Canadian Football League

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Bombers win first Canadian Football League road win of season

Charles Roberts broke the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the fourth straight season Friday night, then he broke the back of the Ottawa Renegades and the heart of Renegades coach Joe Paopao.
Roberts scored on a four-yard run early in the fourth quarter to lead the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to their first road victory of the Canadian Football League season, 37-21 over the Renegades.
The touchdown, 19 seconds into the final period, capped a strong second-half showing and eventual come-from-behind win for the Blue Bombers before a crowd of 17,567 on a cold, wet night at Frank Clair Stadium.
It also stopped Winnipeg's three-game losing streak, improving the Blue Bombers to 4-9 on the year and 1-6 on the road, after it rallied from a 21-14 second-quarter deficit.
The Bombers had not won away from home since a victory in Regina on Sept. 5, 2004 and kept alive their slim playoff hopes.
"We came down here and played a team that was as desperate for a win as we were. It feels good to come out with a victory," Roberts said.
Roberts carried the ball 22 times for 125 yards - his first 100-yard rushing game since a 195-yard performance against Montreal on July 22.
Meanwhile, the Renegades hurt their playoff hopes by dropping their fourth straight decision to fall to 5-7 in the East Division.
Their slide began with a loss in Winnipeg on Aug. 19 and, despite Josh Ranek's two-TD performance, they didn't do themselves any favours Friday.
"I'm very concerned," a downtrodden Paopao said. "We have six games to go. We have to right the ship as soon as possible. Tonight was the game to do it but we came up short."
Turnovers hurt Ottawa as Winnipeg linebacker Gavin Walls intercepted one Kerry Joseph pass for a TD and returned a Joseph fumble 79 yards for another. The Renegades also gave up a safety.
"All the guys on the front line kept working all night," said Walls, who scored for the first time since his high-school days as a receiver. "At half, we came out and said we were still in the ball game. We just had to buckle down and do the best we could."
Kevin Glenn, who finished 15 of 29 passing for 198 yards and no interceptions, connected with Milt Stegall for another TD, Troy Westwood added a pair of field goals and Glenn combined with Chris Brazzell for a two-point convert on Roberts' winning TD.
"We were able to keep the ball in our hands and keep the defence off the field," Roberts said. "It's great to get (the win) on the road. It keeps our (playoff) hopes alive."
Ottawa got off to a poor start and, despite eventually regaining its feet to go in front, didn't do much following halftime.
"I can talk about our miscues, but give them credit, they made the plays when they had to and I give (Bombers coach) Jim (Daley) full credit for that," Paopao said. "It was one of those back-forth games.
"We never generated anything on offence in the second half. They made some adjustments and took things away from us."
Early on, with the ball at his own 10-yard line, Joseph dropped back to pass and threw straight into the outstretched arms of the onrushing Walls. The Bombers linebacker only had to close his hands and rumble a couple of steps into the end zone to give Winnipeg the first lead.
"I got one in practice earlier this week and I thought it would be nice if I did it in a game," Walls said.
However, the Renegades came back to tie the game right away with Ranek catching an eight-yard TD pass from Joseph, who completed 19 of 29 passes for 280 yards and also rushed for 100 yards.
Ranek then put Ottawa into the lead as the first quarter came to a close with a three-yard scoring run.
Winnipeg made it 14-14 thanks to a costly flag against Ottawa. With Troy Westwood in to kick a 36-yard field goal following a stalled Bombers drive, Renegades defensive back Greg Moss jumped offside and gave Winnipeg a first down. From there, Glenn lofted a 24-yard pass over the middle and Stegall outleaped his coverage to make the TD catch.
With Ottawa up 21-14 in the last minute of the first half and the Renegades with possession near their own goal line, kicker Matt Kellett conceded a safety in order to relieve the pressure. The Bombers then charged down field for Westwood to make an 11-yard field goal as time ran out and it was 21-19 at the break.
After Winnipeg took the lead in the fourth quarter, Joseph threw to a streaking Yo Murphy, who was wide open up the middle for what would have been a possible scoring play, but the ball sailed through the receiver's hands to end Ottawa's best chance to come back.
Westwood hit an 18-yard field goal before Joseph, with Ottawa threatening one last time, coughed up the ball while being sacked and Walls scooped it up to run untouched, 79 yards, into the end zone.
"It seemed like 1,000 yards," he said.
Notes: Ottawa's next game is Thursday in Calgary. . . Winnipeg travels to Montreal next Sunday. . . Renegades DB Crance Clemons made his season debut after recovering from a knee injury.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Former Canadian Football League player catches suspected drunk driver

