Esks look to keep rolling
By Gerry Moddejonge, QMI Agency
|While the Eskimos hope to maintain the momentum from their semifinal win over calgary last weekend, going into the Western Final in B.C. they know their facing a strong opponent in the Lions. (Perry Mah, QMI Agency)
Hindsight may be 20-20, but it only counts as 1-0 for the Edmonton Eskimos.
Coming off a West Division semifinal win over the Calgary Stampeders last week has put them in the best situation, given they have already avoided a first-round departure from the playoffs.
Now, they are the ones coming into Sunday’s division final with some winning momentum, while the B.C. Lions enjoyed last week’s bye that came with their first-place finish.
But which team does that leave with the advantage?
“It can go either way, I’ve been on both sides of the bye-week situation,” said Eskimos head coach Kavis Reed. “A lot of teams would say we prefer not having a bye because of the stagnation that may creep in the next game. A lot of teams will say we need to heal.”
But the Eskimos aren’t a lot of teams, as only two are left in the West.
“For us, B.C. is a very good football team,” Reed said. “They’re playing at home. They play exceptionally well at home.
“We know that their best is going to be there.”
The same can’t be said for his Eskimos, however, now that they are without starting running back Jerome Messam due to a knee injury suffered in last week’s game.
That leaves the former Lions outcast without a happily-ever-after ending to his fairytale season, one that saw him become the first Canadian since 2000 to rush for 1,000 yards.
“Hopefully we’ll just kind of rally around that,” said Eskimos quarterback Ricky Ray. “We know how much this game would mean to Jerome going back to B.C. and playing in the Western final and a chance to go to the Grey Cup in B.C.
“We’ve got good players that can pick up the slack.”