Sunday, June 21, 2015

Eskimos edge Lions in final pre-season game

 In the final pre-season game of the 2015 season, BC Lions fell short to the Edmonton Eskimos, however, BC fans were relieved to see an impressive first half from quarterback, Travisy Lulay.
With all eyes squarely on the quarterback, Travis Lulay many people were anxious to see how the veteran would play after having a shoulder procedure done last season.
Lulay played the entire first half, passing for 123 yards and completed over 61 per-cent of his passes including passing for a touchdown in the process.
It didn’t take long for everyone to see how fit Lulay was for football activity in a game environment. With the Lions receiving the ball to begin the game, Lulay trotted onto the field. It only took the second play of the game for the pivot to take his first hit and quickly get back to his feet.
By the end of the series, Lulay led the Leos down the field that finished with a 25-yard touchdown catch and run by wide receiver Emmanuel Arceneaux to open up the scoring.
On the Eskimos’ first series they were able to cut the home-sides lead to four. After a first down rush and a pair of receptions, back-to-back plays, the Eskimos had to settle with a 48-yard field goal by Grant Shaw.
Entering the third offensive series, the Lions were still being led by Lulay. It took no time for him to build some chemistry with first-year CFLer Austin Collie.

On the series, he found Collie for the second time in the game for a big gain to put the Lions in field goal territory. The Lions would settle for a 37-yard field goal attempt. However, kicker Richie Leone’s boot sailed wide left and the Eskimos returned it out of their end zone, resulting in zero points.
Quarterback Travis Lulay completed 8-of-13 passes for 121 yards and a touchdown in his pre-season debut.
After a pair of offensive series, Matt Nichols came in to replace Mike Reilly.
At the end of the opening quarter, BC led 7-3.
The Eskimos continued to chip away at the Lions lead. On the second play of the second quarter, Shaw nailed a 41-yard field goal to make the score 7-6 Lions.
After a lengthy drive, that saw the Lions move the chains on three occasions they once again had to settle for a 44-yard field goal attempt by Leone that went wide of the uprights.
Again the Eskimos returned the missed kick out of the end zone.
Leone shook off his early struggles in the kicking department, and booted a long punt that pinned the Eskimos inside their five yard line.
With the Eskimos under the helm of James Franklin, he began deep in Eskimo territory with four minutes to go.
After finding Kenny Stafford for a first down and a pass interference call downfield, the Eskimos continued to march downfield. With time ticking down in the half, Franklin found Stafford for the major to give the Eskimos their first lead in the game, 13-7.
With the first half dwindling down, Lulay led the Lions on their final drive of the half. After a penalty gave the Lions favourable field positon, Lulay found Collie for the third time in the half for another big gain to set up Leone for the 24-yard field goal with only three seconds left in the half, to trim the lead to 13-10.
On the kickoff, the Eskimos had a great return, plus after two Lion penalties on the kickoff it resulted with Shaw having a 28-yard field goal, but missed it resulting in a rouge to end the first half.
The Eskimos went into the half with the 14-10 lead.
To being the second half, Edmonton began with possession. Franklin was able to move the offence down the field thanks to receptions from Adarius Bowman and Kenny Stafford, as well as some timely BC Lion penalties.
Shaw would set up for a 37-yard field goal attempt that once again went wide, settling for a rouge to give the Eskimos a five-point advantage, 15-10.
Jonathan Jennings replaced Travis Lulay as the quarterback to commence the Lions first second half drive.
Another promising drive for the Eskimos stalled, and the kicking struggles continued with Grant Shaw hitting the upright and out from 22-yards out late in the third quarter.
The Eskimos defence was able to shutout the Lions in the third quarter and added a trio of points after Shaw knocked in a field goal from 41 yards out.

Early in the fourth, the teams would trade interceptions. First, Eskimos defensive back Aaron Grymes picked off Jennings and returned it into BC Lions territory.

