Ugly trench battle

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:13 AM ET

The numbers on the McMahon Stadium scoreboard were ugly for the Edmonton Eskimos, but so was the battle score in the trench.

The Calgary Stampeders' front seven registered five sacks and countless more hits on Eskimo pivot Ricky Ray yesterday afternoon during a 44-23 drubbing.

On top of that, Ray found himself scrambling for his life at times. In fact, the highest-paid quarterback in the league ran four times for 36 yards, just six yards less than running back Troy Davis.

"I don't know if we wore him down with the hits or he wore himself down running around like he did," said Stampeder defensive tackle Sheldon Napastuk. "Ray just never got into a rhythm.

"He came out throwing accurate strikes and had us on our heels. Then the DBs locked it down and the pressure just started getting to him."

Without Dan Comiskey -- one of the top guards in the league -- because of post-concussion symptoms, the Esks were forced to start CFL rookie Raleigh Roundtree yesterday. Already having to deal with the loss of veterans Kevin Lefsrud, Chris Morris and Bruce Beaton due to retirement, Joe McGrath was the only member on the line yesterday who regularly started for the Esks last year.

"I think we did all right when the game was close," stated Roundtree. "Once the game got a little bit out of hand they had a chance to throw more things at us. The game plan we prepared for was good to go. But once we got to the second and long all the time it was pretty tough to keep up with what they were doing."

Ray tipped his battered helmet to the Stamps' front seven.

"(Calgary) did a good job, got some pressure on us, got some sacks and kind of kept our drives (stalling)," he said.

FINISH LINES: After recording a whopping nine sacks against the B.C. Lions on Aug. 18, the Esks' front four was shut out yesterday.


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