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Sunday, July 15, 2018

BOMBERS COLLAPSE, LIONS TAKE 20-17 WIN AT HOME

Photo: CFL.ca
VANCOUVER - Travis Lulay's first start in nearly 10 months didn't get off to an encouraging start.

The veteran quarterback and his B.C. Lions waited until the third quarter to trigger the offence, scoring 20 unanswered points in the second half for a 20-17 come-from behind victory over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Saturday.

Winnipeg was up 17-0 at the break and looked to have the win within reach, but timely turnovers by the Bombers and a strong drive from the returning Lulay late in the game set up Ty Long's 16-yard field goal as time expired.

"We just hunkered down,'' said Lulay. "It's gut check time and we found a way to make enough plays to win.''

Saturday was Lulay's first start of the year after he underwent off-season knee surgery. He got the nod over a struggling Jonathon Jennings against the Bombers and threw for 326 yards, including one touchdown pass and one interception.

Long's field goal gave the Lions (2-2) a split in the home-and-home series, and snapped the team's two-game losing skid.

The Bombers, who beat the Lions 41-19 last week in Winnipeg, fell to 2-3 with the loss.

Bombers quarterback Matt Nichols was picked off three times, while throwing for 214 yards. All told, Winnipeg had five turnovers.

"We killed ourselves,'' Nichols said. "Everything we could do wrong we did wrong and still barely lost. I feel like it was a game we had every opportunity to win and we made more than too many mistakes.''

The game had barely started when Winnipeg running back Andrew Harris, a former Lion, sprinted 37 yards down the sideline for a touchdown.

B.C. responded by steadily working its way down the field, but Lulay missed badly on a throw to the end zone and it was intercepted by Kevin Fogg.

Harris added another touchdown in the first half.

Winnipeg kicker Justin Medlock recovered from an early missed field goal with a 50-yarder to extend the Bombers lead to 17.

Meanwhile, the Lions were their own worst enemy. Lulay threw to Bryan Burnham in the end zone at the end of the first half, but the receiver couldn't hang on to the ball, preventing B.C. from scoring any points.

The Lions finally put some points on the board in the final minutes of the third quarter thanks to quarterback Cody Fajardo, who reached over a massive pile on the goal line for a touchdown.

Long's field goal at the start of the fourth narrowed the deficit to 17-10.

With just minutes to go in the game, Lions wide receiver Shaq Johnson hauled in a pass from Lulay, evaded a tackler and stretched into the end zone for a 13-yard touchdown to tie it.

"I just wasn't going to be denied,'' Johnson said. "I knew where we were inside the red zone and I wanted to get in there to help my team out.''

The crowd rose to its feet minutes later when B.C. defensive back Anthony Orange intercepted a Nichols pass, giving the Lions a chance to win the game in regulation despite never leading once.

The Lions seized the opportunity, with Lulay throwing 38 yards to Burnham, who recovered from his earlier drop and held tight to the football, putting the Lions back in scoring position. The Bombers challenged for offensive pass interference, but the call on the field stood, allowing the Lions to kick the winning field goal with no time left.

Lulay credited the Lions defence with forcing turnovers that allowed for key plays in the fourth quarter.

"That was huge. That's team football. That's how you win football games,'' he said.

It was those costly mistakes that decided the game, said Bombers coach Mike O'Shea.

"We played a good first half. We didn't really play in the second half,'' he said. "Four give aways, three (unnecessary roughing) penalties and turnovers, its tough to win like that.''

Lions coach Wally Buono was frustrated with the way his team played in the first half, despite the win.

"Everything you can imagine we did to give the game away,'' he said, noting that Winnipeg is a skilled team that's going to move the football.

Lulay's return was important and the veteran quarterback ran the offence efficiently, Buono added.

"Travis is a veteran. He's a very cerebral guy and he knows what to do with the football.''

The Lions could be down a running back following Saturday's win. Jeremiah Johnson went out in the first half with what Buono said appears to be an ankle injury.

He said they weren't thinking yet about whether or not Johnson will be back in the line up when the Lions take on the Redblacks in Ottawa on Friday.

The Bombers play the Argos in Toronto on Saturday.

---

NOTES

Winnipeg running back Andrew Harris rushed for more than 100 yards for the 18th time in his CFL career ... The game was quarterback Travis Lulay's 70th career start for the Lions ... An energized crowd of 19,541 took in the game at B.C. Place.

(Canadian Press)

RED SOX TOP MILLIONAIRES 6-5 ON TERRY PUHL DAY

Mils Unveil Terry Puhl Drive
MELVILLE - Regina newcomer Jahshua Jones made his WMBL debut a memorable one.