A few plays later Franklin tried finding a receiver in the end zone, but over threw him and Keynan Parker was able to intercept the ball and halt the Eskimos drive.

Jennings was then able to make up for his earlier interception by leading the Lions down field resulting in an Anthony Fera 49-yard field goal, to cut the deficit to 18-13.

With under five minutes left Greg McGhee came into the game and he made his first completion to Marco Iannuzzi who turned up field for a significant gain and had the Lions knocking on the door.

After deciding to go for it after the three-minute warning, McGhee was sacked by Willie Jefferson resulting in a turnover on downs.
To open the season, Edmonton will travel to Fort McMurray to play the Toronto Argonauts on Saturday, June 27. The BC Lions will start the season on a bye and play their first game in Ottawa on Saturday, July 3.

Stamps edge past Riders thanks to fourth quarter rally

Bryant Moniz rushed for three quarterback sneaks as the Calgary Stampeders rallied past the Saskatchewan Roughriders 37-29 on Friday night at Mosaic Stadium.
Calgary scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to complete the comeback over the Riders. The Stamps had come close to taking the lead throughout the game but the Riders always managed to stay ahead.
Keith Toston’s 14 yard rush to the goal line led to Moniz’s third plunge of the game and put the Stampeders up by eight points. Drew Tate hit Kamar Jorden with a touchdown pass earlier in the quarter to give the Stamps a 30-29 lead, its first of the game.
Tate connected with Lemar Durant to put the Stamps on the goal line on the first play of the final frame before Moniz rushed in his second score of the game.
Kevin Glenn took over duties under centre from Darian Durant halfway through the third quarter and connected with Alex Carroll on a 21 yard touchdown to go up 26-16. On the last play of the third quarter, Adam Berger recovered a fumble for the Stamps deep in Riders’ territory to threaten the lead that Saskatchewan would carry into the fourth quarter. An O’Neill field goal would put the Riders back up by six.
Saskatchewan kept many of its starters in the game at the beginning of the second half. After Darian Durant led the Riders downfield, the team set up Hugh O’Neill for a field goal attempt. However, the Riders ended up missing a player in the kicking unit and were forced to take a delay of game penalty. That would prove costly as O’Neill ended up missing the now 47 yard attempt.
Tate, the trusty backup quarterback for Calgary, started the second half for the Stamps. He connected on a series of passes, including a 25 yard missile to Lemar Durant. Tyler Crapigna would cap the first drive of the second half with a 31 yard chip shot to reduce the Riders’ lead to only three.
The teams saved much of the scoring action for the first half as the starters would watch the rest of the game from the sidelines after 30 minutes.
Nic Demski took the majority of kick returns for the Riders, a role he could be primarily featured in for Saskatchewan this year. After Rene Parades missed a 50 yard field goal attempt, Demski returned the ball all the way to the 38 yard line to put Durant in good position to try to extend the lead. He would then prove to the hometown fans that he is not worried about taking a hit, going head first on an 11 yard rush. A few plays later, he was intercepted by Jeff Hecht. The Stamps were able to squeeze in a 51 yard field goal as the first half clock ticked down and headed to the locker room in a 19-13 hole.
Bo Levi Mitchell did not start the game on a good note as he threw an interception to Jeff Knox on his second play of the Stamps’ opening drive that put the Riders in great field position early on. Durant would connect with Rob Bagg on a 34 yard pass before Chris Getzlaf hauled in an 11 yard score. On the point after attempt, the ball slipped through Weston Dressler’s hands and the Riders failed to add an extra point to their early lead.
Jeff Knox intercepted Bo Levi Mitchell on the Stamps' opening drive.
The second drive for Mitchell would turn out much better, connecting with Joe West on a 52 yard completion. Moniz would come in under centre for Calgary for a play before Mitchell replaced him to continue the drive. He wouldn’t be able to get the Stamps any further than the 14 yard line where Rene Parades hit a field goal to cut Saskatchewan’s lead in half, 6-3.
After a pass interference call brought the Riders to the goal line at the beginning of the second quarter, Brett Smith’s number was called at pivot and he delivered by diving into the end zone for the second Saskatchewan touchdown of the game to go up 13-3.
Following the score by Smith, Sederrick Cunningham would return the ball 72 yards to shorten the field for Calgary. Jon Cornish would plow through the Riders defence to the goal line but was stopped before being able to score. Moniz would then make his second appearance and complete the drive of rushes by punching it in for Calgary to shorten the Riders lead to only a field goal.
The Riders would rely heavily on Anthony Allen during a drive in the second quarter, going to him on three straight plays but he did not make much headway. Chris Milo connected on his second 47 yard kick to cut the deficit to just six.
Mitchell had a bit of a miscommunication with his running back that resulted in him having to rush the ball. He was tackled and lost the football to Riders newcomer Shea Emry, who recovered the fumble for another Riders start in good field position. The offence could only muster a field goal to extend the Saskatchewan lead.
Kickoff at Mosaic Stadium was briefly delayed for approximately 15 minutes following a light hail storm around the stadium.
It was the first pre-season game for Weston Dressler, who caught three passes for 34 yards.

