A wacky way to win

TERRY JONES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:47 AM ET

MONCTON, N.B. — Calvin McCarty has the same motto as the Boy Scouts.

Be prepared.

The Canadian has come to accept his gig as second banana in the Edmonton Eskimos feature running back business. Be ready when you get the call. Be ready when you get the ball. Then come through big-time when it does happen.

McCarty was not the only Eskimo to do that as they won their third game of the season and the first-ever neutral site regular-season game in CFL history 24-6 over the Toronto Argos here Sunday.

But with 10 carries for 84 yards and two touchdowns, plus 34 more yards in pass receiving and a touchdown called back by penalty, he more than did his fair share.

“It’s not like I haven’t been in this spot before. This is my fourth year in a row,” said the super sub, who is replacing Arkee Whitlock for the rest of the season.

“You show them you can play. You wait for the opportunity,” he said.

It might have been the last opportunity for the Eskimos to be counted as a playoff contender if Edmonton had lost.

“I’m really proud of the guys. Knowing the B. C. Lions had won Saturday night made this an even bigger game,” said head coach Richie Hall.

The first ever Touchdown Atlantic game had some memorable moments. Not to be confused with great moments.

Going six-for-six, Ricky Ray marched the Eskimos 90 yards on 12 plays and was three yards away from the first touchdown on first possession when Brad Lester fumbled on the three after ripping off a 20-yard gain.

Still, to get out of the first quarter with a 0-0 score was a major triumph for the team which had been outscored 92-23 in initial stanzas while the Argos were 62-30.

Lester was stopped on a third-down gamble in the second quarter for the second turnover of the game which left Edmonton with a ridiculous minus-24 for the season in the giveaway/takeaway statistics.

But then, in a year when the green and gold has been seriously short of good fortune, Chris Thompson tipped a pass into the arms of Rod Davis who ran it back 73 yards for a touchdown, Thompson almost bringing him down as he tried to push him on his way.

“He scared the hell out of me,” said Davis.

A pass interference call on Lawrence Gordon, who injured his left elbow in the process, set the Argos up on the one-yard line for a Jeff Johnson plunge for the touchdown. But a rare blocked convert by Greg Peach kept the Eskimos in the lead 7-6.

The most bizarre play of this very different day was when Elliott Richardson appeared to score an 87-yard interception on the last play of the first half. It was reviewed to see if he was down by contact when he picked it off. But no problem there. However, his knees had made contact with the grass on the one when Jeff Johnson hauled him down en route to the endzone. And time had expired.

“That was one of the greatest plays of the year, running that guy down,” said Argos’ coach Jim Barker.

It became an even more goofy game when Thompson picked off his sixth pass of the season to take the Eskimos to the Toronto 21-yard line only to have Ray throw an endzone interception from the five with Jamaica Rector getting knocked off his route.

Toronto marched the ball deep only to have Cleo Lemon throw an interception to Jason Goss.

It became almost slapstick when Ricky Ray and Calvin McCarty combined for a 41-yard touchdown pass-and-run play on a third-down gamble. It was brought back on a Mathieu Bertrand illegal interference blocking penalty downfield.

Finally, in the fourth quarter, the Eskimos managed to get one into the end zone that counted — a 45-yard McCarty run to provide a 17-6 lead.

Ray followed up a fifth interception of the six-interception Eskimos game — the second of the game by Richardson — with a six-play, 70-yard drive, finishing it off with McCarty scoring from the one.

All of a sudden, it was a 24-6 Eskimos advantage which would hold up for the win.

terry.jones@sunmedia.ca


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