Canadian Football League

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Stamps win part two of Canadian Football League home and home series

Backup quarterback Jason Gesser didn't get to play much but the CFL rookie was on the field long enough to engineer the only Calgary touchdown in a 16-11 victory over the sluggish Eskimos on Friday night.
With starter Henry Burris off getting his left wrist taped, Gesser came in for one series. The 27-year-old Hawaiian found Ken-Yon Rambo, who deked up the middle of the field for a 30-yard score early in the second quarter.
The TD helped the Stampeders take a 13-3 lead by halftime and the defence did the rest in front of 42,654 rain-soaked fans at Commonwealth Stadium.
Calgary (5-6) had lost 25-23 at home against the Eskimos on Monday but won this one in coach Tom Higgins' first game at Commonwealth since the 2004 West Division semifinal when he coached Edmonton in a 14-6 loss to Saskatchewan that basically cost him his job.
The Eskimos (7-4) lost at home for only the second time this season.
This one was a flagfest: there were 29 penalties for 216 yards.
Eskimos quarterback Ricky Ray was rushed relentlessly on the wet grass and had three passes intercepted in the first half - a pair by cornerback Nate Terry, who had returns of 63 and 50 yards, and one by defensive tackle Randy Chevrier, who played with Edmonton in 2002 and 2003.
Ray was turned upside down after a hit from linebacker Scott Coe on a drive to open the fourth quarter and three plays later lobbed an unsuccessful pass in triple coverage for wide receiver Jason Tucker in the end zone.
Tucker went over 1,000 yards for the season with a 23-yard reception with less than two minutes left and then snagged a 31-yard score out of the air from Ray in double coverage with 30 seconds remaining for the final points of the game.
The Stampeders got 23-and 16-yard field goals from Sandro DeAngelis in the first half, and a 38-yarder in the third quarter. He missed from 41 and 30 yards.
Calgary linebacker John Grace, who was named defensive player of the week after three sacks of Ray on Monday, was injured in the fourth quarter.
Hayden Epstein, who assumed both the Eskimos kicking and punting duties ahead of 14-season veteran Sean Fleming for the second straight game, had a 21-yard field goal in the first quarter for Edmonton. He missed from 41 yards in the third quarter before nailing a 63-yard punt single in the fourth.
Higgins worked 11 seasons in various capacities and took the Eskimos to back-to-back Grey Cups, winning in 2003 when he was also named CFL coach of the year. He officially resigned last off-season and signed with Calgary.
Notes: Edmonton debuted bright yellow third jerseys . . . The Eskimos gave one dollar
from each of the 30,000 pairs of gold-coloured Alberta Centennial thundersticks to the victims of hurricane Katrina . . . The team's meet again Nov. 6 in Calgary . . . The two largest crowds in club history were recorded in Labour Day-week games - 62,444 in 2003 and 61,481 in 2002 - but this season the Eskimos delayed their annual giving of ticket vouchers to local schools until the Sept. 24. game against the first-place BC Lions.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Lions still on top of Canadian Football League

Dave Dickenson threw for 262 yards and two touchdowns and Ryan Thelwell caught two touchdown passes as British Columbia rocked Ottawa 61-27 on Thursday night.

Duncan O'Mahony added five field goals for the Lions (10-0) who remained undefeated on the season. Geroy Simon also caught a touchdown pass for British Columbia and Thelwell ended with 156 receiving yards to compliment his two touchdown catches.
Josh Ranek posted 125 rushing yards on 23 carries with three rushing touchdowns for the Renegades (5-6), who turned the ball over six times in the contest. Kerry Joseph finished the game 10-of-22 passing with 175 yards and three interceptions.
British Columbia's first points came off a blocked punt as Barron Miles took it 15 yards to put the Lions up 7-0 with 13:22 remaining in the first.
Ottawa answered with just over ten minutes left in the first when Matt Kellett's kicked a 20-yard field goal to make it a 7-3 game.
British Columbia took an 8-3 lead into the second quarter and upped it to 10-3 after Ottawa punter Matt Kellett conceded in end zone to give the Lions a safety and a 10-3 edge.
The Lions padded their lead to 13-3 after a 44-yard field goal by O'Mahony with 9:28 remaining in the second quarter.
British Columbia continued to pour it on in the second after a 91-yard punt return by Aaron Lockett put the Lions up 20-3. Lockett recorded six punt returns in the game for 170 yards.
Finally, with 41 seconds left in the half, the Renegades got back on the board after an 18-yard field goal by Kellett made it 20-6 but the Lions responded when O'Mahony kicked a 34-yard field goal as time expired in the first half.
The Lions opened up the third quarter with a 42-yard pass from Dickenson to Simon. Less then two minutes later, Dickenson found Thelwell on a 61-yard bomb to put British Columbia up 37-6.
Two consecutive field goals by O'Mahony put the Lions up 43-6.
A 13-yard run by Ranek with 44 seconds left in the third made it a 43-13 game but again, British Columbia answered when Buck Pierce hit Thelwell for a 54- yard touchdown pass just 32 seconds into the fourth quarter, putting the Lions up 50-13.
O'Mahony added his fifth field goal in the fourth quarter, this one a 15 yard kick, putting the Lions up by 40 points. The Lions then added a 66-yard single and a 40-yard interception touchdown return by Sam Young to go up 61-13.
Ranek ended the game for Ottawa by scoring two consecutive touchdowns, the first one a 14-yard touchdown run with 2:23 left in the game. His second came with just 56 seconds left as he dashed 12 yards for his third touchdown of the game, making it a 61-27 contest.NOTES:The Lions have now won 13 straight regular season games...Ottawa managed 19 first downs compared to British Columbia's 18...The Lions hasd 455 yards of total offense...Ranek also caught three balls for 45 yards...Lockett returned three kickoffs for 102 yards...Antonio Warren rushed for 49 yards of 14 carries.

