Canadian Football League

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Bombers moving out of last in Canadian Football League West

Slotback Milt Stegall wasn't thinking of himself when he caught his 118th career touchdown during the Blue Bombers' 38-17 win over the East Division-leading Ottawa Renegades on Friday night.
Instead of keeping the ball that moved him past Allen Pitts into third place on the CFL all-time TD list behind Mike Pringle and George Reed (137 each), Stegall tossed the pigskin into the crowd.
"It's really not a big deal to me," said Stegall, 35, whose career total includes 115 TD receptions.
"Somebody was like, 'You didn't want to keep that ball?' It's like, man, my son (nine-month-old Chase) has plenty of balls he can play with. The only ball I plan on saving is that Grey Cup victory ball. That's the only ball I need."
But then Stegall, who has never won a Grey Cup in his 11-year CFL career, added the TD mark was "a great accomplishment," especially in such a dominating win.
The Bombers' second straight victory lifted their record to 3-6, giving them six points and tying them for fourth in the West with Saskatchewan (3-5).
Ottawa, which had a three-game winning streak halted, still tops the East at 5-4.
"Hopefully, it propels us into the second half of the season on a good note," Stegall said.
Winnipeg receiver Chris Brazzell had four catches for 135 yards and two touchdowns and cornerback Omar Evans notched an interception return for a TD. Kicker Troy Westwood booted three field goals (28, 21, 30 yards) and Jon Ryan added a punt single in front of 26,595 fans at Canad Inns Stadium.
Yo Murphy had seven catches for 116 yards and one fourth-quarter touchdown for Ottawa. Placekicker Mark Irvin, replacing injured Matt Kellett (groin), added two field goals from 15 yards out and a 17-yarder. Pat Fleming had a punt single for Ottawa's scoring.
Bomber quarterback Kevin Glenn was 20-of-27 passing for 357 yards, one interception and three TDs. Renegade quarterback Kerry Joseph completed 30 of 42 pass attempts for 311 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions.
"Full marks to (Winnipeg head coach Jim Daley)," Ottawa head coach Joe Paopao said. "They did the things when they had to.
"We got the ball in field position with turnovers and drove the ball down there, but they had the critical stops."
Even though Ottawa racked up 418 yards of net offence compared to Winnipeg's 395, the Bomber defence put up road blocks when it was needed.
It was a display that had Glenn gushing.
"That Ottawa offence was putting up some points against some good defences and our defence came out tonight and they showed that they're among the top when you consider defences," Glenn said.
The Bombers mounted a 20-7 lead at halftime despite a bad beginning.
On Winnipeg's opening drive, Ottawa defensive back Sean Weston forced Bomber receiver Jamie Stoddard to fumble after a catch. It gave the Renegades their league-leading 30th takeway, but the advantage didn't last long.
A Joseph pass bounced off a teammate's hands and Bomber safety Wes Lysack plucked the ball out of the air and returned it 61 yards to Ottawa's 26-yard line.
Winnipeg settled for a Westwood field goal for a 3-0 lead at 4:42 of the first quarter.
With 4:02 left in the first quarter, Stegall grabbed his 25-yard touchdown pass.
Ottawa then did a lot of work to get seven points in the second quarter.
Joseph got his team to Winnipeg's 15-yard line, but only came out with a field goal. Bo Rogers then intercepted a Glenn pass, but the stingy Bomber defence held on and Fleming had a 56-yard punt single.
Irvin and Westwood traded field goals, but with two seconds left in the half, Brazzell reached over a defender and turned in a 75-yard catch-run TD.
Ottawa opened the second half moving to Winnipeg's five-yard line, but the 12-play, 67-yard drive only resulted in another field goal.
Brazzell notched his second TD at 3:48 of the fourth quarter following an interception by cornerback Justin Coleman.
Notes: Charles Roberts moved past Gerry James into fourth place on the Bombers' all-time rushing list with 5,559 yards. . . Ottawa lost four players to injury, including defensive back Greg Moss with a torn elbow and running back Cory Hathaway to a concussion. . .Winnipeg defensive lineman Doug Brown was also sidelined by injury.


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