CFL mid-season awards

IAN BUSBY, CALGARY SUN

, Last Updated: 7:55 AM ET

The Labour Day weekend is the unofficial halfway point of the season, so it's time to dole out some awards. In this process, every team gets a prize.

Best game goes to Calgary and B.C. for a thrilling 45-45 overtime draw. The Lions also share best fight with the Eskimos for Rob Murphy and Adam Braidwood duking it out. Saskatchewan wins several awards -- best start, defence and coaching staff -- but also takes best collapse for blowing a 19-point lead in Edmonton.

Best game-winning field goal goes to Montreal for slotback Ben Cahoon's emergency OT boot. Best ratio-changing player goes to Hamilton running back Jesse Lumsden for proving Canadians can carry the mail. Best broken record goes to Milt Stegall for setting the all-time TD mark, while Winnipeg also gets best offence.

Best losing streak goes to Toronto, who plummeted without Michael Bishop, but it also collects best missed field-goal returners for Dominique Dorsey and Bashir Levingston.

OPENING DRIVE

For his 300th career game, referee Murray Clarke threw almost as many flags. Clarke oversaw the crew that doled out 31 penalties as Montreal beat Hamilton, but the officiating crew wasn't at fault. If not for sloppy play on both sides, there wouldn't have been as many flags. Officials have taken too much heat this season for calling the rulebook properly ... It appears the hometown Grey Cup drought will continue if the Argos can't get their ship turned around immediately. More often than not, the team hosting the championship wilts under pressure but the Argos went into a tailspin when Michael Bishop went down with a broken wrist. Toronto has lost five straight for the first time since 1995. No Cup-hosting team has won the title since B.C. did it in 1994 ... Most people around the league like the bye-week format in which the West Division was off this weekend, following a break for the entire East Division. Montreal coach Jim Popp also likes the schedule, but thinks it's a bit unfair his Alouettes travel cross-country to face the rested Lions Friday. If Popp had his way, he would change it so the West takes the bye first next year. "All of a sudden teams have a week off to prepare and they play a team which has played that week or has had a short week," said Popp, who maybe forgot his club already caught the Stamps on a short week at home for what turned out to be an easy win.

ENDZONE TOSS

It shouldn't be surprising that Ben Sankey emerged as the emergency replacement QB for the B.C. Lions. Wally Buono brought Sankey into the CFL with the Stamps before the pivot tried his luck in the NFL, plus Lions QBs coach Jamie Barresi coached Sankey at Wake Forest. It would be a great comeback story if Sankey eventually became a starter ... Because no team seems to throw in Byron Parker's direction this season, the Argos decided to play jump ball with the defensive back on offence. The move paid off against Winnipeg as Parker used his amazing leaping ability to snag a TD pass at Canad Inns Stadium. Parker took the league by storm last season after returning from an NFL stint, picking off eight passes and returning four for scores in just 10 games, but he's been shut out of INTs this season ... Former Hamilton veterans Mike Morreale and Rob Hitchcock have decided to officially retire after being released in training camp. The Ticats will honour both for their 12-year CFL careers during the Labour Day matchup with the Argos.

EXTRA POINTS

The Stampeders made more moves yesterday, releasing Canadian OL Tyler Lynem, a four-year veteran backup. They haven't made a long-term decision on the punting situation, although Duncan O'Mahony will play Monday against the Eskimos ... The Roughriders defence faces a tough task in their Labour Day double-header: Stopping RB Charles Roberts from getting just the 49 yards he needs to move past Leo Lewis as Winnipeg's franchise rushing leader ... New 'Riders returner Corey Holmes admitted his heart was still in Regina while playing the past year and a half with Hamilton. "When I saw those (Roughriders) guys playing on TV, sometimes I had to turn off the TV, just because I feel like I should be a part of that team."


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