos.

Saturday night’s game marked the first regular season meeting between the teacher, Travis Lulay, and his former understudy Mike Reilly.

The two met briefly in the pre-season, each seeing three quarters, with Reilly coming out on top of his former club with 202 yards in a 27-22 exhibition win.

Lulay got the better of his old backup in this one however, passing for 158 yards and 2 touchdowns, while Reilly completed 13 of 21 passes but only generated 97 yards.

Lulay also led his team in rushing, tucking the ball and running 9 times for 82 yards - 12 yards more than starting running back Andrew Harris.
It was a rainy evening at Commonwealth Stadium with the Eskimos playing in their second straight downpour in six days after outlasting the Hamilton Tiger-Cats last weekend in a soaked Guelph, Ontario for their first win of the season.

The poor weather made its mark on the game early when the Lions attempted to gamble on third-and-one. A snap between centre and backup QB Thomas DeMarco slipped out of the short-yardage pivot’s hands forcing a turnover on downs.

The bobbled exchange set the Esks up in BC territory and eventually led to a 31-yard Grant Shaw field goal and a 3-0 Edmonton advantage.

The Esks special teams unit would come up with a big play again as linebacker Rennie Curran – in his CFL debut – blocked a Hugh O’Neill punt to force their second turnover of the game.

It set up a field goal attempt from 42 yards out by Shaw but holder Kerry Joseph couldn’t handle the snap in the wet conditions and it too resulted in a turnover. The Esks were about to attempt the kick from 32 yards out but an objectionable conduct call on running back Calvin McCarty moved the ball back.

The Lions tried to get on the board after a 22-yard reception by Harris and a 12-yard Lulay scamper set up an O’Neill field goal attempt. Not unlike Joseph, DeMarco couldn’t grasp the snap and O’Neill picked up the loose ball and booted it into the endzone. Eskimos linebacker JC Sherritt fielded the ball and conceded the single.

The teams entered halftime with Edmonton holding a 3-1 lead.

It took over two quarters but the game finally got its first major score and it came credit of receiver Emmanuel Arceneaux. Lulay engineered a 9-play drive, capped off by a 12-yard touchdown toss to Arceneaux who showed great concentration while giving his team an 8-3 third quarter lead.

Coming off a score on their first possession of the second half, the Lions followed it up with another major on the next series.

Harris took a swing pass out of the backfield and powered his way 16-yards for a major. The 8-play, 75-yard drive extended the Leos lead to 15-3.

As the rain started to ease, Lulay began finding his receivers but he made respectable noise with his legs, rushing for 77 yards on 7 attempts through just three quarters of play.

As the game entered its final seven minutes, Lulay continued to engineer drives that didn't necessarily result in major scores but did flip the field, making matters more difficult for Reilly and the Eskimos offence who couldn't seem to gain traction in the second half.

BC earned two more points with just over four minutes to play when Shaw conceded a safety on a punt, putting the score at 17-3 Lions.

Reilly had a chance to make a dent into the lead and try to mount a comeback late but an interception thrown to DB Cord Parks with 1:58 on the clock sealed the win for the Lions.

The two teams complete a home-and-home under the roof of BC Place next Saturday night at 10pm ET.

Friday, July 12, 2013

CFL Recap Week 2

Scores and Standings

Winnipeg vs Montreal
The Bombers defence sacked Anthony Calvillo seven times, limiting the QB to just 121 yards as they fought to a 19-11 win over the Alouettes on Thursday night at Percival Molson Stadium.
Tonight’s matchup marked the second half of a home-and-home series between the two, with the Als taking round one last Thursday night in Winnipeg 38-33.

While both teams had their offences working early last week, it was the defences that came to play early on in this outing.
Winnipeg appeared to have their attack moving smoothly on their opening possession, with tailback Chad Simpson rushing for gains of 4 and 8 yards on consecutive plays for a fresh set of downs.

But the drive would come to an immediate halt when receiver Cory Watson fumbled the ball on what was Buck Pierce’s first pass of the game. Rookie Mike Edem recovered the loose ball, giving the Als possession on their own 45 yard line.

After Anthony Calvillo and the Als were unable to produce any traction on their first drive of the game, the Bombers took over once again, but continued to have trouble holding onto the ball.

On their first play of the possession, Pierce saw his pass intended for Will Ford tipped at the line and intercepted by Scooter Berry.

Fortunately for the Bombers, the Als weren’t able to take advantage of the good field position, as they were forced to settle for a 15-yard field goal by Sean Whyte.

Following a few drives that saw little offence from either team, Pierce was finally able to string together a few plays without turning over the ball.

