Keyes catches piece of history

TERRY JONES, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:13 AM ET

Baby gets a new pair of shoes.

And the Edmonton Eskimos get another pair of points.

Rookie Bobby Keyes won The Great Interception Pool of 2009 when he became the 78th player to pick off a pass this season in the CFL -- and the very first Eskimo.

In his first game back after introducing himself to his newborn son Seancole during the bye break, daddy said he can't wait to get home, turn on the Internet and give his baby, born July 31, a web-cam kiss on the computer screen and tell his mom he's gonna bring him home a new pair of baby shoes.

"Any kind he wants," said Keyes, who made the pick in the final minute of the first half while teammate Jonte Buhl made Edmonton's second on the season and the league's 79th (Ryan Phillips of B.C. has seven) to secure a 31-30 win to move into first place all alone in the Western Conference headed into the Labour Day double dip against the Calgary Stampeders.

The pool, which involved $20 entry fees every week since the start of the season and climbed over $1,000, came with a bonus as promised by the head coach back when it was about $800 three weeks ago when the team was in Hamilton.

"One of those brown ones," said coach Richie Hall of his contribution of a $100 bill.

Hall, in his years as a defensive back, had never gone more than seven games himself without an interception yet his team went almost seven and a half.

GM Danny Maciocia isn't going to match.

"We pay him already. I don't need to throw in another $20," he said.

Or $100, one presumes.

Keyes said the other contributors will get something back from the pot.

"I am going to spend some of it on my teammates. I'm going to take them out. But it'll be something cheap. Like McDonalds, Subway or Quiznos.

"I'm glad it was me," he said of the long-awaited pick.

"We had a real burden. We all had to look in the mirror. It's a bad feeling when you go seven games with no turnovers in the defensive secondary," he said.

Keyes's pick came on the Eskimos seven-yard line to save some points. He took it 67 yards.

But a botched field goal attempt cost Edmonton a chance to turn it into points.

It was a good thing Noel Prefontaine made the 49-yard field goal in the final minute of the game, or it would have been a whole different story.

It was also a good thing Buhl picked a pass to end it after Prefontaine hit the winner.

Buhl had been wearing goat horns from the first Hamilton play of the game when he was beaten by Arland Bruce III for a 48-yard touchdown.

Buhl has been on a lot of other team's highlight films on big plays this season and he really needed this one with a flood of talent from NFL cuts arriving soon.

"It was a great feeling," he said of the play with 15 seconds remaining.

"To drive the ball down and get the three points to go ahead and then to be the one to pick one off to put it away felt pretty good," said the guy who sits next to Keyes in the locker-room room.

They had been telling each other they were the guys who was going to win the pool."

Coach Hall was obviously pleased.

"We close the first half with an interception and we close the game with an interception," he said.

Buhl's pck made the coach feel particularly good.

"Jonte has been struggling a little bit, but he continued to work. Big things happen when you continue to work."

Hall,who said at the pre-game press conference that lately he feels like he's been coaching the Cardiac Kids, knows he's been coaching a great TV team this past month, with their comeback win over Saskatchewan, upset win over Montreal, cliff-hanger loss in Hamilton and one of the greatest regular season games of all time here against Calgary.

He said it must have been fun to watch.

"It came down to the last play You hate to see a loser in a game like that."

Indeed. Three weeks ago in Hamilton the Eskimos lost to the Tiger-Cats in exactly a game like that.

TERRY.JONES@SUNMEDIA.CA


Photos