Collaros, Holley pace Ticats over Bombers

 A strong combined first half performance by Zach Collaros and Ray Holley helped lead the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to a 26-15 win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in pre-season action on Friday at Investors Group Field.
Collaros threw for 183 yards on 14 of 17 passing with one touchdown before being taken out at the end of the second quarter. It was the first time that he played this pre-season.
Rookie running back Holley had an equally impressive showing with 37 rushing yards on eight carries and scored one touchdown. Ticats kicker Justin Medlock was perfect on four field goal atempts and two extra points to contribute the majority of the Ticats' scoring. 
Drew Willy went 11-for-17 for 142 yards in a losing effort while Paris Cotton scored the team's only touchdown.
The Tiger-Cats opened the scoring early on their first drive of the game with a 15-yard play from Collaros to Bakari Grant at 1:24 for a touchdown. The match marks the end of the pre-season for both teams.
But the Bombers were quick to respond. A 45-yard play from Drew Willy to Clarence Denmark would place the bombers at the Tiger-Cats 23 yard line. The Bombers progressed down the field, which led to a handoff to Cameron Marshall for a 1-yard touchdown with 8:32 left in the quarter to tie the game.
Tiger-Cats kicker Medlock notched a 49-yard field goal near the end of the quarter to put the Tiger-Cats up 10-7 at the end of the first.
The second quarter was dominated by the Black and Gold. A first down from Holley led to Medlock’s second field goal of the game from 19 yards out. Holley continued his impressive first half with an 8-yard touchdown to end the second quarter 20-7.
Jeremiah Masoli went into the third quarter for Hamilton and struggled throughout the half, completing only 6 of 15 passes. Medlock’s 21-yard field goal in the third was the only the scoring in the quarter and extended Hamilton’s lead 23-7.
But the Bombers did not go down without a fight.  
Cotton’s two-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter cut the deficit to 23-13 after the conversion failed.  Medlock then added his final field goal of the night while the Bombers added a late safety. 
But that was as close at the Bombers would get.
Bombers running back Carlos Anderson left with an injury early in the first quarter and did not return. Bombers rookie receiver Addison Richards also left the game and did not return.
The Tiger-Cats open their season on on June 26 with a Grey Cup rematch against the Calgary Stampeders. The Bombers meanwhile kick off their campaign on June 27 in a rivalry match against the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Justin Medlock provided most of the Ticats' offense by connecting on all four field goal tries and two converts.

Key Takeaways: Two defensive TDs pull Boatmen past Als

 The Toronto Argonauts defence forced five turnovers, two for touchdowns, as they finished the pre-season with a decisive 30-10 win over the Montreal Alouettes Thursday night at Percival Molson Stadium.
A secondary still looking for the right blend of starters as the regular season nears found its footing, picking off three passes, two of which were taken back for touchdowns in the second quarter.

