Tuesday, May 28, 2019

ESKIMOS TOP LIONS IN PRE-SEASON OPENER

On a sunny day at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, the CFL’s 2019 pre-season schedule opened with a tilt between the Edmonton Eskimos and BC Lions.
It was the Eskimos who took the opening game of the season, defeating the Lions 22-7. Edmonton grabbed the lead in the second quarter and never surrendered it for the rest of the contest.
The home team began the game with almost all of their starting offence, including quarterback Trevor Harris, receivers Greg Ellingson and DaVaris Daniels and running back C.J. Gable. While the Lions left their starters, including prized off-season pick up Mike Reilly, in BC.
Harris played just a quarter in his Eskimos debut, finishing 8/12 for 50 yards. Logan Kilgore, Danny O’Brien and Jeremiah Briscoe split time under centre for the rest of the game.
Receiver Shakeir Ryan scored the lone touchdown for the Lions, returning a punt 63 yards for the score in the first quarter. After that score for BC, Edmonton’s defence held the Lions off the scoreboard for the second, third and fourth quarters.
The first play of the game on Sunday afternoon didn’t go how the BC Lions had hoped. Quarterback Ricky Lloyd’s first toss of the game went right to Edmonton linebacker Don Unamba, who almost took the interception all the way to the house.
BC’s defence bailed their pivot out of trouble, however, stopping the Esks’ drive that started on the Lions’ 11-yard line, and held the home team to just a field goal. The Eskimos went up 3-0 early in the contest at Commonwealth Stadium.
After the teams traded possessions without any scoring, the Lions responded with a special teams touchdown from Shakeir Ryan, with just over seven minutes left in the first quarter. Ryan took a Hugh O’Neill punt 63 yards all the way to the end zone. With kicker Anthony Alix‘s point-after, BC took a 7-3 lead.
The BC Lions swapped out their quarterback, subbing in Austin Apodaca for Lloyd, on the team’s first drive of the second quarter.
The Esks began to take out their starters and Danny O’Brien took over for Harris midway through the second quarter. Harris finished the day 8/12 passing for 50 yards. While the starting receivers stayed in the game, former Western Mustang Alex Taylor took over for Gable in the backfield.
Quarterback Logan Kilgore took over the next possession for Edmonton. A defensive pass interference call against the Lions brought Kilgore and the Esks down to the Lions’ two-yard line. After a one-yard run from Taylor, Kilgore snuck in for the one-yard score, and along with Sean Whyte‘s convert, Edmonton took a 10-7 lead.
The Eskimos continued to change up their pivots, as O’Brien took over on the next drive. An excellent punt return from Josh Stangby, and a horse collar tackle penalty, had the Esks starting their drive at the Lions five-yard line. But it was the BC Lions defence holding strong once again, not allowing the home team to plunge in for the score on the one-yard line, and forcing a turnover on downs.
Adding in a safety, Edmonton held a 12-7 lead at the half.
The first score of the second half was in the hands of the home team. Whyte kicked a 27-yard field goal to add to the his team’s lead midway through the third quarter (15-7).
The Eskimos continued to impress in their home stadium, adding a touchdown late in the third. It was Canadian receiver Tevaun Smith hauling in a 12-yard bomb from Kilgore in the end zone. After Whyte’s complete convert, Edmonton took a 22-7 lead.
That would be the final scoring play of the afternoon as the green and gold nabbed their first win of the pre-season.
Edmonton will play their second and final pre-season tilt against the Blue Bombers in Winnipeg next week while the Lions have a week off before they host the reigning Grey Cup champions, Calgary Stampeders.

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