Numbers don't add up

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON

, Last Updated: 7:23 AM ET

The playoff numbers game doesn't exactly favour the Edmonton Eskimos.

With the Green and Gold heading to Winnipeg for the East Division semifinal cross-over playoff game on Saturday, their opponent holds an edge in the experience category.

There are 20 members of the current Blue Bombers' roster who were involved in last year's Grey Cup game.

On the Eskimos' projected 42-man roster for Saturday, there are 13 players with Grey Cup experience at some point in their career.

There are actually 21 Eskimo players -- half of the playing roster -- who have never been in a single CFL playoff game.

Eleven Eskimos are in their first year in the CFL, so this taste of the post-season will be extra sweet.

Here's a breakdown of the last playoff game for each of the Esks' CFL rookies:

TRISTAN JACKSON

Senior season, Perry Central High School in New Augusta, Miss.

"We were up 22-8 with six minutes left in the fourth quarter," said Jackson, remembering the second-round playoff game.

"Our starting quarterback and safety got hurt. It took our (championship) ring away.

"I've never won a championship -- and I've been playing since the third grade."

TYLER CLUTTS

Senior season, Clovis High School near Fresno, Calif.

It was the section championship game.

"It's a whole different breed of football (in the playoffs). No days off," said Clutts, who was a defensive end and quarterback in high school

"There's nothing (worse than) being capable of winning and not finishing."

JUSTIN COOPER

University of Manitoba, 2007.

Captured the Vanier Cup --the CIS championship -- with a 28-14 win against St. Mary's.

Cooper and his Manitoba crew went 4-0 in the post-season last year.

TIM ST. PIERRE

St. Mary's, 2007.

Lost the Vanier Cup to Cooper's Manitoba crew.

"The adrenaline gets going. There is nothing else like it -- you can't explain the feeling," said St. Pierre on being in the playoffs. "So much is riding on the line."

CALVIN ARMSTRONG

Senior season, Centralia High, Centralia, Wa.

"We lost (in the) first round to a high school that was like three times our size," said Armstrong.

"We played bowl games in college (at Washington State) but that is not the same as playoffs. We were just there (at the bowl game), got some per diems, got a Nintendo (game version)."

ERIC TAYLOR

Nearly eight years ago, Franklin County High School in Worcester, Tenn.

"It was one of our rivals --Oakland (Tenn.)," said Taylor on the loss in the second-round.

"I was part of the Pittsburgh Steelers -- I didn't play in the games -- when we went to the AFC championship game (2004, lost to New England)."

AJ HARRIS

Senior season, Wheaton North, northwest suburb of Chicago.

"We lost the last game --semifinals of state," said Harris on the 23-22 nailbiter.

"It is going to be amazing," predicted Harris on what his first taste of CFL post-season action will be like.

"That is when you have the best atmosphere. That is when everybody is the most hyped up to see the game.

"You lose and you're gone, so everybody is working extra hard."

CHRIS CIEZKI

UBC, 2006.

"We lost the Canada West semifinal in Saskatchewan," said Ciezki. "It was close until the end, we lost by two touchdowns.

"I can't wait (for these playoffs). I believe we've got all the right pieces as long as we all get on the same page together."

KEVIN CHALLENGER

Vanier junior college in Quebec, seven years ago.

PIERRE-LUC YAO

University of Laval, last year. Lost a CIS semifinal game.

Kelly Campbell is the other CFL rookie heading into the post-season for the first time with the Esks, but Campbell didn't participate in our Sun Media survey.

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ESKIMOS PLAYOFF EXPERIENCE

(Projected 42-man roster for Saturday's cross-over playoff game)

CFL rookies (11): Tristan Jackson, Tim St. Pierre, Justin Cooper, Eric Taylor, Tyler Clutts, Calvin Armstrong, Kevin Challenger, Kelly Campbell, Pierre-Luc Yao, AJ Harris, Chris Ciezki

CFL veterans, but zero playoff games (10): Siddeeq Shabazz, Lenny Williams, Jonte Buhl, Kenny Onatolu, Brandon Guillory, Fred Stamps, Patrick Kabongo, Maurice Mann, Stefan LeFors, Calvin McCarty

CFL veterans with playoff experience (21): Jordan Younger (7 games), Jason Goss (1), Agustin Barrenechea (1), Scott Coe (3), Shannon Garrett (11), Dario Romero (3), Clinton Wayne (3), Fred Perry (7), Adrian Baird (4), Garrick Jones (2), Dan Comiskey (11), John Comiskey (3), Tim Bakker (6), Andrew Nowacki (3), Ricky Ray (7), Jason Maas (10), Kamau Peterson (3), Mathieu Bertrand (3), Mike Maurer (7), Noel Prefontaine (13), Taylor Inglis (1).


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