Clermont tried to sell his catch
Jason Clermont came tantalizingly close to scoring his first touchdown as a Saskatchewan Roughrider on Saturday.
An official signalled a touchdown after Darian Durant spotted a diving Clermont for what initially appeared to be a 22-yard major during the first overtime possession against the B.C. Lions. However, the call was overturned after a video review determined that the ball had hit the Taylor Field turf.
“I just tried to get on it and get my hands under it the best I could and roll over and try to pull it up,’’ Clermont said after the Roughriders’ 3330 CFL victory. “I thought it might have skipped. It might have needed to travel a couple of more inches, but he called ‘Touchdown’ so I thought I’d better sell it.’’
Although Clermont would have welcomed a touchdown, he was most concerned with the team’s performance. Saskatchewan rallied from a 30-22 fourth-quarter deficit to force overtime and eventually prevail.
Clermont applauded the spirit demonstrated by teammates such as fullback Chris Szarka when the Roughriders prepared to return a kickoff following the Lions’ final touchdown — on a 42-yard interception return by Barron Miles with 3:16 remaining.
“We were down by eight and the offence was going to have a chance to go out and win the game,’’ Clermont said. “(Szarka) said, ‘There’d better be some smiles on your faces because this is what we want.’ ’’
Jason Armstead had another stellar game returning kicks for the Riders.
Armstead, who was named the CFL’s special-teams player-of-theweek last week, followed up with seven punt returns for 104 yards and four kickoff returns for 110 yards against B.C. Included was a 54-yard punt return that almost went the distance.
“It’s just one of those you wish you could have back,’’ said Armstead, who was tripped up by the Lions’ Courtney Smith at the Lions’ 36-yard line late in the third quarter.
Over the last three games, Armstead has 16 punt returns for 196 yards (a 12.3-yard average) and 11 kickoff returns for 348 yards (a 31.6yard average).
“It was a solid day,’’ Armstead said of Saturday’s showing. “The guys gave me great blocking all day. You can’t ask for much more. We’re going to keep coming out and plugging away.’’
Louie Sakoda enjoyed his debut with the Roughriders on Saturday.
Sakota, from the University of Utah, boomed five kickoffs for an average of 70.8 yards, with a long kick of 75 yards.
Although Sakoda excelled as a punter and placekicker in the NCAA, Luca Congi is handling the dual responsibilities for the Roughriders. Sakoda dressed as insurance in case Congi was hurt. The regular punter, Jamie Boreham, is out with a neck injury — necessitating double duty for Congi.
Although Sakoda would like to see more game action, he understands the situation.
“Luca had a great game (Saturday),’’ Sakoda said. “You don’t want to fix something that’s not broken and he ended up being one of the heroes of the game. I’ll just play where they need someone and just kind of bide my time.’’
Sakoda is the first American to be deployed by the Roughriders as a kicker since 1986, when Stan Gelbaugh punted 45 times for a 40.6yard average. Gelbaugh was also a backup quarterback with the Roughriders that season, but did not throw a pass.
Offensive lineman Gene Makowsky passed Ron Lancaster — again — to move into second place on the Riders’ all-time games-played list, with 247.
Makowsky had received credit for the feat of longevity two games earlier, but a miscalculation was subsequently discovered.
“It’s a good feeling to have stuck around and have had the privilege of playing pro football for a relatively long time,’’ said the Saskatoon-born Makowsky, a Roughrider since 1995. “I’ve enjoyed most of it and I know I’m very lucky to be able to do it. It feels good to be a Rider for that long.’’
Former Roughriders offensive lineman Roger Aldag, from Gull Lake, is atop the games-played list. He played in 271 games between 1976 and 1992. To surpass Aldag, the 36-year-old Makowsky would have to play