Vercheval honoured by Eskimos

CON GRIWKOWSKY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:51 AM ET

EDMONTON - Call him Lucky Pierre.

This road trip turned out to be a bit more special for former Eskimos offensive lineman Pierre Vercheval.

And, it had nothing to do with the fact that this season marks his 10th as a colour commentator for RDS, the French language version of TSN.

This time through, Vercheval was summoned into the Eskimos locker room for a special treat.

There, hanging on the wall on a gallery of former Eskimos inducted into the CFL Hall of Fame.

The gallery is nearing completion and apparently the guys in charge of putting it up checked the schedule and were sharp enough to notice the Als were in town Friday night.

Vercheval, who got the call from the Hall in 2007, spotted his larger-than-life mugshot.

“Didn’t have any grey hairs on my head,” said Vercheval, giving a thumbs-up for the choice of portrait. “I saw the locker room when we came through here last year and it’s pretty impressive.”

Vercheval had developed quite a following on RDS and like his TSN counterpart Chris Schultz is called on for expert analysis on the NFL.

“It’s a great job and it keeps me in football,” said Vercheval. “You just sit back in the chair and nobody’s coming at you, trying to hit you.”

Great timing, though, breezing through town the same week the gallery’s being unveiled.

Vercheval played the first five years of his career (1988-1992) with the Eskimos. He made a stop in Toronto before finishing his playing career with Montreal in 2001.

Vercheval holds the distinction of being the first Francophone player to be inducted into the CFL Hall of Fame.

THE GOOD NEWS

Even though there were a few bombs thrown Friday night, there were no satellite fragments falling from the sky on Commonwealth Stadium.

TICKETS, PLEASE

How’s that for gratitude?

After all the tickets Als linebacker/special teams player Curtis Dublanko sold to friends and relatives for Friday’s tilt, he was a game-day scratch.

Dublanko grew up and played minor football in Leduc with Esks special teams stud Corbin Sharun.

Ironically, a Leduc minor football team took part in a mini-game during the half-time break.

MIX IT UP

Since Ricky Ray had all four of his import receivers back since Week 4, he marked the occasion by giving them all a shot on the Esks first drive.

In order, he welcomed back his Four Horsemen, throwing to Fred Stamps, Jason Barnes, Adarius Bowman and Marcus Henry.

Busted up the rhythm, though, by tossing to Stamps before Henry. Two-yard loss. That’ll learn him.

ICING CALL

OK, we get the picture. It’s almost hockey season.

Still, that’s no reason for the score to be 1-1 for most of the first period, er, quarter.

Montreal’s Ramon Guzman scores a safety after Ray bobbled the ball in the end zone.

3-1 with 3:49 to go. 4-1 after Sean White missed the top left corner from 47 yards out.

Ray tried the old fumble-and-run play again in the third quarter. This time it worked! He rattled off a 12-yard gain and a first down after picking up the ball on the first bounce.

AVON WHO?

Als running back Brandon Whittaker slammed the ball into the turf in frustration, stuffed by the Eskimos defence the play after he rattled off a 15-yard first down.

Made up for it, though, when QB Anthony Calvillo lofted up a soft one into the end zone on a speed mismatch against Esks linebacker JC Sherritt. Followed up with his second TD catch of the second quarter. Wide open on that one, too.

Got his third in the fourth. On the ground this time.

CFL’s yards from scrimmage leader adds to his total.

DESIGNED PLAY

At least that’s what one press box wag called a fumble by Esks running back Mathieu Bertrand recovered by offensive lineman Kyle Koch in first-down territory.

Trouble is, the rule book got in the way. Fumbled ahead. Bertrand was charged with a one-yard loss.

WHERE DID THE KIDS GO?

Used to be Schools Night would fill up Commonwealth Stadium for the Labour Day rematch.

Still, a mob of 40,274 is second-best this year behind the season-high 45,000-plus that showed up for the Stamps tilt earlier this month.

con.griwkowsky@sunmedia.ca


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