Kelly's streak is in jeopardy

Kelly Wiltshire

Kelly Wiltshire

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:43 AM ET

Kelly Wiltshire's streak of 142 consecutive games played might come to an end when the Renegades face the Stampeders during a key match Friday in Calgary. The Renegades' defensive leader hurt his left Achilles tendon while tackling quarterback Casey Printers at midfield in the third quarter of Saturday's 31-13 loss to the B.C. Lions at Frank Clair Stadium.

While he returned to action, which is usually the case with Wiltshire because of his high threshold for pain and his willingness to play hurt, he was beaten on a 20-yard touchdown pass to Jason Clermont later in the drive.

Wiltshire, who has lined up at safety this season, was used mainly as a linebacker during Saturday's game and Byron Capers took the safety position.

Renegades coach Joe Paopao said if Wiltshire is ready to play against Calgary, then he would likely be positioned as a linebacker.

The big question, however, is whether he'll be ready to go.

"I think I'll play, at least I'll be preparing like I will be," Wiltshire said yesterday following a workout at his gym.

POOR OUTING FOR DEFENCE

"To me, it's about winning games and it's not about the streak. I don't even care about the streak," he said.

Paopao said Wiltshire won't play if his injury is so severe that it would affect his performance.

"If it comes to a point where it becomes a liability to us, we'd have to consider (sitting) him," said the coach.

Wiltshire was part of a defence that allowed 446 yards on Saturday to the Lions, a team with arguably the best offence in the league.

The Renegades wanted an effort on defence similar to the one against Montreal in their previous game in which the Alouettes scored just one offensive touchdown in a 23-16 Ottawa loss.

The Lions struck early, scoring a TD on the second play from scrimmage on a 72-yard pass from Printers to Chris Brazzell.

Running back Antonio Warren gained 106 yards on 19 carries against an Ottawa defensive line that was working with only five men.

With Canadian defensive back Dave Donaldson out of the lineup due to injury, the Renegades had no option but to put an American in his spot because Donnie Ruiz and Shawn Gallant, also Canadians, were also hurt and unavailable.

"We've been up and down on defence," said Paopao. "We seemed to play solid earlier in the year. Last week, we looked like we were back on track, or at least close to how we should play, but we didn't play like we did the week before (on Saturday)."

'PLAYOFF IMPLICATIONS'

The Renegades acknowledge that a win against the 2-10 Stampeders on Friday is crucial in terms of advancing to the post-season for the first time in franchise history.

"This game has playoff implications for us," said Paopao.

"We're facing a team that has a great defence. That's been their consistency all season. On offence, they've struggled," he said.

"We can't worry about that. We have to worry about how to get our own house in order."

Asked if he has a group of players capable of making a run for a playoff spot, he responded, "We're going to find out soon."

RENEGADES NOTES: Paopao praised Samir Chahine and Ibrahim Khan for their work on the offensive line. Chahine made his first start for the Renegades and Khan filled in at centre for the injured George Hudson ... Paopao also indicated that the Renegades might take a look at a placekicker after Sandro Sciortino hooked a 17-yard attempt wide left on Saturday. "We've been wanting to bring a guy in for the last three or four weeks, at multiple positions," he said ... WR Pat Woodcock will have X-rays on the big toe of his left foot to see if there's a fracture. Woodcock said he dislocated the toe in the fourth quarter on Saturday. The injury could keep Woodcock out of the lineup for 2-3 weeks.

barre.campbell@ott.sunpub.com


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