Bomber six-pack rewarded

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:42 AM ET

Their season came to a premature conclusion, but several Winnipeg Blue Bombers can bask in the glow of strong individual campaigns.

Six members of the Blue and Gold were named CFL East Division all-stars yesterday, including the four who won all six Bomber team awards earlier this month.

Defensive tackle Doug Brown, running back Fred Reid, left guard Brendon La-Batte, cornerback Jovon Johnson, and defensive backs Jonathan Hefney and Lenny Walls all made the cut.

It was Brown's sixth division all-star nod, and Reid's second. The other four were first-time selections.

The Football Reporters of Canada, CFL head coaches and fans from across the country, who represented 25% of the final tally, voted on the all-stars.

All division all-stars are now eligible for league-wide all-star honours, which will be announced next Tuesday.

Johnson, who was Winnipeg's most outstanding player and top special teamer this season, had six interceptions (one of which he returned 73 yards for a touchdown), 75 tackles, 10 pass knockdowns and two tackles for a loss.

Brown, the team's most outstanding Canadian and defensive player, was named a division all-star for the sixth time. He had 52 tackles, which were the third-most among CFL defensive linemen, and six sacks.

Fewest sacks

LaBatte, who was voted Winnipeg's top offensive lineman, started all 18 games this season and played on a line that allowed the fewest sacks and rushed for the third-most yards.

Hefney, the team's most outstanding rookie, played the demanding weak-side halfback position and recorded four interceptions, 66 tackles, 10 pass knockdowns and two tackles for a loss.

Reid, who earned his second all-star selection, finished second in league rushing with 1,371 yards and seven touchdowns on 238 carries. His 5.8-yard average tied for third-best among the league's eight starting tailbacks.

Walls, who came to Winnipeg in a May trade with Calgary, led the East Division with seven interceptions (one he returned for a major), and also had a fumble recovery he returned for a touchdown, 47 tackles and three pass knockdowns.

MORE PRAISE: The honours didn't stop at division all-star yesterday for Johnson, who was named the CFL's special team's player of the month for October and early November.

Johnson had two return touchdowns during that span, returning a punt 79 yards for a score against Montreal on Oct. 24 and taking back a missed field goal 118 yards against Edmonton on Oct. 2.

The Erie, Pa., native had a 34.2-yard kickoff return average and a 9.7-yard punt return mark.

Johnson, who is eligible to become a free agent in February, was named CFL special teams player of the week a whopping three times in October.

Hamilton quarterback Kevin Glenn, the former Bomber who eliminated his old team from playoff contention on Sunday, was named the offensive player of the month, while Ticats defensive end Justin Hickman scooped up the defensive award.

Saskatchewan Roughriders slotback Andy Fantuz was named Canadian of the month.

MORE PRAISE AHEAD?: The CFL today will announce its division nominees for the major player awards.

kirk.penton@sunmedia.ca


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