Long wait for Kamau

CON GRIWKOWSKY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:37 AM ET

If you figure it's been a long time since the Edmonton Eskimos have been in the playoffs, try walking in Kamau Peterson's shoes.

Peterson has been in the CFL since 2001.

This year is the first time in seven years Peterson's been on a playoff-bound team.

Peterson missed the playoffs twice with Calgary, once with Winnipeg, twice with Hamilton and here last year before finally hitting the jackpot this season.

"It's been a long time coming," said Peterson, who said he was unaware the Esks had clinched the spot when Winnipeg beat Toronto in the earlier game Friday night.

"We wanted to go in on our own merit, so we weren't really concerned about it."

You'd figure he'd be giddy about the prospect, but Peterson knows there's a long way to go.

"It's nice, but it's not an easy route," said Peterson. "None of them are going to be easy, but we want to make it as easy as possible. We want to finish first in the West if we can. It's still available to us, so we want to make it happen."

There was a time when the Eskimos being in the playoff picture was not a big deal.

For 34 straight years, Eskimos in the playoffs usually went together like horse and buggy.

It was a given until the last two years.

Even since training camp, it's been a long, hard battle getting back into contention.

So, when the Eskimos beat B.C. to create a four-way tie for first place in the West, the only remaining question to be played out is where the team will finish.

In the last couple of starts, the Eskimos seemed to have turned their season in the right direction after losing four of their previous five games.

It's been suggested in some quarters that the Eskimos may have caught their opponents on an off-day.

Look at the other side of it.

Winnipeg came into Commonwealth a couple of weeks back riding a three-game winning streak and the Eskimos made them look ordinary.

Last Friday night in B.C. Place, the Esks beat a team on a five-game winning streak in their own building.

That's eight straight wins by two opponents whose streaks were snapped by the Eskimos. There's got to be a bit more to it than catching an over-confident opponent.

"It feels good to know you're going to be playing in post-season play," said head coach Danny Maciocia, who deserves credit for finding a way to straighten out a trouble spot that's helped the team become competitive in the Wild West.

"The past couple of seasons have been fairly difficult ones for us. We're happy about it, but having said that we have three games to go and every single one of these contests are going to be crucial if you want to move up in the standings."

Since the only place to move up in the standings is first place overall, that's the prize the Esks are keeping their eyes on.

"If there's a pecking order, it's try to get into the playoffs, try to secure a home game and then hopefully, try to win the division," said Maciocia.

Somebody may have to find a crowbar to pry the teams apart before it's all done, so the pressure of nailing down a playoff spot is gone.

"It's a great feeling," said quarterback Ricky Ray. "The last years have been tough here and not very much fun. We know we're in the game now.

"Your first goal is to make sure you get in the playoffs and make sure you have a chance at the Grey Cup.

"We've done that. Obviously, winning first place is a goal that every team has, because it makes it that much easier to get to the big game. Now that we've got he playoffs out of the way, we're focused on first place."


Videos

Photos