Jack­son, Wilder run wild as Ar­gos beat Esks

Lethbridge Herald - - HEADLINE SPORTS | WEATHER -

The Toronto Arg­onauts ex­tended the Ed­mon­ton Eski­mos’ mis­ery Satur­day, rid­ing a big man and sev­eral big plays to a 34-26 vic­tory.

James Wilder Jr., ran 11 times for 190 yards and one touch­down, col­lect­ing 67 more yards on seven passes. Martese Jack­son re­turned a missed field goal for a 125-yard touch­down. And Matt Black, do­ing his best Un­der­taker im­i­ta­tion, buried Eski­mos quar­ter­back Mike Reilly on a blitz that ended a late Ed­mon­ton come­back.

The Eski­mos scored 11 unan­swered points late in the fourth — and had a TD called back — to make it in­ter­est­ing.

“We’re in­volved in a ma­jor trans­for­ma­tion of try­ing to find out who we are as a team,” said Toronto coach Marc Trest­man. “We found a lit­tle bit more out tonight.”

Down by eight points, the Esks had the ball at their own 37 with 2:12 re­main­ing and Reilly hit Bryant Mitchell for 60 yards af­ter a Toronto de­fender tripped. Fac­ing a third and seven at the Toronto 10 af­ter Ed­mon­ton lost a pass in­ter­fer­ence chal­lenge, Reilly was ham­mered into the ground by Black.

“It felt like a clean shot,” said the de­fen­sive back, who was cut and then brought back ear­lier by the Ar­gos this sea­son.

Ed­mon­ton coach Ja­son Maas dis­agreed, call­ing it a bla­tant head-on-head hit. But he had run out of chal­lenges.

It’s been a cruel reversal of for­tune lately for the Eski­mos (7-5-0), who opened the sea­son with seven straight wins. Ed­mon­ton last lost five straight in 2013.

With a bye week com­ing, Maas told his player af­ter­wards they had gone 6-0 in the first third of the sea­son and 1-5 in the sec­ond.

“I told our guys ‘En­joy your fam­i­lies, en­joy your time off. And the only ques­tion I want you to ask is what is the third six go­ing to look like?’ It is go­ing to look more like the first six or is it go­ing to look more like the sec­ond six?’

“And my money’s on the first six ... We’ve got a lot of foot­ball ahead of us.”

It marked only the fifth win by an East team against the West in 26 out­ings (4-21-1) this sea­son. Com­ing into the game, Toronto (5-7-0) had lost two in a row and five of its last six. And the Ar­gos were 0-5 pre­vi­ously against the West.

Only 13,182 were on hand at BMO Field to see a wild lateafter­noon game on a warm Cana­dian Armed Forces Ap­pre­ci­a­tion Night.

Jack­son and Wilder broke the Eskimo spirit, with Wilder help­ing neu­tral­ize the Ed­mon­ton pass rush while keep­ing the Ed­mon­ton of­fence off the field. The Ar­gos came into the game ranked last in the league av­er­ag­ing just 65.4 yards rush­ing.

Jack­son raced down the side­line like an Ex­o­cet mis­sile mid­way through the third quar­ter af­ter punter Hugh O’Neill, fill­ing in for the in­jured Sean Whyte, missed a 42-yard field goal. Jack­son’s spec­tac­u­lar score gave Toronto a 31-15 lead but did not beat the club record (129 yards) for a re­turn on a missed field-goal re­turn.

Wilder was a one-man wreck­ing crew, rac­ing 76 yards for his first CFL TD and ac­count­ing for 50 yards on an­other Toronto TD drive. Cho­sen over Bran­don Whi­taker on the day, the Florida State big man con­tin­ued to carve his way through the Eski­mos in the sec­ond half.

“He made some peo­ple miss but I thought our of­fen­sive line re­ally blocked well,” said Trest­man.

“Coach Trest­man could have run through those holes,” said Wilder, adding: “No of­fence to coach Trest­man.”

Cana­dian Press photo

Toronto Arg­onauts run­ning back James Wilder Jr. (right) is tack­led by Ed­mon­ton Eski­mos de­fen­sive back Neil King dur­ing the first half of CFL foot­ball ac­tion in Toronto on Satur­day.

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