Bru­tal last sea­son, Eski­mos off to en­cour­ag­ing start

Winnipeg Free Press - SundayXtra - - SPORTS FOOTBALL - By Monte Ste­wart

VAN­COU­VER — Mike Reilly com­pleted three touch­down passes as the Ed­mon­ton Eski­mos came back to beat the B.C. Lions 27-20 on Satur­day in the first game of the CFL sea­son for both teams.

The Eski­mos over­came an early 14- 0 deficit as Calvin McCarty, Fred Stamps and Adar­ius Bow­man caught Reilly’s touch­down passes. Grant Shaw pro­vided their other points in the form of three con­verts and a pair of field goals.

Andrew Har­ris and D-Tre Player scored touch­downs for B.C., while Paul McCallum added two field goals.

Reilly, a for­mer backup with the Lions, com­pleted 22 of 35 passes for 229 yards.

The Eski­mos are look­ing to re­verse a 4-14 sea­son in 2013 that was their worst in 50 years. The Lions are look­ing to make amends for a

ESKI­MOS 27

LIONS 20

first-round play­off loss to Saskatchewan.

Lions quar­ter­back Kevin Glenn got off to a strong start in his reg­u­larsea­son de­but, com­plet­ing two touch­down passes in the first quar­ter. But Glenn, who is re­plac­ing in­jured starter Travis Lu­lay, was un­done by four in­ter­cep­tions. Glenn was 18 for 28 pass­ing for 251 yards.

The Lions’ first TD, a 55-yard pass-and-run play, came 1:58 into the game. Shortly af­ter catch­ing a pass near the Ed­mon­ton 40-yard line, Har­ris eas­ily shook off rookie line­backer Dex­ter McCoil’s tackle at­tempt, eluded a cou­ple of other Eski­mos and ran the ball along the side­lines into the end zone. It was only Glenn’s third pass of the reg­u­lar sea­son.

Af­ter McCarty drew the Eski­mos even with a nine-yard touch­down catch, the Lions had a fum­ble-re­turn touch­down by line­backer Adam Bighill over­turned on a video re­view.

Player, a rookie of­fen­sive line­man play­ing his first-ever CFL reg­u­larsea­son game, scored B.C.’s sec­ond touch­down while play­ing out of po­si­tion late in the first quar­ter. Af­ter lin­ing up as a tight end and be­ing left wide open, he caught a two-yard pass from Glenn.

Shaw re­duced Ed­mon­ton’s deficit to 14-10 early in the sec­ond quar­ter as he kicked a 12-yard field goal. Mid­way through the sec­ond quar­ter, he booted a 42-yard field goal to pull the Eski­mos within a point. Ed­mon­ton had to set­tle for the sec­ond three-pointer af­ter B.C. rookie Josh John­son sacked Reilly for a nine­yard loss.

But McCallum booted a 16-yard field goal late in the sec­ond quar­ter to give the Lions a 17-13 lead at half­time.

Glenn com­pleted 10 of 13 pass at­tempts for 163 yards, while also throw­ing an in­ter­cep­tion, in the first half.

Af­ter a Bighill in­ter­cep­tion, the Lions threat­ened to score an­other touch­down with 6:20 left in the sec­ond quar­ter, but Aaron Grymes in­ter­cepted Glenn’s pass in­tended for Shawn Gore deep in the end zone.

The Eski­mos could not score off Grymes’ in­ter­cep­tion, but McCoil’s pick- off would even­tu­ally pay div­i­dends on a drive that was aided by a suc­cess­ful fake field-goal. In crouch po­si­tion, holder Matt Ni­chols, Ed­mon­ton’s backup quar­ter­back, flipped a three-yard pass to McCarty.

The trick­ery ex­tended a scor­ing drive that cul­mi­nated with Reilly’s 17-yard pass to a wide- open Stamps in the cor­ner of the B.C. end zone.

— The Cana­dian Press

DAR­RYL DYCK / THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Ed­mon­ton’s Shamawd Cham­bers (right) and Calvin McCarty cel­e­brate Cham­bers’ first-half TD on Satur­day night.

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