Kabongo gets flagged - twice

DEREK VAN DIEST; JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 10:21 AM ET

Patrick Kabongo's debut as starting right tackle for the Edmonton Eskimos didn't exactly start on the fight foot.

The hulking lineman was flagged not once, but twice on the opening drive of the game.

But he settled down to have a solid game and make head coach Danny Maciocia breathe easier. "I thought he played well," said Maciocia. "For the most part, I didn't notice him, which means he did a good job."

Although he had been tabbed to be Chris Morris's replacement this season, Kabongo hadn't played this year until last night and was a major question mark.

But that has been erased - and, apparently, so have concerns about the entire offensive line.

"I thought we did a great job giving Ricky a lot of time to set his feet and throw the football," said Maciocia. "He may have got hit once in three quarters of football. We are going to be fine up front. I am excited about our offensive line."

MCGRATH MELTDOWN: Left guard Joe McGrath snapped in the fourth quarter on Rider defensive lineman Dwan Epps, taking three penalties - holding and two unnecessary roughness calls - in two plays.

"I had been telling the refs all day that he had his hands in my face and I took it upon myself," said McGrath, "but it wasn't the smartest thing."

LATE HITS: Retired centre Kevin Lefsrud snuck into the Eskimo dressing room after the game. "It's a little different, usually I am a sweaty mess like the rest of the guys. It's nice," he said.

Lefsrud left the team this off-season because he decided to work the family farm, but money also played an issue. Is he going to come back?

"There is a chance, but there is a better chance I won't come back."

FINISH LINES: Veteran halfback Donald Brady left the game with a rib injury and was transported to hospital. His status for next week is unclear.

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NOTES

A.J. Gass wanted to get back on the field.

Having missed most of training camp due to the death of his mother, the Edmonton Eskimos middle linebacker was back last night.

Gass played in five defensive series and was in on special teams duty after having returned to Edmonton three days ago.

"This was the only opportunity he was going to get to go out there and hit somebody," said Eskimos head coach Danny Maciocia. "If we had any intentions of dressing him in our first game, he's going to have to see some game action.

"He was physically ready to go. I was more worried about his mental state, but he didn't have a problem in that area."

Gass had been in Tennessee this spring dealing with the death of his mother who died last month due to a hear defect.

"It was tough," Gass said. "My cardiovascular wasn't where it should be, and those are kind of things you only get by going into camp.

"The mental part was the easiest part. Once I was on the field I went right into football mode."

PUNTER GETS KICKS: Rodney Williams got his kicks in again last night for the Edmonton Eskimos.

The import punter averaged 45.3 yards on seven punts last night.

"I thought it went okay," Williams said. "I thought it could have went a lot better, but it was okay. I hope I did enough to stay. I keep saying I'm in control of the effort not the outcome."

Williams was brought into Edmonton to take some of the workload off Eskimos kicker Sean Fleming. "There is a reason why we kept him here this long. He's good," said Maciocia. "It's a 42-man roster so we'll see how things go."


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