A former Canadian Football League player caught and tackled a suspected drunk driver after his wife and son were struck in a crosswalk near Disneyland in California.
Michael Hildebrand's wife, Christine, was in intensive care in a Los Angeles-area hospital yesterday. She was expected to return to Edmonton by private aircraft today.
The couple's seven-year-old son, Nolan, and a 10-year-old-friend whose family was travelling with the Hildebrands, both escaped serious injury.
Christine's younger sister, Heather Halpern, said had it not been for Hildebrand's actions, the driver of the car would have got away. "He's kind of like the hero," Halpern said. "I don't know how he did it."

The two families had left Disneyland and were on their way back to their hotel on the first day of their vacation Monday when the crash happened around 8:30 p.m.
Christine and the two boys were crossing with the green light at a marked crosswalk when they were struck.
Halpern said her brother-in-law saw the car, a Toyota Camry, moments before it struck and reached out to grab his family and the boy, but was too late.
Hildebrand, who was a defensive back for the Edmonton Eskimos and the Toronto Argonauts in 1989 and 1990, chased after the car and smashed his fist through the windshield to make it stop.
Christine, a dental assistant, sustained facial injuries and had surgery for a broken leg.
According to NBC news reports, a 53-year-old man was arrested and charged with being under the influence of alcohol.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Canadian Football League players of the week

British Columbia Lions wide receivers Ryan Thelwell and Aaron Lockett, as well as defensive back Barron Miles were among those named CFL Players of the Week for their efforts during Week 12.
Thelwell picked up the Offensive Player of the Week after catching seven passes for 156 yards with two touchdowns in his team's 61-27 triumph over the Ottawa Renegades on Thursday.
Lockett was the best special teams player of the week, as he returned six punts for 170 yards, including one for 90 yards and a touchdown. He also returned three kickoff returns for 102 yards.
Miles, meanwhile, garnered defensive honors for the week. In the win over Ottawa, Miles posted three tackles, knocked a pass down, had two interceptions and returned a fumble for a touchdown.
The only non-BC Lions player honored this week was Toronto Argonauts defensive end Jonathon Brown, who was named the Lineman of the Week, Brown recorded three sacks in his team's 48-0 shellacking of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Saturday.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

CBC drops Canadian Football League game

The CBC has dropped a Saturday BC home game against the Montreal Alouettes from its schedule because it fears demonstrations from the roughly 5,550 members of the Canadian Media Guild it has locked out. Next week, the Lions travel to Edmonton, where CBC managers have produced announcer-less games before.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Canadian Football League player knows where home is

Kick-returner Ezra Landry of the Montreal Alouettes, a native of New Orleans, has been reunited with his family after hurricane Katrina, Radio-Canada's all-news channel RDI reported Sunday.
Landry and his parents, grandmother and aunts and uncles were in the community of Lancaster, near Dallas, at his uncle Lionel's house, RDI said.
His parents' home and the homes of his extended family and their hair salon in New Orleans were in the flood zone and the family is worried their insurance won't cover all of the damage, the all-news channel said.
Landry got permission from the Alouettes to go to Dallas on Sept.1.
''I went through a practice but I wasn't focused like I normally am,'' Landry told RDI.
Landry said he finally got through to his mother, Rose, and knew things weren't going well.
''I could hear in my mother's voice that everything wasn't OK at the time,'' he said.
Landry told RDI that ''Montreal has the best football fans in Canada.''
''It's a great town. I love the fans.''
But New Orleans is still in his heart.
''I'm going back, New Orleans is my home.''

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Riders move up in Canadian Football League standings.

