Records and positioning in the standings aside the Labour Day Classic is always the biggest and most hyped regular season game. Another chapter will be written Monday when the Eskimos and Calgary Stampeders meet in the 2016 Labour Day Classic from McMahon Stadium.
The Eskimos come into the game riding a three-game winning streak and sit with a 5-4 record and fourth place in the Western Division. The Stampeders have a 7-1-1 record and are in first place in the West and have the best record in the CFL.
10 days ago the Eskimos won their third straight game with a 33-25 win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders on The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium. Running back Shakir Bell rushed 18 times for 138 yarrds and recorded 22 touches for 170 yards from scrimmage and scored a receiving touchdown. Bell was named a Shaw CFL Top Performer of the Week. Quarterback Mike Reilly didn’t register a 300 yard passing game for only the second time this season but still enjoyed a solid night going 21 of 26 for 254 yards passing throwing two touchdowns and one interception. Reilly also rushed for 45 yards scoring a touchdown. Reilly leads the CFL in passing yards (3,096) and touchdown passes (16). Receiver Derel Walker caught his fifth touchdown of the season. The Eskimos enjoyed solid first down production averaging 7.3 yards. On defense the Eskimos were never in a second and short situation. All second down plays for the Riders were at least with four yards to go. Kicker Sean Whyte booted three field goals to run his consecutive field goal streak to 12. Whyte leads the league in field goal percentage at 92 per cent.
The Eskimos will have running back John White back in their lineup Monday after missing one game with a gruesome hand injury suffered in a game against the Toronto Argonauts back on August 20. Shakir Bell will come out of the active 44-man roster and will be a healthy scratch. The Eskimos will dress defensive back Garry Peters for the first time since week one against the Ottawa REDBLACKS. Linebacker Donnie Baggs will return to the 44-man roster, defensive back Tyler Thornton has been moved to the practice roster.
Quarterback: Mike Reilly
Running back: John White (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 Stampeders have won six straight games and are unbeaten in eight games. It’s their longest such streak since winning 10 straight games back in 1994-1995. The Stampeders continued their winning streak last week by virtue of a 30-24 home win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell went 27 of 37 for 323 yards passing throwing for one touchdown. Mitchell has the record for the best career start by a quarterback in CFL history. Mitchell career record is 35-7-1 good for an .826 winning percentage. Rookie receiver Davaris Daniels caught five passes for 108 yards and a touchdown. Daniels also blocked a punt in the win. Kicker Rene Parades kicked five field goals to run his consecutive field streak to 28. Another reason for Mitchell’s success is being able to stay on his feet. The Stampeders have allowed only 10 quarterback sacks in nine games. The Stampeders have been able to keep the ball on offense in their last two games as they haven’t recorded a turnover in their last 31 possessions.
The Stampeders have dominated on Labour Day winning six of the seven matchups including the last four games. The last time the Eskimos beat the Stampeders on Labour Day was in the 2011 season.
You can hear the Labour Day Classic between the Eskimos and the Stampeders on 630 CHED starting with the pre-game show at 11:30am. The kick-off from McMahon Stadium in Calgary is 1pm 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.