Subs shine for Bombers

KIRK PENTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:24 AM ET

The first half of last night's game between the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Montreal Alouettes reminded everyone why there is a pre-season -- and why most folks (head coaches excluded) could do without it.

Even though the projected starters from both teams were on the field, the most offence they could muster over the first 30 minutes was five points.

Winnipeg led 3-2 at the break, but the substitutes were much better in the second half and the Bombers scored a 19-16 win in front of a soldout crowd of 29,533 at Canad Inns Stadium.

WASN'T NERVOUS

Troy Westwood's replacement, Alexis Serna, booted the game-winning field goal from 17 yards out with one second left. Serna finished the night 4-for-4, also hitting from 37, 22 and 15 yards.

"I wasn't nervous at all," Serna said. "I felt fine. Once I get my first kick out of the way, I'm usually fine for the rest of the game. ... It was nice (to kick the game-winner), and it was a whole lot of fun.

"Coming in here and making four in a row definitely boosts your confidence."

More importantly for the coaches, last night's clash was their second and final chance to evaluate the fringe players who are desperately seeking roster spots. The Bombers, who finished with a 1-1 pre-season record, open the main campaign next Friday night at home against the Toronto Argonauts.

Who will dress for the Blue and Gold a week from tonight will become much more clear tomorrow, when all CFL teams must trim their rosters to 46 active and seven practice squad players.

Head coach Doug Berry said he will spend the next 36 hours poring over game film to make what will likely be the toughest decisions of his three-year tenure in Winnipeg.

He and GM Brendan Taman also have to keep the $4.2-million salary cap in mind.

"If you want to take a risk and say, 'OK, we'll give away $100,000 at the end of the year and forfeit a draft choice ...," Berry said, "I don't think we're in a position to do that."

Most of Winnipeg's veterans didn't play in the pre-season opener against Hamilton, so last night's clash provided them an opportunity to get the rust off. And there was plenty of rust to lose.

Quarterback Kevin Glenn, playing for the first time since breaking his left arm in last year's East Division final, threw an interception on his first pass.

He then had a second pick on his fourth attempt, but he rebounded to complete 12 of 20 passes for 119 yards.

"That's what the game was for, to get out there and just get a chance to get a feel for game action again," Glenn said. "We played good. We moved the ball well. We just gotta capitalize on our opportunities and score more points."

Glenn was at the helm for Winnipeg's first drive of the third quarter before giving way to Ryan Dinwiddie, who showed for the second week in a row that the team should have confidence in its backup pivot.

Despite fumbling the handoff with Fred Reid on his first play of the night, Dinwiddie showed excellent scrambling ability and also completed nine of 14 passes for 167 yards, including a five-yard major toss to Kerry Johnson with four minutes left in the fourth.

Dinwiddie's highlight toss was a 49-yarder to Casey McGahee in the final minute that led to Serna's game-winner.

The other story line from last night's game revolved around new punter Duncan O'Mahony, who fumbled the ball on his second kick of the night and finished with a 40.6-yard average on five kicks.

His competition, import Brian Monroe, had a 51.5-yard mark on two punts and drew hearty cheers from the crowd.


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