Ol' time Eskies football

Terry Jones, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:03 AM ET

For those of you who were born after 1969, there it was – 1960s Edmonton Eskimos football.

Great defence. Good special teams. No offence.

It was a long and painful decade in Edmonton with no quarterbacks. But they won a few in the ’60s. And when they did it was exactly like the 19-15 win over Ricky Ray and the Toronto Argos which fell considerably short of entertaining 35,538.

But it was a win. And there haven't been many opening games in Eskimo history when it was so crucial that Edmonton win the opening game.

It was the Ricky Ray Game, the return of the future Hall of Fame quarterback for his first game as an Argo in a debut against his old team.

It was the same Ricky Ray we watched here on the back end of the last decade, playing behind brutal offensive lines with teams with a lack of top receivers and depth in that area.

Ray managed to put the Argos in a position to win the game in the second half despite his team taking 18 penalties for 118 yards.

He had a touchdown pass wiped out because of a penalty and the subsequent field goal wiped out because it hit the uprights.

That was the difference of winning and losing right there.

Ray ended up going 29 for 39 for 298 yards despite all that and nobody left the stadium thinking that Ray is losing any part of what has made him great.

“Ricky was smart with the football," said Eskimos head coach Kavis Reed.

“He was missing throws. There was a lot left out there,” he said of the simple offence the Eskimos had him run.

“Very simple,” said Reed. “We wanted it to be a defensive game.”

And nobody went away feeling like the Eskimos are going to be OK with Steven Jyles.

But they did go away knowing there was going to be a good defence to keep the Eskimos in games this year and they did leave having watched an Edmonton victory.

“It was very important to this team, a young team to get the win. A young team like this needs to be rewarded for the work they put in in,” said  Reed, a coach who is 0-4 for the pre-season and 2-0 for opening games.

“We knew the defence would battle. They did a good job controlling the passing game.

“Nobody knows the name of a lot of these guys. But they're a blue-collar group who comes to work. They're guys like Almodno Sewell,” he said of the defensive lineman who sacked Ray twice late in the game.

“Those guys flew around.

“Grant Shaw was absolutely clutch,” he said of the kicker who came with Jyles in the Ray trade. “He was a big reason for this win.”

Discipline was a big factor, too.

“That's one of the things we didn't really have in the pre-season. We knew we had to be disciplined to win the football game.”

terry.jones@sunmedia.ca

Twitter@SunTerryJones


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