Canadian Football League

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Stamps knock teams out of Canadian Football League playoff race

Henry Burris threw three touchdown passes to lead Calgary to a 34-17 win over Hamilton.

Burris returned to action after missing the last three games with a torn ligament in his hand to help the Stampeders (8-7) win for the fourth time in five outings.
Jermaine Copeland, David Allen and Nikolas Lewis each caught TD passes for Calgary, which scored late in the first half to break a tie and take the lead for good.
Jesse Lumsden had a touchdown run for the Tiger-Cats (3-12), who have dropped two in a row and four of five.
With the game tied at 6-6 late in the first half, Burris led Calgary on a lengthy drive that ended in a nine-yard touchdown pass to Copeland. The TD came with just seconds remaining until the break and gave the Stampeders a 13-6 advantage.
Jamie Boreham cut the deficit to 13-10 with a 29-yard field goal in the third quarter, but that would be as close as the Ti-Cats would get.
Burris hit Allen with a 10-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter for a 20-9 cushion.
Then, after a Boreham punt wasn't returned and went for a single, Burris hit Lewis with a one-yard pass for a score and a 27-10 cushion.
Danny McManus rounded out the Tiger-Cats' scoring by hitting David Flick with a four-yard touchdown pass to draw Hamilton within 10 points late in the fourth quarter.
George White then iced the game for Calgary with a 52-yard interception return for a TD with under a minute to play.
Sandro DeAngelis gave Calgary a 3-0 lead in the early going with a 10-yard field goal.
Lumsden scored on a six-yard run later in the quarter to give Hamilton its only lead of the game, 6-3, after the point after failed.
DeAngelis hit a 25-yard field goal in the second quarter to tie the game at 6-6.NOTES:Hamilton fell to 0-8 on the road this season and 2-8 versus the West Division...Calgary improved to 4-4 at home and 4-4 versus the East...The Stampeders won both matchups against Hamilton this season...White's pick was his first of the season and it was the fourth TD of the year for the Calgary defense.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Bombers take Canadian Football League player of the week awards

One veteran member of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and one newcomer to the team have earned Rogers Player of the Week honours for Week 16 of the CFL season.
Veteran Bombers slotback Milt Stegall was selected the Rogers CFL Offensive Player of the Week while rookie defensive end Gavin Walls received Rogers CFL Lineman of the Week honours.
Stegall had arguably the best game of his long and illustrious career with the Blue and Gold this past Monday. The classy 11-year veteran snared four passes for 234 yards and four touchdowns in the Bombers' 44-23 win over the B.C. Lions. He is now the only receiver to record two 200-plus yard receiving games as a member of the Blue and Gold.
Stegall currently leads the CFL with 16 touchdowns.
Walls' selection completes the hat trick for the CFL Rookie of the Year candidate. He was likewise honoured in Weeks 4 and 13.
The soft-spoken newcomer was a veritable one-man wrecking crew against the Lions. He recorded four sacks and three defensive tackles in the Bombers' win.
Walls is currently tied for the league-lead in quarterback sacks with 11.
Three other Bombers earned consideration for Rogers Player of the Week for their Week 16 performances against B.C.
Quarterback Kevin Glenn was first runner-up for Offensive Player of the Week. Glenn completed 15 of 24 passes for an amazing 410 yards and five touchdowns.
Meanwhile, centre Aaron Fiacconi was second runner-up for Lineman of the Week while linebacker Neil McKinlay was second runner-up for Special Teams Player of the Week.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Stegall closing in on Canadian Football League all-time TD record

Milt Stegall caught four touchdown passes from Kevin Glenn as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers defeated the British Columbia Lions, 44-23, in a Canadian Thanksgiving football contest.

