Esks pride on the line

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:04 PM ET

As bad as things have gotten for the Edmonton Eskimos following a pair of losses to the Calgary Stampeders, it’s not nearly as concerning as how bad it could get.

With a rematch against the Stampeders set for Friday night in their third and final meeting of the regular season, is there any reason for the Eskimos to expect a different outcome following 56-15 and 52-5 losses?

“Yeah, because it’s pride,” said Eskimos head coach Richie Hall. “Because we’ve shown the ability two weeks ago when Saskatchewan was coming here and there were a lot of questions on our football team.”

The Eskimos answered back with a 17-14 victory to defeat the second-place team in the West Division.

“From a team perspective, I thought we played pretty good,” Hall said of their last victory. “We found a way to win, overcame adversity, played hard, played together. That’s what I expect and that’s what we demand from ourselves on Friday.”

Those expectations weren’t nearly met in the Labour Day Classic, as Hall tried to express how he felt at Commonwealth Stadium Tuesday, while players were given the day off of practice.

“Embarrassing, unacceptable, not happy with it, very disappointing, very frustrated,” Hall said. “All the adjectives that aren’t positive adjectives that coincide with what I just said.

“We can’t have it, plain and simple. It’s very disappointing the way that we went out there. Lack of execution, too many mistakes, lack of just playing fundamental football. And, you know, a high-school team could have beat us (Monday).”

The numbers don’t show why Friday should be any different.

The loss drops the Eskimos to 2-7 in a tie for last place in the West Division with the B.C. Lions, who are coming off a 38-17 upset over the East-leading Montreal Alouettes.

The Eskimos have given up a league-high 305 points, while scoring a league-low 167, while the Calgary Stampeders have scored a league-high 323 points and given up the fewest, 182.

A big reason for that discrepancy is the Stampeders lead the league in giveaways/takeaways at +9, while the Eskimos are at the bottom of the heap at an absurd -17.

In the East Division’s basement at 2-7, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers are in seventh place at -6 giveaways/takeaways and have given up the second most points in the league with 271. The Eskimos are the only team yet to score 200 points, making Friday’s game between the Stampeders and the Eskimos the best team in the league against the worst.

“Have I lost faith? No, I haven’t lost faith,” said Hall. “Let’s just say I’m just very frustrated regarding how our season has gone. Especially in a few games regarding not being able to just execute the fundamentals of football, and that’s tackling, blocking, catching, throwing and running.”

IN AND OUT: RB Arkee Whitlock and FB Chris Ciezki will miss Friday’s game after sustaining foot injuries Monday night in Calgary. SB Fred Stamps (shoulder) and RB Calvin McCarty are not expected to dress Friday either. SB Kelly Campbell (ankle) is expected to play Friday.

gerry.moddejonge@sunmedia.ca


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