Pinned deep inside their own end due to a penalty on the preceding punt return, Pierce looked towards Montreal native Watson on three consecutive plays for gains of 37, 5 and 10, bringing the drive inside Alouettes territory.

After Pierce connected with Terrence Edwards and Clarence Denmark for a fresh set of downs inside Montreal’s red zone, Simpson took over but wasn’t able to generate a first down, coming up just inches short of the marker.

However, rather than settling for a field goal, Bombers head coach Tim Burke gambled and sent out backup QB Justin Goltz, who proceeded to move the chains after punching through the line for a one-yard gain.

One play later, Goltz trotted into the endzone untouched for the game’s opening touchdown, giving the Bombers a 7-3 lead in the process.

With time winding down in the first half, Calvillo seemed to finally find his rhythm, connecting with receiver Arland Bruce for the unit’s first fresh set of downs at the half.
Brandon Whitaker, making his first appearance since tearing his ACL in Week 12 of last year, also started finding his groove, busting out an 11-yard rush for another Alouettes first down.

But after a procedure call on Josh Bourke pushed the Als five yards backwards, they were unable to move the chains on their next play, forcing Als head coach Dan Hawkins to send out Whyte to attempt a second field goal, one that he would kick wide for his first miss of the season.

The Bombers entered the half up 8-3, thanks in large to the fact that they were able to keep the Als out of the endzone, despite giving the ball away three times.

But the trend continued once the second half got underway, with the Als cutting another Winnipeg drive short by forcing and recovering a fumble to take over possession.

Winnipeg’s defence would stand tall yet again, however, as they continued to suffocate Calvillo and the Als offence.

The offence came to a standstill in the third quarter, with both defences maintaining their ground and refusing to allow the opposition to gain any momentum.

With just over three minutes to go in the third quarter, disaster nearly struck for the Bombers with Als linebacker Kyries Hebert recovering a mishandled snap by Goltz and returning it 58 yards for a touchdown.

However, the play was reviewed by the CFL command centre, who ruled Hebert was downed by contact before his run to the endzone.

The turnover, the fifth forced by Montreal, translated into a single point of a punt by Whyte to cut Winnipeg’s lead to 4.
While the Bombers were fortunate enough to surrender just 4 points off their numerous turnovers, the same couldn't be said for the Alouettes.
After Calvillo saw his pass intended for Jamel Richardson get picked off by Desia Dunn, Pierce proceeded to march the Bombers 65 yards downfield on eight plays, culminating in one-yard TD run by Goltz, giving the Bombers a 16-4 lead.
But with less than three minutes to go in the game, Calvillo and the slumbering Alouettes offence finally woke up.
The 40-year-old QB connected with Whitaker, Richardson, Bruce and SJ Green on four consecutive passes, the last of which saw Green dive into the endzone for a 17-yard touchdown to bring the Als within five.
However, it would be a case of too little, too late, as the Bombers managed to escape Montreal with their first win of the season.
Despite not throwing a touchdown, Pierce seemed poised and in control all night, finishing his night with 257 yards on 19 completions. Rookie DT Zack Anderson made his presence felt, registering two of Winnipeg's seven sacks on the night. Veteran Bryant Turner collected 3 sacks and forced a fumble as well.
Toronto vs BC
Andrew Harris delivered the knock-out punch with a 4-yard touchdown late to cap off a 24-16 BC Lions win over the Toronto Argonauts Thursday night.

It was a matchup that pitted the last two Grey Cup Champions against one another after the Lions won it on home turf in 2011 and the Argos followed suit a year later in the 100th edition of the game.

One thing that Travis Lulay and the Lions offence vowed heading into tonight was to get off to a quicker start; something they didn’t do in their loss to Calgary last week falling down 16-0 early.

Lulay made good on his promise, first connected with Nick Moore for 43 yards on their second possession before finding WR Courtney Taylor in the endzone for a 6-yard touchdown pass and an early 7-0 lead.

The Lions followed up that score with another impressive drive featuring a heavy dose of Moore who had already recorded 93 yards receiving in the first quarter. The Lions were poised to go up by two majors but Khalif Mitchell got to Lulay for a sack deep in Argo territory to force BC to kick a field goal.

Mitchell’s return to BC dominated headlines for most of the week after an unceremonious exit in a trade to Toronto. The re-focused lineman said that he entered the matchup with “no grudges, no hard feelings”.

The Lions offence continued to move the ball early on as Lulay connected with Manny Arceneaux for a 44-yard catch to set up another O’Neill field goal. O’Neill was in his second week handling all of the kicking duties with Paul McCallum still not back from injury.

After being stifled buy the Lions ‘D’ for the entire first quarter, Ricky Ray and the Toronto offence finally started to move the ball midway through the second frame. Ray found SB Chad Owens three times to set up a 42-yard Noel Prefontaine field goal to cut the Lions lead to 13-3.