Canadian Football League Players Of The Week

Saskatchewan Roughrider running backs Kenton Keith and Corey Holmes were among those named CFL Players of the Week for their efforts during Week 11.
Kenton garnered offensive honors after his 170-yard, two touchdown performance in his team's 45-26 rout of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Keith, who also caught two passes for 21 yards, reeled off a 75-yard TD run in the victory - the longest run in the CFL this season.
Holmes, meanwhile, was rewarded for the fourth time this year as the league's top special teams player. In Sunday's win, Holmes returned one kickoff for 59 yards and four punts for 129 yards, including an 89-yard return for a touchdown.
Capturing the Defensive Player of the Week was Calgary linebacker John Grace, who had three sacks in his team's 25-23 setback to Edmonton on Monday. Grace also had two individual tackles - one for a loss - as well as a special teams stop.
Hamilton defensive end James Cotton was the league's top lineman this past week, as he recorded three tackles and an interception in the Ti-Cats' 33-30 win over the Toronto Argonauts on Monday.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Tiger-Cats knock off Canadian Football League Champs

Jamie Boreham's 43-yard field goal with 1:54 to play in the fourth quarter lifted the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to a 33-30 win over the Toronto Argonauts.

James Cotton returned an interception 17 yards for a score for the Tiger-Cats (2-8), who beat Toronto for the first time since Labor Day in 2002. It also marked Hamilton's second straight victory after a disastrous start to the season.
Damon Allen completed 18-of-34 passes for 237 yards and two scores, but was picked off twice for the Argos (6-4), who had a two-game win streak broken.
Danny McManus connected on 22-of-33 passes for 198 yards and a touchdown for Hamilton.
A three-yard TD run by Julian Radlein gave the Tiger-Cats a 9-3 lead in the second quarter, but Allen hit Arland Bruce from 22 yards out to put Toronto back on top.
A 17-yard strike from McManus to David Flick gave Hamilton a 16-10 advantage before a 47-yard field goal by Noel Prefontaine brought Toronto within three.
John Avery scored from a yard out for Toronto in the third, but Khari Jones scored from one yard later in the period to make it 23-20.
Prefontaine's 27-yard field goal early in the fourth tied the game, but Cotton picked off a screen pass thrown by Allen with 7:29 left to put Hamilton back on top.
Allen found Tony Miles from 27 yards out with 4:11 left to tie the game before Boreham's kick.
Allen tried to rally his team in the closing seconds, but he was sacked and fumbled on the same play. Toronto recovered, but Allen couldn't lead his team close enough and the Argos turned the ball over on downs.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Riders win first of Canadian Football League home and home series with Bombers

Kenton Keith ran for 170 yards and two fourth-quarter touchdowns as the Saskatchewan Roughriders outgunned the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 45-26 in CFL action Sunday.
Saskatchewan (4-6) snapped a five-game losing streak and moved into a third-place tie in the West Division with the Calgary Stampeders (4-5), who host the Edmonton Eskimos on Monday.
Keith, who carried 17 times and boosted his season rushing total to 556 yards, scored on a two-yard dive at 5:39 of the final quarter and added a 75-yard dash up the middle at 9:07 that clinched the victory.
Marcus Crandell, a surprise starter at quarterback for Saskatchewan as Nealon Greene remained on the sidelines, completed 20 of 35 passes for 248 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions.
Winnipeg's Kevin Glenn was 16-of-38 for 310 yards with two interceptions. He threw three touchdown passes for the fourth consecutive game.
Corey Holmes, who returned the opening kickoff for an 81-yard touchdown when the teams first met on June 25, put the Roughriders ahead with an 89-yard punt return for a major at 5:59 of the first quarter.
Saskatchewan expanded the lead to 14-0 at 9:16 of the second quarter when Crandell completed a 16-yard scoring pass to Elijah Thurmon.
Winnipeg responded 54 seconds later when Glenn found Milt Stegall on a short post pattern that turned into a 68-yard scoring pass. Stegall's touchdown gave him the all-time CFL lead in career touchdown receptions with 118, one more than former Calgary Stampeders star Allen Pitts.
Troy Westwood's convert and 94-yard single on the subsequent kickoff narrowed the gap to 14-8. Saskatchewan kicker Paul McCallum added a 33-yard field goal at 14:57 to give the Roughriders a 17-8 halftime lead.
Both teams scored a pair of majors in an entertaining third quarter. Glenn threw scoring passes of 41 and 22 yards to Chris Brazzell and Stegall respectively. Saskatchewan countered with running scores of one and four yards by Crandell and Chris Szarka respectively to lead 31-22 after three quarters.
Westwood booted a 42-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter but the Roughriders replied with an efficient nine-play, 72-yard drive culminating in Keith's two-yard touchdown dive.
The teams meet again Saturday night in Winnipeg.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Stegall hopes to set Canadian Football League record

