Eskimos keep playoff hopes alive

Eskimos Jason Goss chases down Argonauts Steve Schmidt during CFL action in Edmonton, Alta., Oct....

Eskimos Jason Goss chases down Argonauts Steve Schmidt during CFL action in Edmonton, Alta., Oct. 30, 2009. (Amber Bracken/Sun Media)

GERRY MODDEJONGE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:10 AM ET

They ruined the Toronto Argonauts' playoff hopes two weeks ago and kept their own alive last night.

The Edmonton Eskimos beat the Double Blue black and blue, to the tune of 36-10.

"It was a great win because we've been struggling lately," said Eskimos head coach Richie Hall. "Our backs are to the wall and we felt like cats out there.

"For once we won in a convincing manner. I'm real happy for the guys to sit there and know it wasn't coming down to the last play of the game to decide our fate."

Eskimos running back Arkee Whitlock regained his form from the last meeting -- his best performance of the season at 145 rushing yards --once again last night.

Whitlock, who surpassed the 100-yard rushing mark, put his team ahead 10-0 with an eight-yard touchdown run that was set up by a fumbled Argos snap. Eskimos linebacker Tim St. Pierre pounced on the pile and came up with the recovery at Toronto's 32-yard line.

A 24-yard connection from Ricky Ray to slotback Kamau Peterson brought Whitlock within scoring range.

Following the fumbled snap, the Argonauts brought in backup quarterback Stephen Reaves in the second quarter.

But it was Ray taking over the show with a pair of back-to-back receptions to slotback Fred Stamps, for 20 and 34 yards, to sustain a six-play, 80-yard scoring drive. It ended with an eight-yard reception by Jason Barnes for his first CFL touchdown to put the Eskimos ahead 17-0.

The two sides traded field goals before the Argos found a barn door of their own left open at the end of the half when Reaves connected with receiver Chad Lucas, who fell to the ground under cover of cornerback Jason Goss and managed to hang onto the ball between his calves.

The Eskimos took a 20-10 lead into halftime.

But the defence made up for things on the first play from scrimmage in the third quarter when linebacker T.J. Hill returned a 58-yard interception into the end zone.

"Any time you score on defence that's a plus," said Hill, who also had a pair of tackles. "At the beginning of the season, we started off late creating turnovers, but now we're starting to create a lot of turnovers.

"With us creating something and putting points on the board."

Cornerback Byron Parker followed up with an interception of his own on a pass intended for Lucas on their next drive.

It was enough to make Reaves leave the game and put Joseph back under centre, but he was no more productive as the third quarter closed out 27-10.

Reaves finished his first regular-season appearance completing 10 of 16 pass attempts for 122 yards, a touchdown and the pair of picks.

Three more field goals put the Eskimos ahead 36-10.

In his first start this season, Derek Schiavone hit a pair of field goals from distances of 12, 14, 23, 28 and 33 yards in the place of Noel Prefontaine, who sat out with a bruised kicking ankle.

GERRY.MODDEJONGE@SUNMEDIA.CA


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