Prefontaine, who was added to Toronto’s practice roster just before the season, was making his return following an injury to Swayze Waters.

The teams entered halftime with BC up 14-3.

The Lions defence was the story of the first half, holding the Argos to 97 yards of total offence. They were lead by fierce linebacker Solomon Elimimian who made his 2013 debut after missing last week in Calgary with an injury. He along with Adam Bighill are aiming to prove to the Lions administration that the two can co-exist in their linebacking corps after the former Defensive Player of the Year’s return midway through last season. BC primarily kept Bighill at the middle linebacker position while sending Elimimian off the edge at the outside spot.

The Lions plan at linebacker took a turn for the worse when Bighill went down on the first possession of the second half and was carted off the field never to return to action for the rest of the night. Also concerning for the Lions was receiver Shawn Gore leaving the game after absorbing a hit from rookie Argos DB Janzen Jackson.

Even without Bighill, the Lions defence continued to swarm Ray and the Argos, holding them to just a field goal through three quarters.
Meanwhile, Lulay continued to wear down Toronto’s defence that was still trying to find itself. Although he wasn’t putting majors on the board, the Lions pivot was leading long drives and O’Neill added another field goal to make it 17-3 Lions.

And defensively, the Lions continued to hold their ground.

After Argos defensive back Jalil Carter picked off a Lulay pass and took it inside the BC 20 yard line, the Leos stood tall and forced the Argos to kick a 12-yard field goal. The make cut the lead to 17-6.

Momentum began swinging in Toronto’s favour however as they opened the fourth quarter with a blocked punt by Jackson, recovered by Matt Black at the Lions 40 yard line. The Lions came up with a stop and Prefontaine stuck a 37-yard field goal to cut the lead to 17-9.

With Toronto looking to get within striking distance, former Argos defensive back Lin-J Shell stripped Ray of the ball and the Leos recovered on the Argos’ 40 yard line.

Harris then went to work on the ground. First he ripped off a 23-yard scamper before finishing off the 4-play drive with a 4-yard touchdown.

Adding to the drama that surrounded Mitchell’s return to BC, the hulking lineman took a roughing the passer call a play earlier to take what would have been a field goal attempt and set up the Lions inside the Argos five yard line.

Already without WR Dontrelle Inman, who was a late scratch, Ray and the Argonauts were just surrounded by the Lions defence who held them to just over 200 yards of total offence. Ray finished with an average 215 yards passing on 28 of 39.

Ray added a 7-yard touchdown run with 59 seconds left to cut the lead to 24-16 but that is as close as Toronto would get.

Next week the Argos return home to host Darian Durant and the Saskatcheawn Roughriders while the Lions travel to Edmonton to take on former backup QB Mike Reilly and the Eskimos.

Calgary vs Saskatchewan
Kory Sheets had another big day on the ground, while Darian Durant threw two touchdown passes as the Riders exploded in the second half en-route to a 36-21 win over the Stamps at Mosaic Stadium.
Down 21-14 at the half, the Roughriders buckled down defensively from there on, pitching a second-half shutout. Durant and Sheets took care of the rest, as the Roughriders scored 22 consecutive points to send a sold out gathering at Mosaic Stadium home happy.
Sheets ran for 133 yards and a touchdown, while Durant looked unstoppable on 26-34 passing for 253 yards and a pair of touchdown passes to Weston Dressler and Chris Getzlaf.
After wreaking havoc in a win last weekend, Stamps running back Jon Cornish was held to 41 yards on just eight carries, while Drew Tate threw for 231 yards and two touchdowns in a losing effort.
Hemmed deep in their own end after a holding penalty on the opening kickoff, Tate and the Stampeders were tested by a loud Mosaic Stadium crowd right from the get-go.

But the Calgary offence silenced the stadium quickly, as Tate found Joe West for a 64-yard completion on the pump-and-go, setting the Stamps up deep in scoring range.
The drive ended on a 7-yard touchdown run, as Marquay McDaniel took the handoff from Tate and found paydirt, leading the Red and White to an early 7-0 lead in hostile territory.

Durant and the Riders responded with a quick drive of their own, as the veteran pivot completed four straight passes to move the offence to the nine-yard-line. But that’s where the drive stalled on second down, leading to a 15-yard field goal from Chris Milo to make it a 7-3 game.

Later in the first quarter with a drive start at midfield, the Stamps converted a first-and-20 situation on a 24-yard hookup to Nik Lewis, starting another promising drive for the Stampeders.

Tate continued to find his rhythm, eventually evading pressure to find Rob Cote for a 7-yard touchdown pass, vaulting the Stamps into a 14-3 lead.

