Canadian Football League

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Canadian Football League east division rivals battle for top spot

It was a wacky and wonderful CFL debut for Byron Parker.
The Argos rookie defensive back, who started playing football just two years ago when he made the Tulane college team as a walk-on, lined up as a receiver on one play and caught a 42-yard touchdown pass from Damon Allen, helping Toronto beat the Montreal Alouettes 36-24.
"Oh man, it's a blessing," Parker said after scoring his first touchdown in his short football history. "First pro touchdown, it's amazing. It was a lot of fun. I really, really enjoyed it. I guess the coaches have a lot of faith in me, which I appreciate.
Parker, a basketball standout in college and the 2003 NCAA slam dunk champion, dressed as a backup defensive back last night, but had taken some reps as a receiver in practice.
Lined up against Als linebacker Duane Butler on the big play late in the first half last night, the speedy Parker blew by Butler and caught the well-thrown ball.
"(Offensive co-ordinator) Kent Austin said if I'm against a linebacker, I should be licking my chops," said Parker, who attended training camp with the Jacksonville Jaguars last year. "Once I saw him line up out there, I was like 'Oh, I'm gone.' "
Coach Pinball Clemons gave Austin credit for calling the play.
"I actually drew up the play earlier in the week, but I didn't decide to make it happen," he said. "I came up with the idea with coach Austin and he refined it and he chose the time to call it and execute it. Damon executed it perfectly."
Parker, meanwhile, doesn't care where he plays.
"I'm working on defence, but whatever I can do to help the team (is what he wants to do)," he said.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Canadian Football League players of the week

Winnipeg Blue Bombers running back Charles Roberts and offensive lineman Mike Abou-Mechrek were among those selected as this week's top players in the CFL.

Roberts was named Offensive Player of the Week after rushing for 195 yards on 20 carries with two touchdowns in his team's 51-46 triumph over the Montreal Alouettes. Abou-Mechrek, meanwhile, garnered the Lineman of the Week award, as he helped lead a Bombers line that allowed Winnipeg to produce three rushing touchdowns. Calgary Stampeders linebacker George White took home defensive honors following his six tackle performance in a 44-18 win over Saskatchewan. White also recovered a fumble in his team's lopsided victory. Tony Tompkins of the Edmonton Eskimos was the Special Teams Player of the Week thanks in part to his 96-yard touchdown return in a 29-21 win over Ottawa. Hopkins returned eight punts for 205 yards, while returning two kickoffs for 54 yards.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Cats to sign veteran Canadian Football League QB

After four straight losses, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats are going to take a look at another quarterback.
Two sources requesting anonymity told The Canadian Press on Monday night that the Ticats have reached an agreement with Khari Jones and will sign the veteran free agent Tuesday. The five-foot-11, 217-pound Jones hasn't played in a regular-season game since last season. He was at the Edmonton Eskimos' training camp but was among their final cuts last month.
Hamilton (0-4) is the CFL's lone remaining winless team. The Ticats were on the losing end of a 28-22 decision to the unbeaten B.C. Lions (4-0) on Saturday night.
The Ticats are in Edmonton on Saturday to face the Eskimos (4-1).
A big reason for the Ticats' struggles is a lack of consistency on offence, especially at the quarterback position. Veteran starter Danny McManus has completed just 70-of-139 passes (50.4 per cent) for 832 yards with just one touchdown pass against six interceptions.

McManus, 40, was 16-of-32 passing against the Lions with no touchdowns and two interceptions.
The arrival of Jones could spell the end of the line for youngster Marcus Brady in Hamilton. The Ticats decision to add Jones is a clear sign they doubt Brady's ability to become an everyday starter.
Jones, 34, split the 2004 season between Winnipeg and Calgary.
He appeared in 11 games with the Bombers, completing 168-of-300 passes for 2,138 yards with seven touchdowns and eight interceptions before being dealt to the Stamps in September with fullback Randy Bowles and a 2006 draft pick for safety Wes Lysack, fullback Scott Regimbald and defensive lineman Joe Fleming.
In four games with Calgary, the eight-year CFL veteran was 39-of-67 passing for 573 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions before being released in the off-season.
Jones subsequently signed with Edmonton and was expected to battle Jason Maas for the starting job but was relegated to No. 3 on the depth chart when the Eskimos re-signed Ricky Ray after he was cut by the NFL's New York Jets.
Jones was the CFL's outstanding player in 2001 with Winnipeg after passing for 4,545 yards with 30 touchdowns. He was even better the next year, registering a career-high 5,334 yards through the air with 46 TD strikes but his production has dropped off progressively each year since