With the Red Sox trailing Melville 5-4 Jones smacked a two-run home run to put the visitors ahead for good.

Regina' 6-5 come-from-behind win was the 21st of the season for the Queen City kids.

Edarian Williams had a hit, a run and a RBI for the Miller Express.

Dylan Bells started for Regina and pitched 5.2 innings before handing the ball to Anthony Race who tossed 2.1 shutout innings for the win. Sam Cottingham-Beard got the save, his fourth of  2018.

David Flores, a native of El Paso, Texas was on the hook for the loss. 

Highlights - Melville
485 fans at Terry Puhl Day
Melville used 5 pitchers

Highlights - Regina
Wesley Moss - 2 stolen bases - 21 on the season
Jahshua Jones had 3 RBI

(Tony Playter/Outlaw Communications)

SUNDAY SPORTS

Manny Pacquiao won by knockout for the first time in nine years to claim the World Boxing Association welterweight title, and made a proclamation.

"This is it. I am back in boxing,'' the 39-year-old Pacquiao said after his seventh-round knockout of Lucas Matthysse on Sunday. "I am not done. I'm still there.''

Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KOs) knocked Matthysse down onto one knee in the third and fifth rounds. He knocked the Argentine down again in the seventh, and Matthysse spat out his mouthpiece, causing a frenzy among Pacquiao fans in the stadium.

Matthysse, who won 36 out of 39 matches by knockout, said Pacquiao was a "great fighter, a great legend,'' adding that he planned to take a break.

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Toronto Argonauts defensive lineman Dylan Wynn has been given a one-game suspension for a late hit on Edmonton Eskimos running back C-J Gable in Friday's 16-15 loss. Wynn was given a spearing penalty on the play, while Gable was helped off the field and did not return to the game. There was no immediate word on his condition.

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A day of highs and lows for righty Chris Rowley. Rowley was called up from Triple-A Buffalo in the morning and ended up giving up a a game-winning grand slam to Xander Bogaerts in the afternoon as the Blue Jays fell 6-2 against Boston at Fenway Park. Toronto centre fielder Kevin Pillar left the game with a right clavicle injury after making a diving catch.

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The St. Louis Cardinals have fired manager Mike Matheny during his seventh season with the team hovering around .500. The Cardinals announced Matheny's firing after an 8-2 loss to the Cincinnati Reds, a defeat that dropped St. Louis to 47-and-46. Matheny went 591-and-473 as manager, and his tenure included a loss to the Boston Red Sox in the 2013 World Series.

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A tough qualifying run for Canadian James Hinchcliffe. He spun out in segment two and was penalized for creating a localized yellow, putting him in ninth for today's (Sunday) Honda Indy Toronto. Hinchcliffe's Schmidt Peterson Motorsports teammate and fellow Canadian Robert Wickens starts 10th. Josef Newgarden has the pole.

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Former Manchester United star and England's all-time leading scorer Wayne Rooney made his heavily-anticipated North American debut. The 32-year-old forward came on as a substitute in the 58th minute as his new club D-C United earned a 3-1 home win over the Vancouver Whitecaps in M-L-S. Canadian teenager Alphonso Davies scored a beauty goal for Vancouver.

(Canadian Press)

Saturday, July 14, 2018

CFL SUSPENDS ARGOS’ WYNN ONE GAME


TORONTO (July 14, 2018) – The Canadian Football League (CFL) announced that Toronto Argonauts defensive lineman Dylan Wynn has been suspended for one-game, effective immediately.

The discipline is in response to a play in the fourth quarter where Wynn hit Edmonton Eskimos running back C.J. Gable.  In making this hit, Wynn used his helmet to deliver a late and direct blow to Gable’s head in a reckless manner while the player was on the ground and in a vulnerable position. The discipline was issued today after CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie held a telephone hearing with Wynn and representatives of the Canadian Football League Players’ Association (CFLPA).

“We will continue to be vigilant and thorough when it comes to player safety and a hit like this is not acceptable in our game,” said CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie. “These types of hits needlessly expose players to risk of injury and we must to continue to work together to ensure we are making the game as safe as possible."


Friday, July 13, 2018

ESKIMOS HOLD OFF ARGONAUTS 16-15

Photo: CFL.ca
EDMONTON - Quarterback Mike Reilly completed a pair of touchdown passes as the Edmonton Eskimos got some revenge for a loss in Toronto last week, coming away with a narrow 16-15 victory over the Argonauts in the rainy rematch on Friday.