Midway through the second quarter and down by 11 points, the Riders found life on a second-and-three from the Calgary 28-yard-line. Durant found Dressler on what seemed like a harmless completion for a first down – but Dressler made a quick cut before bursting through a seam, leading to Saskatchewan’s first major of the game.

Sheets made good on a subsequent two-point conversion attempt, cutting the deficit to three points.

The Riders squared the game at 14 apiece soon after on a 36-yard field goal from Milo, leaving just enough time for the Stampeders to try and get a score in before the half to break the tie.

Tate, already putting forth a strong performance, grabbed the offence by the horns and drove it down the field, completing four consecutive passes to move to the Saskatchewan 36.

After converting a key second-and-10 to McDaniel, Tate gunned for the end zone on the ensuing first down, finding West for a 16-yard touchdown to put the Stamps ahead 21-14 through 30 minutes.
In the second half, the Riders were quick to seize momentum, efficiently driving to score on Milo’s third field goal of the game from 38 yards out. After a quick two-and-out on the ensuing Calgary possession, the field seemingly tilted in Saskatchewan’s favour.
After a fourth field goal from Milo to cut the deficit to a single point, the Riders finally struck for their second major score of the night. A pass interference penalty led the Riders to the one-yard-line, and Sheets did the rest, fighting his way through tacklers for the 18-yard touchdown run.
Again Chamblin gambled for the two-point conversion, and again the Riders came through on a short pass to Dressler, putting the Green and White ahead by a touchdown with the fourth quarter barely under way.
The touchdown gave the Riders a run of 14 straight points, rallying the home team ahead for the first time in the football game, 28-21.
After two more two-and-outs for Calgary -- a common occurrence in the game's second half -- the Riders offence stayed hot, as Durant led the Green and White offence down the field and into scoring range once again.
Then, thanks to a drive-extending penalty on the Calgary defence for unsportsmanlike conduct, Durant made the Stamps pay in the biggest way possible, with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Getzlaf to make it 35-21 in front of an elated Mosaic Stadium crowd.
Getzlaf made the catch down the sideline and leaped over the pylon, capping off a four-play, 15-yard drive that was assisted by the penalty as well as strong starting field position.
Kevin Glenn made a late appearance for the Stamps, but it was all for not as the Riders completed the second-half shutout, sending Rider Nation home happy after a momentus win in Week 2.
The Riders will look to move to 3-0 next week when they visit the defending Grey Cup Champion Toronto Argonauts, while the Stamps look to rebound with a trip to Montreal to take on the Alouettes.
Edmonton vs Hamilton
Not even a rain storm could stop Hugh Charles.
The shifty Edmonton Eskimos running back had over 200 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns as the Edmonton Eskimos defeated the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 30-20 at a rain-soaked Alumni Stadium in Guelph.

Sunday’s late-afternoon contest marked the first ever regular season CFL game in Guelph; the Ticats' temporary home while Ivor Wynne Stadium is being re-built.

It was an eventful opening for Charles who put his team in a hole and dug right out of it three plays later. Charles was stripped of the ball on the opening kickoff, setting the Ticats up at the Edmonton 40 yard line. Following a missed Luca Congi field goal, Charles got his team on the board first with a 70-yard scamper as he bounced outside to the perimeter of the Hamilton defence for an early 7-0 lead.

It seemed to spark the Esks sidelines, especially their defence which had a challenging opening week vs. the Roughriders last Saturday. They came out on fire on this day however, getting to Henry Burris twice on the ensuing possession and forcing Hamilton to concede a safety.
Burris, meanwhile, was without one of his favourite targets this week as receiver Andy Fantuz was out with a lower-body injury.
2012 fourth-round draft pick Simon Charbonneau-Campeau started in his place and ended up leading the Ticats in receiving yards with 63.

Off the kickoff following the safety, Eskimos quarterback Mike Reilly engineered the most impressive drive of his young career as a starter in Edmonton completing a 7-play, 55-yard touchdown series capped off with a diving Fred Stamps major for a 16-0 lead.

Burris and the ‘Cats answered right back however off the heels of a 68-yard Lindsey Lamar kickoff return to set up a 1-yard CJ Gable score to cut the lead to 16-7.

Lamar and Gable teamed up to take over Chevon Walker’s spot after being a late scratch due to injury for the second consecutive week.

The heavy rain began to become a factor, pouring onto the Alumni Stadium field, making for a slippery second quarter. Luca Congi recorded the first points of the frame, nailing a 39-yard field goal at 8:52 to cut the lead to 6. Congi added a 26-yarder two possessions later to bring Edmonton’s lead down to 16-13.

It was an impressive first half for Charles who had 120 yards and a touchdown on the ground on just 8 carries.

