Argos work to level playing field for kids

Toronto Argonauts Cleo Lemon is greeted by students at Sir Robert L. Borden Business & Technical...

Toronto Argonauts Cleo Lemon is greeted by students at Sir Robert L. Borden Business & Technical Institute. (Ernest Doroszuk/QMI AGENCY)

BILL LANKHOF, Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 11:19 PM ET

For the Argonauts, it was just another day at the office. For kids at three Scarborough high schools it was a window on another world.

For the first time in two decades, the Argos moved their practice to Scarborough’s Sir Robert Borden Institute yesterday. The Argos have been working to rejuvenate football programs in Toronto high schools and help at-risk youth.

“This is a school where a lot of the kids have had difficult challenges in life ... A lot of these kids come from difficult socio-economic situations. Many of the families are on social assistance and its a high crime area. It’s a hard cycle to get out of,” Borden principal Anthony Hack said.

The Argos’ Level The Playing Field program, along with Tim Hortons, has restored football programs to Robert Borden — a business and technology institute with 550 students — Thistletown Collegiate and Downsview Secondary.

Last year, the program brought back teams to four other schools and $80,000 has also helped programs in 10 other schools.

“I’ve noticed a big of difference already with the players and we’ve only had three practices,” Hack said. “And we hope that translates into the whole student body.”

Players signed autographs for the students after practice.

TAG-team backfield

Cory Boyd won’t play Sunday against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

The league’s leading rusher will be replaced by Bryan Crawford, and when he’s not getting the ball, Jeff Johnson and Mike Ford.

“I’m a very creative coach,” chuckled Jim Barker, trying to make the best of a lousy situation.

While he isn’t saying so, strength in numbers might be nice, but it doesn’t replace the league’s top rusher. Boyd is out with his third concussion of the season, although Barker says the good news is that he “has no symptoms and no headaches. We just don’t want to take any chances.”

Quick hits

The offence the Argos thought they were getting could finally make its debut in full next weekend in Moncton. Jeremaine Copeland will be back and Reggie McNeal is also expected to be fully healed. As well, Boyd is expected to return giving Cleo Lemon a complete offensive arsenal — assuming, that is, nobody else gets hurt ... The Argos have re-signed defensive tackle Walter Curry and he practiced with the club yesterday. He was among the final cuts by the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars. Curry played five games last year with Toronto ... Copeland practised yesterday and it’s likely he will be back for Sunday’s game ... Adriano Belli and McNeal remain day-to-day.

— Lankhof


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