It wasn't all good news for the Eskimos, though, as running back CJ Gable was knocked out of the game on a late helmet-to-helmet hit late in the fourth quarter. Argos defenceman lineman Dylan Wynn was handed a spearing penalty on the play that moved Edmonton downfield and allowed it to eventually run out the clock.

Reilly was good on 21-of-36 passing attempts for 258 yards.

Toronto QB James Franklin was 26 for 36 for 296 yards, with one interception.

After Reilly was picked off in the end zone by TJ Heath on his team's opening drive, Toronto (1-3) responded with a 42-yard field goal by Ronnie Pfeffer.

Franklin returned the favour early in the second, throwing an interception on a third-down gamble to Chris Edwards on the Edmonton eight-yard line.

(The Canadian Press)

BO LEVI MITCHEL UPDATE

CALGARY - Bo Levi Mitchell was back on the practice field Friday.

Well, sort of.

The Calgary Stampeders quarterback attended the team's rundown Friday, one day after its dominant 27-3 road win over the Ottawa Redblacks. But Mitchell only watched as he wore a sleeve on his injured right knee.

Mitchell was injured with just over five minutes remaining in the second quarter when he was hit low by Ottawa defensive lineman Danny Mason, who received a 15-yard roughing the passer penalty. Mitchell did get up and was limping but remained in the game for three more plays as Calgary capped the drive with a Rene Paredes 17-yard field goal to go ahead 17-0.

Mitchell went to the dressing room before Calgary's next possession and didn't return to action. He returned to the sidelines in the second half and watched the remainder of the game in uniform.

Mitchell, the CFL's 2016 outstanding player, was 16-of-21 passing for 166 yards and one touchdown before being replaced by Nick Arbuckle.

Mitchell was scheduled to undergo medical tests Friday but was optimistic he didn't suffer any serious damage in his knee. He also felt Mason, a former Stampeder, didn't intentionally try to hurt him.

"I know Danny Mason, so I know he's not trying to take shots or go after anybody,'' Mitchell told reporters Friday. "When you see it on the film it doesn't look good as far as the way he went down but I think he's just playing hard.''

Calgary head coach Dave Dickenson opted to take a philosophical approach to Mitchell's injury.

"It's football,'' he said. "There's going to be injuries sometimes, unfortunate ones that can't be prevented.

"The refs made the call. I'm sure that Danny doesn't feel great about it either.''

(Canadian Press)

LULAY TO START AGAINST WINNIPEG

 VANCOUVER - Battered and bruised repeatedly over the course of his career, Travis Lulay is ready to return to action.

The slumping B.C. Lions need their veteran quarterback _ and Lulay is determined to make his mark starting Saturday when his team (1-2) plays host to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (2-2).

It'll be the first time in nearly 10 months the 34-year-old has played a CFL game after a knee injury ended his season last September. Lulay will replace the struggling Jonathon Jennings as starter.

"You can only play once,'' Lulay said. "Once you're done, you're done. So if I have an opportunity to continue to try and do that, see if the body can catch up, then I'm going to chase that.''

Whether Lulay would even play again wasn't a set decision after last season. He thought about retiring, but a meeting with Lions general manager Ed Hervey earlier this year gave him a "good vibe'' that helped sway him to stay.

He's spent months getting back up to speed after having off-season surgery, running extra drills and conditioning to get game-day ready. In the past few weeks, he has finally shaken what he described as a "hitch in my giddy-up.''

"I'm just ready to do this thing,'' Lulay said after walk-through on Friday.

Jennings has struggled in the team's first three games of the season, throwing for 487 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions.

After Lulay was hurt last year, Jennings went 1-6 as a starter.

Lulay dressed as a backup and sat on the sidelines last Saturday as the Bombers thumped the Lions 41-19 in Winnipeg.

The effort the team put in was good, Lulay said, but the offence needs to be better and the players need to believe in themselves more.

"We want to be a team that stays on the field and gives ourselves opportunities to score more points,'' he said, adding that mistakes will be made.

"But when you're playing fast and confident, those mistakes aren't fatal.''

Lions coach Wally Buono feels when a quarterback loses confidence, it impacts the whole team. He believes having Lulay back will help re-invigorate the players.

"Any time Travis has played, he's always been very effective. His biggest issue is that he's had some injuries,'' Buono said.

Lulay, who's been with the Lions since entering the CFL in 2009, totalled 1,693 passing yards and 10 touchdowns through six games before he was injured last year. He is 42-27 in 69 career starts for the team, with his run highlighted by a CFL most outstanding player award and Grey Cup win in 2011.