Both teams dedicated themselves to the run as the rain was unforgiving on the passing game.

The storm subsided a bit in the second half but the damage to the field was done as both teams had trouble gaining traction and more importantly, a handle on the ball.

After the Ticats took all the momentum heading into halftime, the Eskimos swung it back in their favour in a span of three plays.

First, defensive back TJ Hill jumped in front of a Burris pass deep in Hamilton territory to set his club up inside the 25 yard line. Charles then added his second major of the game, taking a swing pass 13 yards for an Eskimos touchdown and a 23-13 lead.

Reilly and the Esks did a great job heading into the fourth managing the game and most importantly securing the ball in not so ideal conditions.

The first-year starter delivered the knock-out punch with 9:48 left when he slid into the endzone on a 12-yard keeper to extend the Eskimos’ lead to 30-13.

The Tiger-Cats added a late score as Burris found newcomer Ed Gant for a 40-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 10.

Gant spent training camp with the Eskimos before being released and scooped up by the Ticats before the start of the season.

The Esks defence closed it out from there to preserve the 30-20 win.

The Cats remain at home next week as they welcome the Winnipeg Blue Bombers while the Eskimos return to Commonwealth for a matchup with the BC Lions.

CFL Week 1 Recap

Scores and Standings

Montrael vs Winnipeg
The Alouettes owned the first and fourth quarters winning a see-saw 2013 season opener 38-33 over the Blue Bombers at the opening of Investors Group Field.

Thursday not only marked the opening of the 2013 CFL season but the opening of the brand new stadium. The state-of-the-art facility that CFL.ca columnist Bob Irving said has a “pronounced wow factor” concluded their opening ceremony with legendary alumni Milt Stegall, dressed in full uniform, catching a touchdown pass from another former Bomber Matt Dunigan.

A raucous crowd helped get the Bombers defence revved up, forcing a two-and-out on QB Anthony Calvillo and the Als first possession of the game.

One of the unique features of the Bombers’ new digs is the canvas on each side of the grandstands which makes an already loud fan base seem even louder.

The noise level reached a maximum numerous times given the game was announced a sell-out earlier in the week.

Buck Pierce took to the field for the first time following the defensive stand but had a tough start. His first pass was intercepted by former Hamilton Ticat defensive back Geoff Tisdale on the corner, giving Montreal immediate field position.

Calvillo didn’t take long capitalizing, finding Jamel Richardson two plays later to bring the Als down to the Bombers three yard line before RB Chris Jennings punched it in on a pitch for the first touchdown in IGF history.

Calvillo was starting his 14th consecutive season behind centre. Only the late Ron Lancaster had started more games with one team in his career (15 with Saskatchewan).

The Als made sure that any momentum that the Bombers could have absorbed from the pre-game ceremonies was gone when CFL rookieTyron Carrier fielded a punt and returned it 77 yards for a touchdownand a lightning fast 14-0 lead.

The Winnipeg offence would settle down on their next possession however. First, Buck Pierce found veteran receiver Clarence Denamrk down the sidelines for a 45-yard gain before Justin Palardy knocked through a 35-yard field goal to make it 14-3.

It seemed to spark the Blue and Gold. After sacking Calvillo they forced the Als gunslinger to throw a ball into the dirt, however it hit the foot of Bombers DB Brandon Stewart and landed into the hands of sophomore DB Demond Washington who returned the interception down to the Montreal 3 yard line.

Two plays later, the Bombers scored their first major in the stadium when Pierce found WR Chris Matthews open in the endzone for a 3-yard score. Matthews was questionable heading into the contest after sustaining an ankle injury in the week leading up to the opener.

After Montreal conceded a single point, Pierce had another opportunity to put points on the board but rookie Als defensive back Mike Edem hauled in an errant pass which went off Tisdale's hands for the INT.

Edem was the third overall pick in this year’s CFL Draft and earned himself a starting spot at safety out of camp after Kyries Hebert was moved to linebacker.

The turnover eventually set up a 37-yard Sean Whyte field goal.

Whyte added another field goal shortly thereafter when the Als forced Winnipeg RB Chad Simpson to fumble and set up a 35-yarder. The Als took a 20-11 lead with 13 of those points coming off turnovers.

He would add one more at the last play of the half to take a 23-13 lead into the locker room.

Pierce and the Blue Bombers offence came out on fire when the second half began.

First, he hit Canadain Jade Etienne over the middle for a 66-yard catch-and-run – the biggest gain of his career – before finding Denmark with an 8-yard touchdown strike to cut the Montreal lead 23-20.

Pierce helped cut the lead but the special teams helped take it from the Als three plays later.

