The Eskimos stumbled out of the gate in the 2016 CFL season getting off to a 2-4 start. Now the Eskimos have won two straight games to get back to the .500 mark and a share of third place in the Western Division. The Eskimos will attempt to win three straight games for the first time this season when they host the Saskatchewan Roughriders Friday night on Military Appreciation Night on The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium.
The Eskimos are coming off their most complete game of the season last week at BMO Field in Toronto with a 46-23 win over the Argonauts. Quarterback Mike Reilly says it’s important for his team to build off last week’s performance.
Reilly’s day didn’t start well last week as he threw a pick-six on the first offensive play to linebacker Keon Raymond. Reilly would rebound and go 26 of 31 for 362 yards passing with three touchdown passes with another interception. Receivers Nate Coehoorn, Adarius Bowman, and Derel Walker scored touchdowns while fullback Calvin McCarty and Mike Reilly added the touchdowns on the ground. Defensive back Pat Watkins recorded six defensive tackles and two interceptions and was named a Shaw CFL Top Performer of the Week. Defensive tackle Almondo Sewell recorded two quarterback sacks giving him four sacks in the last five games. Sewell has six sacks on the season good for third in the CFL; he has the most sacks by an interior defensive lineman. Kicker Sean Whyte booted four goals giving him a season best success rate of 90 per cent. Whyte is 20 for 20 in field goal attempts inside the 50 yard line.
Shakir Bell will start in place of John White who hurt his hand in last week’s win over the Toronto Argonauts. White has been placed on the one-game injured list. Bell started 11 games for the Eskimos last season picking up 633 rushing yards and scoring a touchdown. Other changes see defensive backs Demetrius Wright, linebacker Alex Ogbongbemiga, and defensive lineman Michael Buchanan come on the roster. Running back Greg Morris and defensive lineman Josh Watson come out of the lineup.
Quarterback: Mike Reilly
Running back: Shakir Bell (Fullback: Calvin McCarty)
Offensive Line: Tony Washington-Simeon Rottier-Justin Sorensen-Matt O’Donnell-D’Anthony Batiste
Receivers: Derel Walker-Adarius Bowman-Cory Watson-Chris Getzlaf-Nate Coehoorn
Defensive Line: Jason Vega-Eddie Steele-Almondo Sewell-Odell Willis
Linebackers: Deon Lacey-J.C. Sherritt-Kenny Ladler
Defensive Backs: Pat Watkins-Marcell Young-Neil King-Brandyn Thompson-Cords Parks
The Riders have lost four straight games to sit dead last in the Western Division and in the entire CFL with a 1-7 record. The Riders suffered their worst loss of the season last week at Tim Horton’s Field in Hamilton losing 53-7. Quarterback Darian Durant threw four interceptions ending a streak of 323 pass attempts thrown without an interception. The Riders offense hasn’t scored a touchdown in 90 minutes of play and has scored just 35 points in their last four games. One bright spot on offense has been receiver Naaman Roosevelt who has 702 receiving yards this season and is on pace for 1,500 yards. Injuries have hit the Riders hard on their offense line as 13 offensive linemen have been used already. Only right tackle Thaddeus Coleman has started in all eight games this season. Defensively the Riders have given up the most points in the CFL at 286 for a per game average of35.8.
This is the second meeting of the season between the two teams; the Eskimos won 39-36 in overtime back on July 8 in Edmonton.
You can hear Friday’s game between the Eskimos and the Riders on 630 CHED starting with the pre-game show at 6pm. The kick-off on The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium is 8pm with Morley Scott and Dave Campbell calling all of the live action, with analysis from former Eskimos offensive lineman and two-time Grey Cup Champion Blake Dermott, and Brenden Ullrich reporting the from the Eskimos sidelines.