‘ Black Sheep’ earn keep

Winnipeg Free Press - SundayXtra - - SPORTS FOOTBALL - Bisons sec­ondary can shed nick­name By Ed Tait

THEY were first called out by their coaches and then by their team­mates with some very harsh but very real tough love.

And then the start­ing sec­ondary for the Univer­sity of Manitoba Bisons foot­ball squad de­cided to take it one step fur­ther as a method of self- flag­el­la­tion/ mo­ti­va­tion by as­sign­ing their own nick­name to their unit. “Black Sheep” ( noun: a mem­ber of a fam­ily or other group who is con­sid­ered un­de­sir­able or a dis­rep­utable per­son.)

Con­sider, then, Satur­day af­ter­noon’s 34- 15 Home­com­ing Game win over the Univer­sity of Regina Rams in front of an an­nounced crowd of 4,890 at In­vestors Group Field the first chap­ter of the Bi­son sec­ondary’s re­birth.

Manitoba’s de­fence — ab­so­lutely lit up in last week’s loss to Cal­gary — lim­ited the Rams’ vaunted pass­ing at­tack to just 209 yards and 344 to­tal yards in help­ing push the club’s record to 3- 2.

“This one’s on the de­fence,” beamed Bisons head coach Brian Do­bie af­ter­ward. “They’ve been un­der the gun. They’ve even been get­ting para­noid and started call­ing them­selves ‘ The Black Sheep’, what­ever that means. Trans­late that what­ever way you want, but I don’t think it comes out well in trans­la­tion.

“But that win, ab­so­lutely, was on the de­fence. If we’re go­ing to give wins to our of­fence when we’re rack­ing up points then that win was on our de­fence.”

The Bisons got a punt- block touch­down on the Rams’ sec­ond pos­ses­sion when An­drew Barry stuffed a kick that was re­cov­ered by D. J. Lalama for the open­ing score. Barry later rum­bled in from a yard out for a 13- zip lead. Manitoba would then get three scores through the air with Jor­dan Yantz con­nect­ing with Matt Hal­lock, An­drew Smith and Bry­den Bone for three, 89 and 26- yard yard strikes.

Hec Crighton can­di­date An­thony Coombs, mean­while, fin­ished with 104 yards rush­ing and another 20 through the air.

Regina’s at­tack was hurt in the sec­ond quar­ter when Bi­son de­fen­sive back Jor­dan Linnen was ejected for a hel­met- to- hel­met hit on quar­ter­back Cay­man Shut­ter, the lead­ing passer in Cana­dian col­lege foot­ball. For­mer Oak Park star — and Bi­son red- shirt — John Kies­man would re­place Shut­ter and pass for one score and rush for 76 yards, but was also in­ter­cepted three times — twice by Con­nor Les­per­ance.

“Through­out the first cou­ple of games our de­fen­sive back corps hasn’t been play­ing to our po­ten­tial so we’ve been called ‘ Black Sheep’ of the team and we’ve been us­ing that as mo­ti­va­tion, es­pe­cially this week, to come in and watch a lot of film, a lot of ex­tra prac­tice,” said Les­per­ance. “The DBs our­selves, with­out the coaches, have been meet­ing when we can be­tween classes. We want to get out of that and step up our game for the rest of the sea­son and on into Novem­ber.”

The Bisons play host to the UBC Thun­der­birds next Satur­day at 1 p. m. in their last reg­u­lar- sea­son home game be­fore fin­ish­ing up on the road at Saskatchewan and Al­berta.

“Now we have mo­men­tum go­ing into another home game against B. C.,” said the Bisons’ Coombs.

DAVID LIPNOWSKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Bisons QB Jor­dan Yantz cel­e­brates a touch­down with re­ceiver Matt Hal­lock Satur­day at In­vestors Group Field.

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