Washington fielded a punt at his own 30 yard line and seemed to be wrapped up but fought his way through traffic,bounced it outside and raced 79 yards for a touchdown and a 27-23 lead.

The Bombers continued to put points on the board as Pierce leading two consecutive drives ending in field goals to put his team up 33-23 at the end of the third quarter.

Calvillo and the Als got their offence back in gear as the fourth began when Calvillo hooked up with SJ Green - who showed amazing concentration in double coverage – for a 42-yard touchdown to crawl within two points. The touchdown was Calvillo’s 450th of his career.

The next drive produced three more points and the Bombers quick lead had vanished as the Als went up 34-33 off the foot of Whyte.

Calvillo continued to keep the Als in control in the fourth, leading a drive finished off by Whyte kicking a 36-yarder with 1:41 remaining to take a 37-33 lead.

The Bombers had one more shot with just under half a minute left but Pierce threw an interception to Byron Parker - his 30th career pick - to finish off the game.

The two teams will meet again in one week to complete a season-opening home-and-home in Montreal.

Hamilton vs Toronto
Jason Barnes scored two touchdowns while the Argos defence held off a last-second Hamilton surge to defeat the Tiger-Cats 39-34 in front of 29,852 boisterous fans at Rogers Centre.

The two teams met last year on the last game of the regular season and it went down to the wire.

The sequal did not dissapoint.

A back-and-fourth battle where two teams traded punches from the first play of the game to the very last. The Argos took the lead with 2:03 left on a Dontrelle Inman touchdown and DB Jalil Carter preserved the lead by tipping a ball out of the hands of Andy Fantuz on the last play of the game.

Prior to the game, the Argonauts officially unveiled their 100th Grey Cup Championship banner.

The Argos seemed to have picked up right where they left off last November as Ricky Ray engineered a 8-play, 83-yard opening drive finished off by an 8-yard touchdown strike to Jason Barnes to take an early 7-0 lead. Ray was simply in mid-season form going 24 of 34 for 368 yards and 4 touchdowns.

Just a play later, however, rookie Lindsey Lamar shot down any doubt that the Tiger-Cats could be missing something in their return game when he took the ensuing kickoff back 104 yards for a touchdown to tie the game at sevens.

It was a little bit of history for the newcomer as he joined former Ticat Marcus Thigpen as the only player in CFL history to return a touchdown on their first career touch.

After Swayze Waters pulled a 47-yard field goal wide right for a single point, Burris put together an impressive drive of his own with the help of Lamar who put together three strong runs. Burris eventually found RB CJ Gable on busted coverage for the 9-yard touchdown score. The Argonauts sent blitz on the play but Gable got in behind the secondary for the ‘Cats first major of the season.

Gable was one of two tailbacks filling in for sophomore Chevon Walker who was scratched, the other being Lamar.

It only took a two-and-out forced by the Hamilton defence to get another opportunity to get behind the Argonauts defence. With just under a minute left in the first quarter, Burris found Andy Fantuz wide open down the seam for a 64-yard touchdown to take a 21-8 lead.

The Argos secondary had been a point of emphasis for the Boatmen in training camp given some of the personnel changes and early on the Ticats were finding a way to expose the backside of the defence.

With a bit of a hole, the Argonauts turned to their MVP from the last Grey Cup game to get them back in this one. Chad Kackert took a handoff at the beginning of the second quarter, found a hole and raced 57 yards for the majorto cut the Hamilton lead to 21-15.

The Cats answered with a 21-yard field goal before the Argos put up another major. Ray dropped back and found SB Jason Barnes wide open just as he was getting hit for a 73-yard catch and run which brought the large gathering at Rogers Centre to its feet. The TD cut the Ticats to 24-22.

Waters helped the Argos re-gain the lead shortly after with a 47-yard field goal but it was short lived as Burris lead a 6-play, 86-yard drive capped off by a 6-yard pass to Gable for the touchdown. It was his second of the game.

The drive was all wide receiver Greg Ellingson’s as the Florida International product hauled in two huge passes for a combined 60 yards to set the ‘Cats up in the redzone.

Hamilton entered halftime with a 31-25 lead.

The second half did not kickoff on a good note for the Boatmen – literally. Waters went down while kicking off and returned only briefly in the fourth quarter.

The ‘Cats added a 40-yard field goal off the foot of Luca Congi early to extend the lead to 34-25.

With Waters down, an unsung hero stepped up. Spencer Watt caught a 50-yard pass before things became interesting. Without a kicker, the Argos decided to go for it on third down and 6 at the Ticats 20 yard line. Watt would have been designated to kick the field goal but instead he hauled in a 20-yard touchdown pass and added his own convert as well. It put the Argos within two points, 34-32.

Inman took over the punting duties for the remainder of the game.

