Esks' Charles impressive
By Gerry Moddejonge, QMI Agency
|Edmonton Eskimos running back Hugh Charles runs the ball past BC Lions linebacker Solomon Elimimian (L) during the first half of their CFL Western Conference Final football game in Vancouver, British Columbia November 20, 2011. (REUTERS/Ben Nelms)
Hugh Charles showed how quick he is on Sunday.
Now he just hopes his time with the Edmonton Eskimos isn’t.
Filling the big shoes of the injured Jerome Messam in Sunday’s West Final, the five-foot-eight, 190-pound running back made his first post-season start in his four-year career.
It was also a job audition for the former Saskatchewan Roughrider, who was traded to Edmonton late in the season.
“Any time you have a main role, it’s a resume,” said Charles. “A lot of guys become free agents, as in my case, at the end of the season so you want to be able to play a good game.
“You’re only as good as your last play.”
While his last play was an incomplete pass from Ricky Ray, Charles came up with some big-yard gains that showed big heart.
“I think I did all right,” said Charles, who had 53 yards on eight carries, along with two receptions for 28 yards. “One of my main goals is getting in the end zone. That didn’t happen.”
He caught a pass out of the backfield that he turned into a 25-yard gain and clipped off a 36-yard rush that bumped his per-carry average up to 6.6 yards on the night.
On both of those, Charles showed he wasn’t one to go down after a little — and even a lot — of contact.
But in the end, his efforts weren’t enough to avoid the playoff loss.
“He’s done a really good job,” said right guard Chris Patrick. “He does everything well, he’s up to speed in like two steps and he’s an exciting player to watch.
“Him compared to Messam, it’s a great one-two punch. You see that down in the NFL a lot. He complements our offence really well.”