Glenn also connected with Jamie Stoddard on a touchdown pass and ran for a score as well for Winnipeg (5-10), which had lost four of five coming in.
Antonio Warren ran for a score for the first-place Lions (11-3), which lost for the third straight time after winning their first 11 games of the season.
British Columbia got on the scoreboard first after offensive tackle Cory Mantyka recovered Warren's fumble in the end zone with 10:27 remaining in the first quarter.
The Blue Bombers drew even just over three minutes later when Glenn connected with Stoddard on a 13-yard touchdown pass.
Buck Pierce helped the Lions reestablish a seven-point lead after he capped a second-quarter drive with a one-yard TD run.
But that lead was short lived after Glenn found Stegall for a 54-yard touchdown pass just over two minutes later.
With less than a minute remaining in the half, B.C. regained the lead after Nautyn Mckay-Loescher blocked a punt out of the back of the end zone for a safety to put the Lions ahead 16-14.
The Blue Bombers then took their first lead of the game when Glenn hooked up with Stegall for the second time in the half, this time on a 10-yard strike with six seconds left before intermission.
Winnipeg extended its lead in the third quarter after Glenn forced his way into the end zone from one yard out and Jonathan Ryan later earned a single when his 54-yard kick wasn't returned, giving the Blue Bombers a 29-16 advantage.
But British Columbia got back within striking distance after Warren scored on a one-yard TD run with 4:06 remaining in the third quarter to cut Winnipeg's lead to 29-23.
The Blue Bombers put some distance between themselves and the Lions in the fourth quarter after Glenn found Stegall for his third touchdown catch of the game, a 69-yarder with 12:04 left in the contest, to make it 36-23.
Winnipeg put the game out of reach after Glenn hit Stegall on the longest play from scrimmage of the day, a 101-yard touchdown reception. Glenn then hit Stoddard in the end zone for the two-point attempt.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Pierce enjoying life in the Canadian Football League

The magic carpet ride continues.
Imagine yourself as a 23-year-old young adult and being in the position of knowing exactly how you want to make a living, but facing obstacles at every turn.
Now imagine facing that type of adversity and those challenges, but doing so in a foreign country.
That was the situation Buck Pierce faced after signing a three-year contract with the British Columbia Lions of the Canadian Football League back in May after having gone through rigorous workouts and training camps with several National Football League teams, only to be passed over during the seven-round draft weekend.
”When I came here after playing at New Mexico State not very many people had heard of me,” Pierce said. “I wasn’t even expected to make the roster because I was behind two former most valuable players (Dave Dickensen and Casey Printers) and one who had just been with the Denver Broncos (Jarious Jackson). I was brought in as someone who would just take reps in practice.
”There are guys on this team who have been in the NFL and are now just finishing their careers up here in Canada. It’s kind of weird to be around these guys, and it’s overwhelming to be playing in a league with so much talent,” he said. “For a person who has never seen a game or experienced the CFL, it’s just the same as the NFL is in the states.”
Aside from the football aspect of his new surroundings, Pierce faced an equally daunting challenge completely away from the football field as the small town boy who grew up in Gasquet, California had to now either sink or swim completely on his own.
Although the transitions were tough in the early going, Pierce has finally found his niche.
”It’s a huge difference for me being in a city of two million people,” he said. “The lifestyle is so new to me and there is so much more to do here than what I’ve been used to.”
Having settled just outside of Vancouver in a town called White Rock, Pierce said he sees definite parallels between his new adopted community and the one which he called home growing up.
”I couldn’t ask for a better community than the one I’m living in here,” he said. “I’m not saying it’s any better than where I grew up, it’s just different. It’s a really cool feeling to be recognized wherever I go,” he said. “We’re big-time up here, and everything we do is watched.”
It would seem to the casual observer that this kind of pressure and living life under a microscope would be daunting at best and debilitating at worst, but Pierce has a different take on the situation.
”I’m one of the youngest guys in this league, not just on my team, so I knew I had to come in and prove myself against quality competition when I got here,” he said. “I’ve played this game for a long time now, so I had the confidence in myself that I could make it if I were just given a shot.”
That belief in himself, along with his knowledge of the game and natural athletic ability got the attention of his Lions’ teammates and coaches quickly.
”People started to realize that hey, here’s this 23-year-old kid who can run, has a good arm, is smart and makes good decisions,” Pierce said. “It helps that I’m able to use my athletic ability to move around because this is a quarterback’s league up here. If you watch a CFL game, the teams that are able to have success are the ones who are able to make plays and be productive on first down.”
With the learning curve now at least manageable and having gained game experience throughout the Lions’ preseason, all of the lessons learned were tested on the big stage in a week six contest with the Saskatchewan Roughriders on the road in Regina.
”The province has a population of close to 200,000 and the stadium has 50,000-60,000 people in it for every game, so we were playing in a really hostile environment,”
Pierce said.
That wasn’t the half of it, as the Lions, who came into the contest with a 5-0 record, trailed 15-5 heading into the fourth quarter and appeared on the verge of suffering their first loss of the season.
Enter Pierce.
”Casey (Printers) had gone down and the coaches decided to go with me in the fourth quarter,” he said. “I just went out and got the job done”
That “job” as Pierce modestly puts it involved engineering two touchdown drives in a four-minute period as the Lions overcame the deficit and pulled out a 19-15 victory.
”It was an incredible feeling to get that win,” he said. “I knew I could play, but I earned a lot of confidence from my teammates and coaches for the way I responded to that kind of game pressure.”
Although those sort of heroics and that kind of extended playing time have been few and far between, Pierce is well aware of the big picture.
”I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to be in there taking every snap,” he said. “It’s hard not being able to showcase what I can do every game. I knew it would be a long road, but I honestly didn’t think it (having success) would come so fast.”
Even though he has achieved modest success in his rookie season, the lessons he’s learned from teammates as well as his own personal experience have been just as if not more important.
”It’s not like college in the sense that I don’t have to go to class every day anymore and there aren’t as many demands on my time outside of football, but this is a business and it can be cutthroat at times,” he said. “I know what I have to do every day, and I know that it’s either do my job and know my stuff or there will always be someone out there waiting to take my place.”