The sophomore receiver then took hold of the lead when he leaped for a 10-yard touchdown on the Argonauts' next posession to give the Double Blue a 39-34 advantage.

The Argonauts continued to gamble on third down with Waters out but with just over 30 seconds remaining, were forced to kick it on third and long.

Inman punted back to Hamilton and on the strength of a poised Burris marched the 'Cats to the Argos five yard line. With 3 seconds left and the game on the line, Burris lobbed the ball into the endzone for Fantuz but Carter got his hands on the pass to give the Boatmen the victory.

The Argos next matchup is next week against the BC Lions in Vancouver while Hamilton hosts their opener in Guelph against the Edmonton Eskimos.
BC vs Calgary
Jon Cornish put together one of the best performances of his career, rushing for 172 yards and 2 touchdowns, leading the Stamps to a 44-32 win over the BC Lions at McMahon Stadium.
Tonight’s matchup was an emotional one for the city of Calgary, as it marked the first time the Stampeders were able to pay tribute to the victims and first responders of the devastating flood that ravaged the city earlier last week.
And it wouldn’t take long for the home team to give their fans something to finally cheer about.

After last year’s Most Outstanding Canadian Cornish powered his way into BC territory with a few big runs, including a 23-yard gain, QB Drew Tate connected with receiver Maurice Price, who managed to keep his legs in bounds in the back of the endzone, for a 12-yard touchdown.

But Calgary’s hot start didn’t end there.

Still in the first quarter, and with possession after Deron Mayo recovered a BC fumble, an inspired Cornish continued to impose his will on the Lions’ defence, taking a Tate pass 20 yards to the BC 12-yard line.

Two plays later, Tate found Joe West for a touchdown, increasing Calgary’s lead to 14-0.

Cornish admittedly entered Friday night’s contest with the flood victims in his mind, announcing via his Twitter account on Thursday that he would donate $10 for every yard he gains against BC.
While Cornish and Calgary’s offence were having no trouble moving the ball, BC’s was having a difficult time finding their rhythm, as QB Travis Lulay gave up the group’s second turnover of the half, with his pass intended for Emmanuel Arceneaux being picked off by Derrius Brooks.

Moments later, however, the Stamps swung the momentum pendulum slightly back in BC’s favour, as veteran Nik Lewis fumbled only two plays after the interception, giving possession right back to the Lions.

With the score now 16-0 thanks to a conceded safety by kicker Hugh O’Neill, Lulay, only two years removed from being named the league’s MOP, immediately took advantage of the fortunate bounce.

Without blinking an eye, Lulay looked towards Arceneaux again, this time connecting with his new target for a 53-yard touchdown.
The TD marked Arceneaux's first major since returning from a stint in the NFL.

On the ensuing convert, however, holder Tomas DeMarco had trouble with the snap, lifting the ball to turn it around after he initially pointed the laces towards kicker Hugh O’Neill.
DeMarco wasn’t able to correct the spot of the ball quick enough, as O’Neill attempted to put it through the uprights while he was still holding onto it, missing the convert as a result.

Despite their best efforts to regain some momentum, BC’s defence wasn’t able to contain Cornish, Tate and the rest of Calgary’s enthused offence.

Simply put, it was the Jon Cornish show in the first half of Friday night’s contest.

Carrying the ball twice for gains of 16 and 15 yards consecutively, Cornish eventually hit pay dirt, trotting into the endzone untouched from one-yard out, extending BC’s lead to 17 points.

The first half ended with the Stamps up 31-6, with West hauling in his second touchdown of the night, a 14-yard pass from Tate.

Cornish finished the first 30 minutes of action 109 rushing yards and a touchdown, while Tate was also impressive, completing 12 of his 17 passes for 153 yards and three touchdowns.

Lulay, on the other hand, completed 10 of his 18 passes for 150 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

But his lack of numbers may have been a result of some first opening game jitters, as the 29-year-old came out firing to start the third quarter.

Following a quick two-and-out by the Tate and the Stamps, Lulay embarked on a 10-play, 82-yard drive that was capped off by a 17-yard pass to Courtney Taylor for a touchdown.

The five minute-long drive seemed to inject a surge of momentum into the Lions.

On Calgary’s ensuing possession, Tate looked towards veteran Marquay McDaniel, who had the ball tip off his hands and right into the grasp of rookie Cord Parks who promptly returned it 35 yards for a touchdown.

