The Legend of Jason!

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:22 AM ET

VANCOUVER -- Call it the Legend of Jason Maas. It's now grown into a story of magical, mythical, memory-making tell-your-grandchilden-about-the-day proportions.

The team player of all team players put his name on a game last week to get the Eskimos here and yesterday put his name on an even bigger game to get the Edmonton Eskimos back here this week to play in the 93rd Grey Cup game.

Unlike last week's story, which was rated general, this one was restricted adult.

Maas cursed a blue streak to get the Green and Gold to the Grey Cup the day after his 30th birthday.

Ten minutes remained in the Western final when rookie head coach Danny Maciocia walked over to Jason Maas and the back-up quarterback took off his dusty, battered baseball hat,threw it on the turf at B.C. Place and stuffed his ears into his helmet.

Edmonton had blown a 21-3 lead starting quarterback Ricky Ray had staked the team to just before the half. But all of a sudden the bi-polar Eskimos went south again. The score was tied 21-21. The body language on the Eskimos bench was brutal. But nothing compared to the language Maas would use when rookie head coach Danny Maciocia gave Ray the hook for a second game in a row and brought in his ace from the bullpen.

Maas received the word when the defence was on the field. He immediately turned and stomped to where the offensive line sat on the far end of the bench.

"He swore a lot," said Kevin Lefsrud. "He banged us on our head a lot. I'd give you the edited version, but with Jason there really isn't an edited version."

TRIED TO TRANSLATE

Bruce Beaton tried to translate.

"He was saying 'Let's go fight.' You could see the fire in his eyes. You can see the fire in his eyes when he plays checkers. But this was unbelievable fire."

Done with the offensive linemen, Maas, who brought the Eskimos back from 23-12 to win the West semi-final last week in Calgary, stormed to the other end of the bench and took on the receivers.

"There was a lot of swearing," said Ed Hervey.

"He basically was saying 'You guys get your heads out of your butts. I'm going to throw the ball to you and you better damn well catch it.' "

Steven Marsh intercepted on the 50-yard line of the B.C. Lions to set up Maas's entrance with 8:03 remaining.

Bingo. Bango. Bongo.

Five plays later he hit Trevor Gaylor in the endzone. And for the third time in the last four years, the 24th time in history, the 22nd in the modern day history dating back to 1949 -- and the 17th time during the remarkable 34-year run of being in the playoffs every season -- the Eskimos were back in the Grey Cup.

Maas was still swearing when he faced the media mob. "Danny wanted me to go in earlier," he said of the coach. "He said 'We need a spark.' Finally he said I was going in.

"I was pissed off. Shoot, that's my buddy coming out again. He'd been giving it everything he's got. He had passes dropped. He did score 21 points. I thought they should stick with him, that he'd pull it out.

"I was fired with rage. I play well when I'm pissed off. I play well in a rage.

"Somebody once told me 'Anger is your fuel.' I got as pumped up as I could get. To be honest I didn't feel all that going in. Not like last week in Calgary."

DONE IT AGAIN

When it was over, he'd done it again.

"I worked extremely hard for this," said the quarterback who threw three passes in the regular season (three-for-three) and was 15-for-18 last week and four for six in this one with touchdown passes in all of them while Ray has now gone seven games without a touchdown pass.

"When you play for the Eskimos you fully expect this," he said of getting to the Grey Cup game. "Anything else isn't good enough."

As much of a thrill as it was to get the Eskimos to this game with what he did last week, to bring the Eskimos back here this week for the Grey Cup was even better.

"This trumped that. And if we win the Grey Cup now, that will trump this, especially if I have something to do with it.

"I'd like to play in a Grey Cup. I've never played in a Grey Cup. I won two games off the bench and if I win a third I'm going to be just as happy."

That's the way it will have to work. The first words out of the mouth of Maciocia in the media interview room were "Ricky Ray starts the Grey Cup."


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