Former Canadian Football League player running into hard times

A former University of North Dakota and Canadian Football League star running back has run into hard times here.
Milson Jones, who was named the most outstanding player in the 1987 Grey Cup, pleaded guilty last week to drug and theft charges.
"This is a man who once excelled in his trade and was known across the land," defense lawyer Mike Cook said. "He was regarded as an elite athlete. The facts of this case are really quite sad."
Jones, who played 11 years in the CFL, was arrested last week on a warrant after several missed court appearances. The 45-year-old homeless man admitted to possessing a small amount of cocaine last winter. Jones also was accused of trying to cash a stolen check and stealing meat from a store.
"He's clearly fallen on some hard times, and these crimes were not done out of greed," Cook said.
Jones' suspended sentence and probation might hamper his desire to travel to North Dakota, where his two sons play at Dickinson State.
"It's a dream of his to see his boys play one day," Cook said.
Jones, who came to Canada from Jamaica when he was 9 years old, earned all-America honors at UND in 1980 and 1981 and ranked as the school's third all-time leading rusher when he was inducted into the school's Hall of Fame in 1996.
He went on to play for several CFL teams, and was the league's leading active rusher when he was cut by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 1993. His career numbers include nearly 8,000 total yards and 73 touchdowns.
Jones said little in court, though he admitted to having a drug problem he hopes to conquer.
"I don't want to go through this nonsense again," he said.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Als move to top of Canadian Football League East

Anthony Calvillo proved his arm is as strong as it is accurate as the Montreal Alouettes outlasted the Saskatchewan Roughriders 38-34 in a CFL game Saturday night.
Calvillo's 62-yard heave to Kerry Watkins early in the fourth quarter on second-31 put Montreal in business on the Saskatchewan 14-yard line and set up Calvillo's own game-winning four-yard touchdown run.
"I got out of the pocket, saw him (Watkins) one-on-one downfield and just threw it up," Calvillo said. "What did we have to lose? You've got to give him credit; he fought for it out there and redeemed himself after he had dropped a pass earlier in the game."
Watkins' drop of what should have been an easy 65-yard touchdown in the third quarter was just one of many turning points in a game that extended Montreal's winning streak to three games and snapped Saskatchewan's at five. Despite that miscue, Calvillo finished with 22 completions in 32 attempts for 270 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.
On the other side of the ball, quarterback Marcus Crandell's 299-yard effort on 24-for-37 passing went for naught in a game that featured five lead changes and several crucial turnovers, mistakes and penalties. Saskatchewan had 10-yard penalty at one point that kept a Montreal drive alive, turning what would have been a field goal into 28-yard touchdown pass to Ben Cahoon.
"That was a difference of four points and we lost by four points," Saskatchewan head coach Danny Barrett said. "That's the whole game right there.
"The bomb to Watkins, that was a great play, sometimes you have to give them credit. He timed his jump and rode the wave on top of (LaDouphyous McCalla's) back and hung on to it. Up to then, the crowd was really into it; you could hardly hear. After that it was dead time."
McCalla was despondent over the completion.
"I'm a veteran," he said. "I'm the one that's supposed to make those plays. I'm taking the blame for this loss because I see it in the eyes of my teammates and coaches that I should have made that play. It won't happen again."
Montreal (8-6) is tied atop the East with the Toronto Argonauts (8-5), who host the Edmonton Eskimos on Monday. Saskatchewan (8-7), which had its five-game winning streak stopped, is tied for second in the West with Edmonton (8-6).
Montreal led 14-0 and 21-14 after the first two quarters but trailed 31-28 after the third.