With a minute left and the Blue Bombers on a potential winning drive, Saskatchewan defensive back Eddie Davis knew it was time the defence picked up the hammer.
He ended up delivering the blow himself, intercepting a Kevin Glenn pass with 42 seconds left to ensure a 19-17 Roughriders win Saturday night.
"I looked in Kevin Glenn's eyes and I seen him looking at Milt Stegall the whole way and I just knew I had to step up," Davis said. "I stepped in front and made the play and got down so I didn't fumble the ball."
It was the 11-year CFL veteran's second interception of the season and deflated the 29,653 fans at Canad Inns Stadium - Winnipeg's first sellout since a Oct. 12, 2002, win against Saskatchewan.
The Roughriders took over at their own 35-yard line and ran the clock out.
In Saskatchewan's previous series, kicker Paul McCallum was wide on a 42-yard field-goal attempt with just over a minute remaining. Bomber receiver Keith Stokes ran the ball out of the end zone to Winnipeg's 36 to start the comeback attempt.
The victory moved Saskatchewan into a tie with Calgary, both with 5-6 records, while the Bombers' playoff hopes faded more as they stayed at the bottom of the West Division at 3-9.
"Mathematically, we're not out of it, but we're going to need some miracles right now," said Stegall, who only had one catch for nine yards. "We need so much help.
"We may need Birmingham, an expansion team from the U.S., to come help. That's how much help we need right now. It's going to be difficult."
The Roughriders hadn't won a regular-season game in Winnipeg since Sept. 11, 1994.
After losing five in a row, Saskatchewan now has two straight wins - both over the Bombers.
"The key for us is to get a win in a place where we hadn't had a lot of success in the regular season," Saskatchewan head coach Danny Barrett said. "Now we look forward to lining up at home against the Eskimos, who are four points ahead of us.
"It feels good. It's going to be a nice ride home."
Saskatchewan's scoring included touchdowns by Karsten Bailey and quarterback Marcus Crandell and a field goal and two singles by McCallum.
Chris Brazzell and Charles Roberts scored TDs for Winnipeg, while kicker Troy Westwood had a single on a missed 42-yard field-goal attempt and punter Jon Ryan had a pair of singles.
Crandell was 21-for-37 for 216 yards, one TD and no interceptions. Glenn was 18-for-31 for 240 yards, one TD and one interception.
The teams exchanged turnovers early in the first quarter, with Saskatchewan running back Kenton Keith fumbling at Winnipeg's 20 on the opening drive. It was Saskatchewan's league-leading 36th turnover of the season.
Winnipeg gave the gift back in the next series when Stokes fumbled after a catch. Saskatchewan only ended up getting a single point after McCallum missed a 37-yarder.
Saskatchewan then capitalized on another Bomber turnover, this time a fumble by receiver Gilles Colon, with an 18-yard McCallum field goal as time expired to make it 4-1.
Brazzell and Roberts scored back to back, with Roberts' one-yard TD capping an 11-play, 100-yard drive to put the Bombers ahead 15-4 at 9:38 of the second quarter.
Saskatchewan made it 15-11 with 56 seconds left in the half on a one-yard TD plunge by Crandell.
Bailey's three-yard TD catch gave Saskatchewan their first lead of the game and singles by McCallum, Westwood and Ryan made it 19-17 for the Roughriders at 5:24 of the fourth quarter.
Notes: With 58 yards on 13 carries, Winnipeg running back Charles Roberts moved past Jim Washington (5,736 yards) into third place in all-time Bombers rushing. Roberts now has 5,789 yards.

