New kid's got game

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:02 AM ET

Lavarus Giles has made Winnipeg's running back situation even muddier.

Then again, perhaps he's made it crystal clear, which would not be good news for either Fred Reid or Joe Smith.

Giles, the 23-year-old rookie tailback hopeful, ran roughshod over the Montreal Alouettes last night at Montreal's Molson Stadium, dashing 12 times for 161 yards, including a 77-yard touchdown run on a draw play in the second quarter.

Montreal won the pre-season finale for both teams by a 31-27 score in front of 20,202 spectators, but Giles just may have won himself a job with the Bombers.

Incumbent Winnipeg running backs Reid and Smith both sat out their second straight pre-season games last night, and one of them might not be a Bomber for much longer after Giles' second straight sparkling performance.

The 6-foot-2, 215-pound tailback out of Jackson State had 14 carries for 77 yards and two scores in last week's pre-season victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, and his performance last night will make it almost impossible for the Bomber brass to cut him loose.

All eight CFL teams must submit their 46-man roster and seven-member practice squad by 2 p.m. tomorrow. The Bombers have 62 players in camp, which means they have to trim only between seven and nine players, depending on injuries.

Winnipeg opens the regular season next tomorrow in Edmonton against the Eskimos.

Giles, who was on Calgary's practice roster late last season, finished with a two-game total of 26 carries, 238 yards and three touchdowns in the pre-season, meaning his average per carry was a whopping 9.2 yards. The other rookie running back, Yvenson Bernard, didn't show as well last night, carrying seven times for 29 yards, including a one-yard touchdown run.

Giles also took some turns at returner last night, bringing back three kickoffs for 71 yards. Jonathan Hefney, who is pushing for a roster spot on defence, also returned three kicks, but his total was slightly better, at 84 yards.

Defensive back Jovon Johnson, meanwhile, returned three punts for 13 yards, so the Bombers don't appear any closer to finding a returner than they were before last night's match.

Bombers starting quarterback Stefan LeFors, who last week was officially appointed No. 1 by head coach Mike Kelly, played the first half and one series in the third quarter. He wasn't as sharp as he was against Hamilton last week, completing nine of 21 passes for 145 yards. He had an interception in the first quarter that was returned 80 yards for a touchdown by Alouettes linebacker Diamond Ferri.

Both Bomber backups, Bryan Randall and Richie Williams, completed two of five passes. Wiliams had 36 yards, while Randall had 23.

The kicking situation appears set, as Alexis Serna was good on three of four field-goal attempts, connecting from 38, 41 and 23 yards, and missing from 45. Punter Mike Renaud booted the ball seven times for a 46.4-yard average and had a 51-yard single.

LATE HITS: The Bombers may have suffered a significant loss on the offensive line, as sophomore left guard Brendon LaBatte went down with an upper-body injury in the first half and didn't return. He will be evaluated further today ... Winnipeg had 407 yards of total offence, compared to 331 for Montreal ... Linebacker Joe Lobendahn had six tackles and a sack ... Adarius Bowman was Winnipeg's top receiver, hauling in four catches for 57 yards. Derick Armstrong had two receptions for 45 yards ... Anthony Calvillo started at quarterback for the Alouettes, going 4-for-5 for 60 yards and a touchdown.


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