Fundamentals pay off for Esks

GERRY MODDEONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:30 PM ET

Discipline was the key.

The Edmonton Eskimos cut down on penalty yardage Sunday, forcing the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to try and beat them on a level playing field.

The Eskimos only gave up 40 yards on four calls against them, far less than the 107 yards they gave to the opposition on average in each of their previous games this year.

“It’s just taking care of the little things,” said Eskimos head coach Richie Hall, whose squad is the sixth-worst when it comes to penalty yardage.

But on Sunday, they surrendered half the Hamilton Tiger-Cats’ 80 penalty yards.

“Being fundamentally sound, catching the ball, blocking. Nothing fancy, it’s just doing our job at a high level.

“It’s nice to see our football team — offensively, defensively and special teams — coming together and being able to play as a group because we’ve been up and down. Now, to be able to do it week in and week out, that’s what we’ve got to be able to do.”

The Eskimos are only beginning to realize the confidence that comes with winning, something they’ve only been able to do twice in the first half, but now find themselves coming off of two in a row.

“To me, we’ve been a different football team ever since we came back from the (bye-week) break,” Hall said. “Sometimes it’s translated into wins, sometimes it hasn’t. But I just think that we’re growing closer together and becoming a better team in the locker-room and it’s starting to transpire out on the field.”

WHAT PRESENCE? Happy belated birthday to Hall, who celebrated he big five-oh on Monday by not only going on his first winning streak of the season, but also successfully having it go under the radar at Commonwealth Stadium. After all, there would have been an entire roster worth of players willing to give him the birthday bumps.

“They had the day off,” Hall smiled. “The least of them that know, the better.”

– Moddejonge


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