The Eskimos preparations for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and the Eastern Semi-Final are underway as the team practiced on Wednesday. They will play the Tiger-Cats on Sunday from Tim Horton’s Field.
The Eskimos finished the season winning five of their last six games to finish with a 10-8 record and in the crossover position.
Many feel the Eskimos have the benefit of an easier path to the Grey Cup going through the East Division. Quarterback Mike Reilly doesn’t see it that way.
The Eskimos split their two regular season meetings with the Tiger-Cats and winning thier most recent matchup in Week 19, a 29-26 victory on the road at Tim Horton’s Field.
The Tiger-Cats lost their final two regular season games and five of their last seven games. The team also is without their top three receivers due to injury in Andy Fantuz, Luke Tasker, and Chad Owens. The Tiger-Cats still have Zach Collaros at quarterback and Eskimos defensive back Pat Watkins says the Tiger-Cats will be a tough opponent.
“We expect and good game and nothing less from Hamilton,” Watkins said. “We consider them an ‘A’ class organization and we know that they come with their football pads on and helmets strapped up tight.”
Watkins was just one of many injured Eskimo players who returned to the practice field today. Also returning today were defenisve backs Brandyn Thompson, and Marcell Young. Linebacker Kenny Ladler, defensive end Marcus Howard, offensive lineman Matt O’Donnell, receiver Cory Watson, and fullbacks Mike Miller, Aaron Milton and Calvin McCarty. Most should be ready to play on Sunday and head coach Jason Maas says he’s happy with the health of his team.
“We’re as healthy as we’ve been all year right now. That’s what you’d like to be at this time of year and we’re excited that we are healthy.”
The team will change their travel schedule and leave for Hamilton following practice on Friday instead of the day before the game which is usually the norm.
Kick-off on Sunday for the Eastern Semi-Final from Tim Horton’s Field in Hamilton is 11am, 630 CHED will have the pre-game show at 9:30am.