'Gades snooze, they lose

Renegades QB Kerry Joseph tries to avoid Edmonton defenders Steven Marsh (left) and Kelly Wiltshire...

Renegades QB Kerry Joseph tries to avoid Edmonton defenders Steven Marsh (left) and Kelly Wiltshire during last night's game at Frank Clair Stadium. (Ottawa Sun/Geoff Robins)

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 12:12 AM ET

Not to say it was a bad night or anything, but Renegades coach and GM Joe Paopao had a brief assessment of his team's performance.

"Our best special teams tackle," he said after the Renegades' 29-21 loss to the Edmonton Eskimos at Frank Clair Stadium, "was by (Greg) Batty, our equipment guy."

That was when Batty ran onto the field to drop an apparently over-refreshed fan weaving around the field wearing a Pat Woodcock sweater.

Batty handled him okay, dropping him with a flourish.

The Renegades had trouble with the guy wearing the Tony Tompkins sweater for the Edmonton Eskimos. Tompkins stunned the Renegades with a 96-yard punt return for a touchdown late in the first half. He racked up 205 yards on eight returns on the night and returned two kickoffs for 54 yards.

Ouch!

'LIKE HOUDINI'

"You can't make tackles on a guy running like Houdini out there," said Paopao, who saw his team drop to 2-3. "He's pretty special. He made guys miss when we had guys in position. He was unbelievable.

"But we gave up the big plays and that's what we hadn't been doing ... and we have to convert in the scoring zone."

The Renegades took too long to get going on offence in the first half, settling for two singles by kicker Pat Fleming, who took over the field goal duties when Matt Kellett couldn't start because of a groin injury. (Fleming missed from 34 and 35 yards before hitting on a 12-yarder in the third quarter).

Eskimos quarterback Ricky Ray, meanwhile, completed touchdown passes of 14 yards to Ron McClendon and 25 yards Jason Tucker as the Eskimos opened up a 22-2 lead at the half.

"Against good teams like that, we can't give up that many points in the first half and not score ourselves," said Woodcock, who had seven catches for 98 yards and one touchdown last night after being blanked the last two games.

NOT ENOUGH TIME

"It was like the game against Montreal (when the Renegades came from behind in the fourth quarter). We just didn't leave ourselves enough time."

The Renegades rallied with a 35-yard touchdown pass by QB Kerry Joseph to Josh Ranek to give the Renegades a spark early in the second half.

But there was Tompkins again, returning the following kickoff for 34 yards to midfield and four plays later, Ray hit Trevor Gaylor for a 37-yard touchdown and, but for a brief flicker after Woodcock caught his first touchdown of the year (a 20-yarder) with a little more than a minute to go, that was it.

The news got worse on the injury front, too.

In addition to Kellett's loss (Paopao said the groin injury is probably serious enough to look at bringing in another kicker), the Renegades suffered injuries to Ranek (a shot to the knee; he should be okay for Friday's game against Saskatchewan), middle linebacker Keaton Cromartie (knee, out indefinitely), centre Mike Sutherland (broken hand, 2-3 weeks) and receivers Yo Murphy and Frank Cutolo (mild shoulder separations).


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