If Milt Stegall catches the touchdown pass he needs to become the CFL's career leader, he will hold on to the ball.
He just won't keep it.
"My wife says I've got enough footballs at home," the Winnipeg Blue Bombers slotback said Saturday as he prepared to face the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Sunday. "There are plenty of balls for our son to play with, so we don't need any more balls."
Stegall, in his 11th CFL season, has 117 career TD catches, tying him with former Calgary slotback Allen Pitts for the most in league history. When Stegall caught the record-tying touchdown toss in last week's 41-39 road loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, he casually tossed the football into the stands.
If Stegall catches No. 118 on Sunday, he will keep the ball only long enough to pass it on to a friend in Winnipeg.

"I promised it to somebody who asked me for it a while ago but even if I hadn't, I'd just give it to the ref or throw it in the stands," Stegall said. "It's really not a big deal to me.
"Some people may say that sounds crazy, but I'm just trying to win games and win the Grey Cup."
Stegall has scored 121 touchdowns during his CFL career, leaving him third all-time behind George Reed and Mike Pringle, who both scored 137 in 13 seasons.
But when the Roughriders and Bombers step on to the turf at Taylor Field on Sunday, both will be sporting different looks.
Winnipeg (3-7) will feature six new faces on offence from the unit that opened the season June 25 dropping a 42-15 decision to the Roughriders.
Conversely, Saskatchewan (3-6) will look to snap a five-game losing streak with six defensive starters who weren't with the club in June. In fact, three of them - defensive end Dwayne Lefall, linebacker Lamar Lee and defensive back Rontarius Robinson - will make their first CFL starts on the defence's strong side.
"It's going to be a challenge for them working against a very good receiving corps," Roughriders head coach Danny Barrett said. "They'll have their hands full, but at the same time we have total confidence in the guys we have on the roster to get the job done."
Saskatchewan's injured list has swelled to 13 players with the addition of defensive end Daved Benefield (knee), defensive back Davin Bush (ankle) and, as if to prove the team is cursed, linebacker T.J. Stancil, who wears No. 13. Stancil, an emergency starter last week when linebacker Jackie Mitchell suffered a groin injury, was named the CFL's defensive player of the week for his superb play in a 19-15 loss to the B.C. Lions. But he suffered a leg injury Wednesday in practice.
Still missing are defensive linemen Nate Davis (knee) and Terrell Jurineack (back) and safety Darnell Edwards (back), respectively replaced by Marcus Adams, Fred Perry and Scott Gordon.
Winnipeg coach Jim Daley has revamped his offence more out of choice than necessity, although his team's 0-4 start to the season was a clear sign he couldn't stand pat even with star players like Stegall and running back Charles Roberts. Against Saskatchewan, Bombers quarterback Kevin Glenn passed for 158 yards and Roberts rushed for just 25 yards.
Since that loss, Winnipeg has revamped its offence with three new offensive lineman and three receivers. The front line has been bolstered by the addition of tackles Dan Goodspeed (cut, NFL's Washington Redskins) and John Feugill (cut, Toronto Argonauts) as well centre Aaron Fiacconi (trade, Montreal Alouettes). The receiving corps now features wideouts Chris Brazzell (trade, Hamilton Tiger-Cats) and Gilles Colon (back from broken finger) and slotback Darnell McDonald (cut, Montreal).
"The team has grown together and the chemistry is real good as far as the quarterback, the receivers and the offensive line getting to know each other is concerned," said Glenn, who has passed for more than 350 yards in each of his last three games. "Things are clicking now.
"Early in the season it wasn't like that."
An ankle injury Glenn suffered in the opener even had its positive side.
"We missed Kevin," Daley said, "but in his absence we had the opportunity to improve his supporting cast.
"Kevin now gives us a lot better chance to compete and he's playing with great confidence and intensity. We're a team that had a lot of work to do coming out of camp, and this is as hard-working a group as I've ever been associated with."
Winnipeg will play host to a rematch Saturday, so these two games could decide which team remains in playoff contention.
Should Saskatchewan win either game, it will claim the head-to-head season series, a feat it has accomplished only once (in 1994) against Winnipeg since 1975.