Sunday, July 24, 2005

B.C. still undefeated in Canadian Football League

There were five lead changes, but when the final whistle blew the B.C. Lions were still undefeated and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats winless.
B.C. trailed by nine in the second quarter before piecing together a comeback and taking the lead for good late in the third in a 28-22 victory over Hamilton on Saturday night.
The Lions improved to 4-0, while the Ticats fell to 0-4.
''I felt like we definitely had a war and a battle,'' said B.C. quarterback Dave Dickenson, who completed 26 of 34 passes for 313 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. ''They played hard and actually played well all year long ... I thought the game didn't go smoothly, but when we needed to, we stepped up and made plays.

''We're battling. I don't feel like we're clicking and putting it to many teams, but we've had to come back and win some games. We feel all the tools are there and to be 4-0 it's definitely a great start.''

B.C. kicker Duncan O'Mahony was successful on all four of his field goal attempts from 17, 29, 36 and 45 yards out. Jamie Boreham was 5-for-5 for Hamilton, hitting from 46, 25, 24, 33 and 18 yards.
Jason Clermont and Paris Jackson scored touchdowns for the Lions on 20- and 12-yard passes, respectively.
Troy Davis scored Hamilton's lone touchdown with a two-yard run.
Danny McManus completed 16 of 32 passes for 221 yards, two interceptions and no touchdowns in front of 27,692 at Ivor Wynne Stadium.
''I think we have to play at a higher level,'' said Lions head coach Wally Buono. ''When we play the teams with a lot of fire power, we can't be sputtering as much as we're sputtering right now.''
Hamilton coach Greg Marshall gave much of the credit to Dickenson.
''Dave Dickenson is as good as it gets,'' he said. ''He (can be) stopped for a while, but he'll find a way. He's very smart and a tough competitor. I think that's probably the biggest (reason for the win).''
When asked how his team can rebound from such a dismal start, Marshall responded: ''Just keep pulling the trigger. Don't get down. It's hard.''
O'Mahony hit a 36-yard field goal midway through the third to pull B.C. to within 19-16 and the Lions took a 23-19 lead with 3:38 left in the quarter when Dickenson hit Jackson wide right for a touchdown. The TD was set up by Mark Washington's interception and 39-yard return to the Hamilton nine-yard line. A Lions penalty on the play moved the ball back to the 24.
Boreham's 18-yarder pulled the Ticats to 23-22 to start the fourth quarter.
Rob Hitchcock stripped the ball from B.C.'s Antonio Warren and Chris Martin recovered it at the Hamilton 14-yard line. But the Ticats couldn't capitalize on the turnover and Boreham ended up conceding a safety on the punt as B.C. went up 25-22 with seven minutes left.
O'Mahony hit a 45-yard field goal attempt with 54 seconds left to make it 28-22, and then Sam Young intercepted a McManus pass at the B.C. 28-yard line to seal the victory.
The Ticats were up 19-13 at the half, due mostly to Boreham's four field goals. Two of them came after Hamilton's D.J. Flick had touchdown receptions called back on his own penalties.
Late in the first quarter, a 26-yard pass from McManus to Flick was called back when the receiver was offside. Midway through the second quarter, a seven-yard touchdown pass was nullified when Flick was nabbed for pushing off Dante Marsh.
Davis finally scored for the Ticats on a two-yard jump over the top of the pile with less than a minute left in the half, set up by Jason Goss' 40-yard interception return to the B.C. 25-yard line three plays earlier.
Clermont caught a 20-yard pass from Dickenson in the first quarter for a 7-3 B.C. lead and O'Mahony hit from 17 yards out with five minutes left in the half and then from 29 yards out with two seconds left.