But Cornish was simply too much to handle.
The New Westminster, BC native led the Stamps on a furious charge, bruising his way to rushes of 5, 6, 7 and 7 yards consecutively before finding the endzone on an 11-yard carry, giving the Stamps a 38-21 lead in the process.
Both O'Neill and Stamps kicker Rene Paredes would exchange field goals in the fourth quarter to make it a 41-24 score in favour of the home team.
Paredes would tack on another field goal late in the fourth quarter, which was followed up by a TD grab by Shawn Gore with one second left on the clock to make the final score 44-32 for the Stamps.
Despite the result, Lulay had a solid night throwing for 283 yards and 3 touchdowns. His favourita target was Arceneaux, who finished his night with 3 receptions for 103 yards and a score.
On the defensive side of the ball, Charleston Hughes was a force, collecting three sacks on four tackles. Jonathan Hefney led all players in tackles with 10, in what was his debut in a Stampeders uniform.
Saskatchewan vs Edmonton
Kory Sheets opened the scoring and the Saskatchewan Roughriders never looked back, ending Week 1 in the CFL with a 39-18 win over the Edmonton Eskimos at Commonwealth Stadium.

The Green Riders put four offensive touchdowns on the board while adding one defensive major en route to the convincing win. Sheets finished with 131 yards on 17 carries to accompany his major.

It was newcomer Mike Reilly’s first real opportunity to prove that he is the answer behind centre for the Eskimos following a solid pre-season. Last week in BC, he closed out the exhibition schedule with 202 yards on 13 of 18 passing. Reilly finished 17 of 34 for 259 yards, 1 touchdown and 3 interceptions.
The Riders entered without arguably their biggest off-season acquisition, SB Geroy Simon, who was injured in the club’s second pre-season game. That didn’t stop Darian Durant and the Saskatchewan offence from getting out to a sizzling start however.

On the second play from scrimmage Durant escaped a collapsing pocket and found SB Chris Getzlaf over the middle for a 29-yard gain which eventually set up a 19-yard Sheets scamper as he high-stepped the Riders to an early 7-0 lead. The possession covered 74 yards on 8 plays.

The Riders offence then started to get his whole offence involved, putting together a balanced second drive that featured a 29-yard reception to Getzlaf and a 14-yard run by Sheets before Durant found WR Taj Smith on a crossing pattern for a 13-yard touchdown to cap off a 9-play, 94-yard drive.

Down by 15 following a punt single, the Reilly started to find his footing midway through the second frame.

A 46-yard pass to Fred Stamps followed by a 12-yard quarterback draw set the Eskimos up in Saskatchewan territory but they could only come away with one point after K Grant Shaw pulled a 25-yard field goal attempt wide left and through the back of the endzone.

Reilly showed some of his mobility in the first half, rushing three times for 33 yards but couldn’t seem to string together enough plays to get the Esks in rhythm consistently against a tough Riders defence who came up large on the half’s final play.

With no time left on the clock and the Eskimos in the shadows of their own goal post, Edmonton opted to take a shot down field but Riley forced a throw into the hands of linebacker Rey Williams who ran his interception back 20 yards for a major and a 21-1 halftime lead.

Williams was making his Rider return after being signed as a free agent in the off-season following two years in Hamilton.

The Hofstra product spent his first three seasons in Regina, helping them win a Grey Cup in 2007 in his first season.

The Roughriders refused to cool down at the beginning of the third quarter putting two quick touchdowns on the board to open up a commanding 29-1 lead.

First, Durant connected with WR Weston Dressler for 38 yards before Getzlaf hauled in a 3-yard score.

The quarterback-receiver combo seemed to be on the same page as they connected on three passes for 67 yards.

The Riders forced a fumble on the ensuing kickoff and following a 29-yard Sheets run, added Scott McHenry to the touchdown list who recorded one from five yards.

Stamps tried to grab a bit of momentum for Edmonton on the next possession, taking in a 41-yard pass from Reilly to set up a 40-yard Shaw field goal. A conceded Riders safety made a small dent into the lead at 36-6.

Backup QB Drew Willy took over for the Riders in the fourth quarter with the game all but sealed up and promptly led a drive ending in a Chris Milo field goal.

Reilly would finally connect for his first major of the game when he found Stamps in the endzone for a 19-yard score with 6:07 left to cut the lead to 39-12 (the two-point conversion was no good). The posession spanned 5 plays, 66 yards.

Stamps would finish as the Esks' leading receiver making 5 catches for 106 yards and the touchdown.

The Riders offence indeed came out on fire but their defence and special teams were just as sharp, forcing six turnovers - three interceptions, two fumbles on special teams and one turnover on downs.

Edmonton recovered the ensuing onside kick but the Riders forced a turnover on downs at their own 17 yard line.

Shaw would add two field goals in the final two minutes from 37 and 28 yards out to get the score to its eventual final, 39-18.

The Eskimos will re-group before heading to Guelph to take on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in Week 2, while the Riders will prep for thier home opener against the Calgary Stampeders.