Labour Day game lame

ERIC FRANCIS, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:41 AM ET

Until the dying minutes of the first half, Labour Day talking points revolved almost entirely around Barb and the Baconator.

Shortly after Calgary mayoral candidate Barb Higgins enjoyed a live Jumbotron endorsement, some contestant botched the brisk building of a Baconator by blindly omitting the mayonnaise.

Bummer.

However, in the final minute all three Brandons wearing black (Browner, Smith and Isaac) snatched the ball from the Esks in a crowd-buzzing exchange that saw three consecutive plays picked off and turnovers on four of five.

Cheers turned to laughs, and laughs soon turned to pity.

In what was otherwise one of the longest halves of football, the Stamps obviously felt sorry for the Esks, gifting them 105 yards in penalties, which was more than the visitorsí total offence until a Hail Mary with time expiring gave the Esks 122 yards all by themselves.

The only thing more painful than watching would have been being Ricky Ray.

At the half of a 33-5 nailbiter, rumours swirled Richie Hall would make the best coaching decision heís made all season by locking the Eskimos locker-room and swallowing the key.

Once again, he dropped the ball.

With CFL commissioner Mark Cohon on site, there was talk Edmonton would be fined heavily for impersonating a football team. Of course, the amount would be undisclosed.

Things were so bad, Eskimos fans mirrored their squad, losing all desire to fight in the stands, which were more than 1,000 short of capacity for the first time in many Labour Days.

Shortly after a Romby Bryant touchdown opened the third quarter, Ken-Yon Rambo ventured toward the sidelines to mock the Esks cheer dudes ó like they havenít been teased enough over the years.

So out of hand were the proceedings, Nik Lewis didnít even celebrate every catch, Burke Dales tried fielding his own punts, Dwight Anderson stopped trash talking and Henry Burris hit the showers early in the third quarter.

Even the officials lost interest, invoking the olí ďtie goes to the home teamĒ on one catch brought down by both Brandon Smith and Tremayne Kirkland at the same time.

In fairness, the Esks were without injured running back Arkee Whitlock, star receiver Fred Stamps and any semblance of an offensive lineman. That explains the five yards rushing. Yes, five.

All told, the Stamps picked off four Eskimos passes, have now outscored the Esks

108-20 in their last two contests, scored 156 points in three meetings and had a handful of pickled Edmonton fans drowning their sorrows with post-game chants of, ďLetís Go Oilers.Ē

It was so ugly, even Calgarians had a hard time enjoying the carnage.

OK, thatís not true.

Still, the only reason to stick around late came courtesy of Joffrey Reynoldsí chase for Kelvin Andersonís franchise rushing record. He fell short.

Wrapping things up on the saddest instalment of the Labour Day game (nee Classic) Rob Maver voluntarily booted two field goals wide to keep the score a very flattering 52-5 ó still the biggest beating in Battle of Alberta history.

How anyone, including the Eskimos, could be interested in Fridayís rematch is as puzzling as Hallís employment.

Unless Barb and the Baconator are starters, how could anyone in Edmonton possibly want to attend?

eric.francis@sunmedia.ca


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