Argos still first in Canadian Football League East

Damon Allen and the Toronto Argonauts defence emphatically exorcised their Labour Day demons Saturday.
Allen threw two touchdown passes while Toronto's defence registered its first shutout in over 25 years in a lopsided 48-0 win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats before a season-high Rogers Centre gathering of 32,274.
Toronto avenged its 33-30 loss to Hamilton on Monday with its first shutout since a 20-0 win over the Ticats on Aug. 8, 1979. Defensively, the Argos were sensational, registering five turnovers (setting up 24 points), four sacks and holding the Ticats to 115 total yards.
"It was (Argos defensive co-ordinator) Rich Stubler's first shutout and we're really happy for him," said Argos head coach Mike (Pinball) Clemons. "We don't want to celebrate in anyone's face but when you get a shutout that's a major, major achievement.
"We didn't have the turnovers to the same extent (as Monday) and we talked about red zone defence as well. I guess when they don't score any points, it's pretty good defence all around."
Toronto's defence set the tone by stopping Hamilton's third-one gamble on the game's opening possession. Then on their play, the Argos used some razzle-dazzle as Allen hit Arland Bruce III on a 37-yard TD flea flicker. Allen first handed the ball off to John Avery, who pitched it back to Allen, who then found a streaking Bruce.
"We wanted to have a fast start," Allen said. "The last time . . . with me not being as sound and playing as well allowed them to do the things they could on defence.
"This time around, I was much more prepared to play."
Allen shouldered the blame for Monday's loss after throwing two interceptions and fumbling twice, which set up 14 Hamilton points. He was so upset afterwards that he refused to talk to reporters.
Allen finished 14-of-26 passing for 247 yards with two TDs and an interception. That was to Hamilton's Jason Goss in the third at the Toronto 50-yard line and was the Ticats' only foray into Argos territory.
Two plays later, though, Smith intercepted Danny McManus and returned it 79 yards for a 31-0 Toronto lead. The TD return was Smith's fifth, tying him with Ed Berry for the most in club history.
Hamilton coach Greg Marshall took a philosophical approach in explaining the lopsided game.
"At one point I looked up at the scoreboard and realized, as bad as it was, it could've been worse," he said. "They had some chances and didn't score on us.
"They scalped us on third-one to start the game and after that we didn't get close."
Toronto certainly controlled the game, holding the ball for 37 minutes 20 seconds and amassing 415 total yards.
McManus, who completed 17 straight passes against Toronto on Monday, had no answer for a Toronto defence that had its leader, linebacker Mike O'Shea, back in the lineup. O'Shea missed the Labour Day contest with a shoulder injury.
"We had our leader out there," said linebacker Michael Fletcher, who had five tackles and an interception. "He's so smart, he's a cagey guy.
"Just having a guy like that really helps you a lot."
O'Shea showed his smarts in the second quarter when he booted a McManus fumble 20 yards downfield, then recovered it at the Hamilton 15-yard line. That set up a Prefontaine field goal that gave Toronto a 24-0 lead.
"It's called dribbling and it's a rule you learn from the start but it only works on certain plays," said O'Shea, a 13-year CFL veteran. "The fumble came outside the tackle box so you know there's not going to be a huge scramble of guys trying to dive on it.
"Had I tried to pick it up I would've been tackled right there. It's something you practise and consciously think about and it's a great part of the CFL."
McManus, who finished 8-of-21 passing for 61 yards with two interceptions, didn't mince words about his disappointment afterwards.
"It's an embarrassment, especially in this league, to go out and not even have a chance of trying for a point," McManus said. "Don't get me wrong, they have a good defence but to not get a point?
"Yo Murphy said the other night that the B.C. game was the worst butt-kicking he had ever seen. I would challenge him that this was worse."
On Thursday night, the B.C. Lions improved to 10-0 with a 61-27 victory over Murphy and the Ottawa Renegades.
The Argos (7-4) remained atop the East Division and improved to 6-0 at home versus Hamilton since 2001. The Ticats (2-9) lost for the first time in three games to remain last in the conference.
This game marked just the eighth Labour Day rematch between these two teams and first since 1991, when Toronto avenged a 48-24 Labour Day loss by trouncing Hamilton 52-25. Even then, before '91 there was a 20-year hiatus between rematches
Bruce, with two, Avery and Sean Millington had Toronto's other touchdowns. Prefontaine added five converts, two field goals and three singles. The Argos also had two safeties.
Notes - Millington's 10-yard TD run in the fourth was his first touchdown in the CFL since Nov. 1, 2002 when he scored two for the B.C. Lions versus Saskatchewan. . . . How bitter is the Toronto-Hamilton rivalry? Argos fans booed when the Ticats cheerleaders took to the field to end the first.