Buono thinks that any athlete returning from injury battles mental uncertainty.

"I hope Travis gets hit early so that he realizes he's okay,'' he said.

There have been a rash of quarterback injuries early in the CFL season, including Winnipeg starter Matt Nichols, who hurt his knee in training camp.

Nichols made his first start of the year last weekend, completing 16 of 29 pass attempts for 162 yards, including a touchdown toss to Darvin Adams.

Injuries are a part of the game, Lulay said, and while he hates to see guys get hurt, he can't think too much about it. All he can do is play his game and try to stay out of harm's way.

"I just want to be decisive and confident and that's my mind-set going into this game,'' he said.

Quarterbacking hasn't been the only problem for the Lions, who have given up more than 40 points in each of their last two games.

Defensive back Garry Peters said looking at video from last week's game helped put things in perspective.

"It was the little things that (were) killing us. And when we watched it, it was five or six plays when it felt like 10 or 15 plays that (were) killing us over and over,'' Peters said.

In order to change, they'll need a fast start to build momentum, he said.

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WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS (2-2) at B.C. LIONS (1-2)

Saturday, B.C. Place

BIGHILL'S BACK: Linebacker Adam Bighill returns to B.C. Place, where he played six seasons for the Lions. He signed with the NFL's New Orleans Saints in 2016 and played three games for the team. In May, he was waived and inked a deal with the Blue Bombers.

LEAGUE LEADERS: Winnipeg is leading the league in points for, with 144 through the first four weeks of the season. B.C. has scored 63 points in their first three games.

BACK-TO-BACK?: The Lions and the Bombers have alternated wins in their last five match-ups. Neither team has won twice in a row since October 2016, when Winnipeg snatched a pair of narrow victories.

FOOTBALL FOR FOOD BANKS: The Lions are encouraging fans to bring a non-perishable food item to Saturday's game in order to help support local food banks. Anyone who brings a donation will have an opportunity to take a photo with the Grey Cup.

(Canadian Press)

SCRUFFY'S THIS N' THAT

Welcome to Friday and the usual thoughts running through my muddled mind. As always, they come in no particular order:

--We have a nine team CFL and three have the weekend off. I don't understand and frankly, I've stopped trying to understand some of the decisions made.  I understand you gave every team an additional bye week this year, but giving three teams a bye is dumb when you only have nine teams. Am I right on that one?

--The Johnny Manziel hype is on hold for a week because the Ti-Cats are off.  The hype is seemingly still as strong as it's ever been with hopes Johnny Football will get into a game.  Meanwhile, Jeremiah Masoli continues to turn heads as he is playing the best football of his career.  Are those tuning in to watch Manziel from south of the border intrigued by Masoli and what he can do in four-down football?  They should!

--What has happened to Jon Jennings? The Lions quarterback looks nothing like the QB that came out firing when he came into this league. Jennings has been a downward slide since injuring his shoulder early last year in Hamilton. He isn't even close to being the same QB. Is it a confidence issue? Is that shoulder still damaged? Is it something else?  Whatever it is, it would seem as if his days in BC are done. I am guessing he finds another CFL home, but will a change of scenery change anything?

--Are the Calgary Stampeders about to see what its like without Bo Levi Mitchell?  He left in the first half of Calgary's one-sided win over Ottawa and did not return.  On the surface, it would appear as if the knee injury he suffered is not serious in nature.  I think a lot of us didn't think Zach Collaros would be out for as long as he has been when he was hurt in Ottawa. We have seen how that turned out.  If its the Nick Arbuckle show, it is advantage Edmonton and perhaps Winnipeg.

--If Mitchell is out, it is bad for the CFL, He will be out, Ricky Ray is out, Zach Collaros is out, Drew Willy is out, Jennings is not playing well.  It means half of your league has a question mark at the game's most important position and that isn't good in my books.

--Speaking of Collaros, where is he at with his concussion? It's the question Rider Nation wants an answer to.  It has been deathly silent during the bye week at Mosaic and I expect that to continue until the team gets back on the field to get ready for Thursday's game in Hamilton.  There are other questions that need answering as well, but that is the big one.

--There is a thought process out there that the Rider offence would be better with Rob Bagg, Bakari Grant and Chad Owens.  Ummmmm, I know Bagg is hurt and likely wouldn't be on the roster right now if he were still here, but where are Grant and Owens these days? Oh yeah, they're not helping anyone. Never mind!

