Regrets? Eskimos have a few

Eskimos wide receiver Cary Koch misses a catch against the Stampeders at McMahon stadium in...

Eskimos wide receiver Cary Koch misses a catch against the Stampeders at McMahon stadium in Calgary, Alta., Sept. 3, 2012. (DARREN MAKOWICHUK/QMI Agency)

TERRY JONES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:59 AM ET

CALGARY - Grant Shaw grew up in Edmonton, teethed on Labour Day Classics. And his first was pretty much how he remembers them from watching as a kid.

But it wasn’t the way Shaw dreamed it would be for him when he came out to kick what was supposed to be the winning field goal in the CFL’s ultimate regular-season game, a staple for 47 years.

Maybe Shaw pictured it more like Jackie Parker, when the legend kicked a field goal that hung on the crossbar seemingly forever before it finally decided to fall over for an Eskimo win.

It was from 48 yards out against the wind. And he almost made it. But he didn’t.

“It was wide left. What do I say? It’s tough. It’s my job. It just missed,” he said of the shot which went 15 yards deep.

“It’s a battle. It’s two cities that don’t like each other. It’s two teams who don’t like each other. And it was everything I thought it would be that way,” said Shaw of the 31-30 Stampeders win on the final play of the game.

Which is to say it was just another, normal Labour Day Classic. It was wild and crazy and memorable and miserable, with a plethora of whoop-de-doos and what-was-he-thinkings in equal measure, led by Joe Burnett, who after watching Kavis Reed blow a gasket on national TV last week, did the same damn thing again in running a return out of the end zone late in this one.

Burnett also scored his second pick six and fourth interception of the year, so he’ll hear some applause in the film room, too.

Burnett will be the microcosm of both teams as they watch films Tuesday, and find as many mistakes they made as plays they made.

“The decision was not the right decision to bring the ball out,” said coach Kavis Reed, who was also not happy with gassing “a five-point lead with three minutes left.

“I have to give Calgary the edge, in that they did not make the mental mistakes we made,” he bottom-lined it.

“Emotionally and physically we played a good game. We could have won.”

J.C. Sherritt said there’s no way the Eskimos feel any way other than that they lost a football game they could have won.

“Regret is the thing right now,” said the middle linebacker, who added eight more tackles this day to make his total 78 at the half-way mark of the season, 20 ahead of the next closest player in the league.

Sherritt will be thinking about the one that got away as Jon Cornish beat him one-on-one out in the open for everybody to see for a 10-yard touchdown.

“It was 100% a play I should have made,” he said.

“He made the cut I thought he would have made. But he was strong enough that he broke my tackle. That’s 100% a play a linebacker in this league should make.”

One thing for sure: when the Eskimos watch the films, they’re going to see Kerry Joseph quarterback a game that is going to make it quite likely that Steven Jyles won’t be considered healthy enough to return as the starter in the rematch Friday at Commonwealth Stadium.

“If Jyles is not healthy Kerry will be our starter,” said Reed.

Joseph completed 17 of 27 passes for 311 yards and two touchdowns against an interception, found Fred Stamps for two big plays totalling 88 yards and ran for 30 more. It wasn’t Ricky Ray’s 32 for 45 for 375 yards, but it was Labour Day and for this afternoon at least, Kerry Joseph looked a lot younger than his birth certificate, which says he’ll turn 39 Oct. 4.

“I thought he had a game-winning performance,” said Reed of the quarterback who joined Calgary’s Kevin Glenn as having started in all three CFL versions of Labour Day Classics.

“We came up short in the end,” said Joseph.

“The biggest disappointment was not being able to get something going coming out of half time,” he said of completing one pass in the third quarter.

“We had the wind and they scored 14 points going into the wind while we were going two-and-out.”

Whether Reed wants it or not, the Eskimos have a quarterback controversy this week.

It’s an old football law that a player can’t lose his job because of an injury, but Kerry Joseph has earned the right to be behind centre for the rematch Friday.

Follow me on Twitter.com/sunterryjones

terry.jones@sunmedia.ca


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