Sunday, June 2, 2019

MEDLOCK KICKS BOMBERS TO PRE-SEASON WIN

Justin Medlock kicked two field goals and Mexican Gabriel Amavizca-Ortiz added another, leading the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to a 20-3 pre-season win over the Edmonton Eskimos Friday night at IG Field.
Bryan Bennett connected with Winnipeg native Dylan Schrot for a 48-yard touchdown to cement the Bombers’ victory late in the fourth quarter, outlasting the Eskimos in a defensive battle on a night when many starters on both sides didn’t play, including quarterbacks Matt Nichols and Trevor Harris.
Backup pivot Chris Streveler got the start for the Blue and Gold, though the focus was on the battle for the third-string job between Bennett and Sean McGuire. Star running back Andrew Harris did play for the hometown faithful, though his time in the game was short-lived, finishing in the first quarter with five yards on three carries.
Eskimos starting quarterback Logan Kilgore completed 10 of 19 passes for 109 yards, but failed to find the end zone and also fumbled at the goal line in his bid to win the second-string quarterback job.
Danny O’Brien and Jeremiah Briscoe also played for Esks, who wrapped up their pre-season with a 1-1 record and will now look forward to their regular season opener on June 14 vs. Montreal.
Bombers receiver Kenny Lawler had a game-high 52 yards on four catches, while former Manitoba Bison Shai Ross had a 75-yard kick return for the Eskimos in a game mostly devoid of offence.
After back-to-back incompletions and a two-and-out, Streveler got the Bombers moving his second time on the field with a 26-yard scramble, setting up a 46-yard field goal from Medlock and a 3-0 Winnipeg lead.
Streveler’s day finished early, as the dual-threat quarterback would exit the game after two of six passing attempts for 15 yards in addition to 34 rushing yards. Bennett took over early in the second quarter as the battle for the third string job continued.
Held without a catch in his Eskimos debut on Sunday, free agent signing DaVaris Daniels finally got involved late in the first quarter, connecting with Kilgore on a 20-yard pickup. But as the Esks threatened to score, the drive froze abruptly when Kilgore fumbled the quarterback sneak, turning the ball over at the Winnipeg goal line.
While Medlock’s second field goal of the night put the Bombers in front 6-0, the Eskimos’ competition for the backup quarterback job continued as Kilgore and O’Brien swapped possessions.
Down 8-0 after conceding a safety, the Eskimos threatened again in the waning moments of the first half thanks to Canadian receiver Tevaun Smith‘s second catch of the game. They’d eventually be forced to punt, but the return was muffed and recovered by long snapper Ryan King, setting the Eskimos up inside the red zone.
However, Kilgore’s fourth straight incompletion forced Sean Whyte onto the field, resulting in a 19-yard field goal to get the Eskimos on the board, closing out the first half.
While Bennett and McGuire went back and forth for the Bombers into the third, the Eskimos changed quarterbacks after the half, putting O’Brien back in the game. But neither offence could get things going, with the visiting Esks forced to concede another safety, extending Winnipeg’s lead to 10-3.
Global kicker and Mexican Amavizca-Ortiz added another three-pointer for the Bombers from 36 yards out, followed by 2019 draft pick Ross’ electrifying 75-yard return for the Eskimos. But with O’Brien still under centre and the Esks trailing by 10, Head Coach Jason Maas opted to gamble on third-and-four, and O’Brien’s pass to Bryce Bobo fell incomplete.
Briscoe entered the game for the Eskimos in the fourth but failed to get much going, while the Bombers put the game away in the final few minutes when Bennett connected with Schrot for a 48-yard touchdown, extending their lead to 20-3.
Eskimos receiver Anthony Parker suffered a non-contact injury in the second quarter and needed to be helped off the field. Parker was competing for a job with a number of fellow Canadian pass-catchers.
While the Esks get ready for their regular season opener with Montreal, the Bombers are scheduled to play their pre-season finale against the Roughriders on June 6 for one final dress rehearsal. After that it’s on to BC to open the regular season on June 15.

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