--The anti-Chris Jones faction is also starting to get worked up over the fact James Franklin is not here.  This just in.  He never was going to be.  The Eskimos knew they had to do something with their quarterback, and the last thing they wanted to do was give him to a Western Division rival that was on the rise.  Brock Sunderland is not that dumb, and Jones wasn't going to give Edmonton the rich offer they wanted.  Again, please put that conversation to bed and remember to renew your membership in the "I Hate Chris Jones" club when the notice hits your inbox.

--Why wasn't there a concert at half-time of the Calgary-Ottawa game? Wasn't that the plan on Thursday nights?

--The World Cup comes to an end this weekend. Croatia will meet France in the final.  All the games haven't been classics, but I've enjoyed the world's best going at it over the last month.  The game is not everyone's cup of tea though. I admit that.  There are a variety of reasons.  I asked on the Cage Thursday what would be on your TV when it came to sports in heaven or hell.  You can give me football, hockey and baseball, but don't give me tennis and NASCAR.

--Boston Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts suggested this week baseball should scrap the home-run derby and have some kind of skills competition on the day before the all-star game.  Does Betts think people want to see an outfielder try and throw it through a hoop from 350 feet away or a drag bunt competition.  Cmon Mookie!

That's all I got.  Have a great weekend!

STAMPS DOWN REDBLACKS 27-3, LOSE BO-LEVI

CFL.ca
OTTAWA - The Calgary Stampeders won, again, but they will have to wait to find out if they will lose their quarterback for any amount of time.

Bo Levi Mitchell picked up his 60th career CFL victory as Calgary beat the Ottawa Redblacks 27-3 on Thursday, improving to 4-0 on the season. But the quarterback left the game late in the second quarter with what appeared to be a right knee injury after taking a hit from Danny Mason, who was handed a roughing-the-passer penalty on the play.

He was 16 for 21 for 166 yards and one touchdown when he left for the locker room.

"The update is we need to get some more testing done, I'm not a doctor on that,'' said Calgary head coach Dave Dickenson.

"I don't think it's going to be anything majorly serious, but there's been surprises. From what I know they took a look at it him, lower-body injury, I'll use the hockey term and hopefully we get good news when we get back home.''

Nick Arbuckle finished the game for the Stampeders, going 8 for 14 for 84 yards and one TD. Mitchell did return to the sidelines in the second half and watched while still in uniform.

Ottawa starter Trevor Harris was 14 for 22 for 111 yards and two interceptions.

The Redblacks also used Dominique Davis and Danny Collins at QB, but neither was very successful. Combined the three QB's had three interceptions and two fumbles.

"Everybody has to be better,'' said Harris. "It's not a game where I think you can point the finger at one guy, but if you need to you can point it at me because that's what I want to do for my guys and I'll make sure that we're better and I'll step up to the plate for everybody. That's the responsibility of the quarterback and I'll take that on my shoulders.''

Redblacks head coach Rick Campbell said his team got beat in every aspect and never found a way to respond.

"We just flat out didn't respond with making any plays and obviously it's tough to do when you're playing a good football team if you don't do that,'' said Campbell. "It's worrisome that we never came up with any plays to create a spark. I've never questioned our guys effort or want to, but we weren't able to come up with, for whatever reason, anything to give us a spark to counter punch and come back.''

Calgary seemed to put the game away before the break as it held a 20-0 lead after two quarters.

"We're going to go one week at a time and we're going to execute week in and week out,'' said Calgary linebacker Alex Singleton. "That's the only way to get back to where we were.''

Ottawa opened the second half with a solid drive that put it on the one-yard line, giving the 22,103 on hand some hope, but a procedure penalty pushed the Redblacks back to the six and they were unable to complete the drive, settling for an 11-yard field goal to trail 20-3.

Arbuckle was able to add to the rout when he found Lemar Durant in the end zone early in the fourth quarter for a 12-yard touchdown making it 27-3.

The Redblacks struggled heavily in the first half.

Ottawa had six straight two and outs, Harris threw two interceptions, Diontae Spencer dropped the ball on a punt return giving Calgary possession deep in Ottawa territory and the defence had few answers for Mitchell and the rest of the Stampeders.

Calgary opened the scoring late in the first half as Mitchell connected with Kamar Jorden on back-to-back passes to set up the Stampeders on Ottawa's one-yard line where Romar Morris dove across the goal line for his first CFL touchdown. A two-point conversion gave Calgary the 8-0 lead.

The Stampeders extended its lead following Harris' first interception. Calgary took over at the Ottawa 40-yard line and five plays later Mitchell found Juwan Brescacin for a 10-yard TD pass.

Rene Paredes kicked 17- and 25-yard field goals to give Calgary a 20-0 lead at the half.

(Canadian Press/Lisa Wallace)