Similar to last win over Ottawa, Montreal opened the game with Jonathan Crompton under centre and most of the starting offence with him. Included in that group was a pair of veterans who were picked up in the offseason, Nik Lewis and Fred Stamps. 
Crompton had instant field position to start the game following a big return by another veteran pickup, Stefan Logan, who took the opening kickoff back 55 yards. A 10-yard run by RB Brandon Whitker and 33-yard reception by Cody Hoffman allowed Crompton to hand the ball off to Johnathan Bryant on 3-rd-and-goal as he took the fly sweep one yard in for the opening drive major.  
The Argos gave the start to Trevor Harris once again who will take on that role for the foreseeable future with Ricky Ray placed on the 6-game injured list earlier in the week.
Harris had a solid first possession, mixing up the pass and run and relying on rookie tailback Henry Josey, who’s carry of 10 yards and reception of 14 help set up a 42-yard Swayze Waters field goal.
Josey is vying for that secondary tailback spot which may quickly become a starting role after Curtis Steele was banged up in practice this past week and was listed as “questionable” for Week 1 by head coach Scott Milanovich.
After an impressive opening drive, Crompton quickly got contained by an active Argos defence. A forced two-and-out was sandwiched between two interceptions by Crompton which not only put Toronto back in the game, gave them the lead.
On Crompton’s last pass, his toss was jumped by Indiana grad DB Akwasi Owusu-Ansah who took the interception 40 yards to the house for a touchdown.
After the Argos added a field goal on their next drive, the Argos secondary once again put points on the board. This time it was Dan LeFevour who entered the game with 7:29 remaining for his first reps as a Montreal Alouette after spending his first two seasons in Hamilton.
LeFevour dropped back on his third attempt of the game, spotted a familiar target in former Ticat Sam Giguere but the veteran receiver couldn’t squeeze the pigskin and his drop fell into the hands of Argos DB Brandon Smith whose 29-yard interception return TD put the Boatmen up 20-7 before half.
The Alouettes had an opportunity to cut into the lead when they took over possession at the Argos 33 yard line following an Andre Durie fumble. LeFevour completed passes to Giguere and Dobson Collins but failed to convert a third-down-and-goal when his toss was dropped by Hoffman, sending Montreal to the locker room down by 15.
Quarterback Trevor Harris will lead the Argos into the regular season with Ricky Ray on the mend.  
In one half of play, Harris completed 10 of 12 passes for 98 yards with no TDs or INTs ... View more Stats

Both starting quarterbacks were done for the day after the first half. Harris finished 10 of 12 for 98 yards, no TD or interceptions. Crompton was 5 of 10 for 71 yards with no touchdowns and 2 interceptions.

The Argonauts went into halftime with a comfortable lead and continued to roll form the opening kickoff of the third frame. Diontae Spencer, out of McNese State, started things off by taking the boot 50 yards, net 65 following a major foul on Giguere. Mitchell Gale entered the game under centre with prime field position, completed a pari of passes, ran for a first down and then finished the drive where it started, in the hands of Spencer who hauled in a 7-yard touchdown pass. A two-point conversion from Gale to Lyle McCoombs put the Argos up 30-7.
The news wasn’t all positive for Toronto however, as two plays before the major, fullback/tight end Zander Robinson took a hit from Montreal DB Cliff Coleman and had to be carried off the field as he appeared to favour his knee.
The rest of the quarter finished up without incident but it did see QB Brandon Bridge enter for the Alouettes. The Canadian pivot only completed 4 of 8 passes last week vs. Ottawa but took command of the Montreal offence in his first game of pro ball.

Adrian McPherson closed out the fourth quarter for the Argonauts off only a few days in their camp and making his debut in the only other place he saw regular season action.

Each club finished the pre-season 1-1.
Both teams will take a few days to evaluate before making final cuts on Saturday.