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Friday, September 18, 2015

CFL NOTEBOOK

CALGARY - The Calgary Stampeders will welcome Jon Cornish back to their lineup when they face the B.C. Lions on Friday night at McMahon Stadium.

Cornish missed the past six games due to a broken right thumb he suffered in the first half of Calgary's 29-26 overtime road loss to the Ottawa Redblacks on July 24. The 30-year-old running back wants to prove that he can return to the form that saw him win the last three CFL rushing titles.

"Right now I'm ready,'' Cornish said. "I want to make the threat a very real and a very tangible thing (on Friday).

"I want to make these guys on the (Lions) and people around the league know that these fresh legs are here to stay.''

On the heels of Calgary's 27-16 road loss to the Edmonton Eskimos last Saturday, Stamps coach and general manager John Hufnagel said he's happy to have Cornish back in the mix against the Lions.

"He's a very welcome addition back on the field, no question about it,'' Hufnagel said. "I know he's anxious. He's ready to go. He's had a good week of practice, so hopefully he can be a factor in the game.''

B.C. linebacker Adam Bighill, who leads the CFL with 69 tackles, said that the Lions will definitely have to be wary of what Cornish can do when he has the ball.

"That's definitely a boost for their offence,'' said Bighill. "I've played Cornish for a lot of years now. He's a great running back. We've just got to be able to contain that and from there move onto what (quarterback) Bo Levi (Mitchell) does.''

While Lions running back Andrew Harris currently leads the CFL in rushing with 633 yards through 10 games, he only managed three yards on four carries during B.C.'s 31-18 loss to Ottawa at home last Sunday. He enters play 308 yards ahead of Cornish on the season.

"After the last couple weeks how they've gone for me, it's definitely motivation this week to get it going,'' said Harris. "No lead's safe against Jon Cornish. I wish I could have got a little more ahead of him obviously in the last couple games. I'm looking forward to duelling it out for the rest of the season here.''

With Travis Lulay on the six-game injured list with a sprained knee ligament, John Beck will start at quarterback for the Lions. He completed 20 of 29 passes for 207 yards against the Redblacks to go with one touchdown and two interceptions.

"As an athlete, any time you don't get the outcome or result you want, you want to move ahead to the next week,'' said Beck. "You want to move ahead to the next game. Our team feels prepared. Now it's just about going out and executing the best that we can.''

Calgary defensive lineman Charleston Hughes said the Stamps also believe they're prepared to contain Beck and the B.C. offence. He's tied with Jamaal Westerman of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for the CFL lead with nine sacks.

"I just know (Beck) is an experienced quarterback and he has the possibility to make plays,'' said Hughes. "My goal is to keep tallying up sacks. As long as Stu (Stamps defensive co-ordinator Rich Stubler) puts me in great position to keep making plays, I can't say nothing else about it.''

While the Stamps have gone 2-3 on the road, they have a perfect 6-0 record at home.

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HAMILTON - The CFL record book reinforces what Justin Medlock knew all along: He's the most accurate kicker in CFL history.

The 31-year-old Californian, in his third season with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, has made 166-of-190 attempts (87.4 per cent) over his five-year CFL tenure. He easily assumed the league crown, which is based upon 150 career attempts.

"I heard about it and kind of thought it had already happened before but they keep changing (minimum kicks),'' Medlock said following practice Thursday. "In my mind, I already thought I was but that's fine.

"That's always the goal. Records are meant to be broken, I'm sure somebody else will down the road.''

The six-foot, 208-pound Medlock has made 26-of-29 field goals (89.7 per cent) and is the CFL scoring leader with 121 points. Hamilton (8-3) sits atop the East Division and is tied with Calgary for the league's best record.

Medlock has also made 39-of-41 converts - those are from 32 yards out this year - and has resumed punting duties, sporting a solid 42.9-yard average. The former UCLA Bruin is also averaging 63.5 yards on kickoffs.

"For all that he gives us, which is a tremendous amount in the kicking game, I think he does a fine job punting as well,'' said Kent Austin, the Ticats head coach/GM. "I have tremendous faith in him putting him out there to kick field goals.

"If he tells me he's good and puts his thumb up, I don't even hesitate with him out there. He does a good job in all three phases.''

Medlock, who's married to LPGA golfer Hannah Jun Medlock, stands 34th in all-time CFL scoring (673 points) despite having played just 68 career games. His average of 9.91 points per contest trails only Mark McLoughlin (10.7), Damon Duval (10.3) and Dave Ridgway (10.0) in league history.

Heady stuff considering Medlock is in the final year of his CFL contract and won't rule out taking another shot at the NFL. Medlock has been with six NFL squads - Kansas City, St. Louis, Washington, Detroit, Carolina and Oakland - as well as Toronto and Edmonton in the CFL.

"I wouldn't say it (NFL dream) is dead but I wouldn't say it's my No. 1 priority either,'' Medlock said. "I just want to kick ... I love kicking in Hamilton so we'll talk about that at the end of the season.

"But I also know it's a business and I don't mind going somewhere ... you've got to do what you have to do and I know that happens.''

Medlock appeared in 10 games with the Carolina Panthers in 2012, making all 23 convert attempts and 7-of-10 field goals. He also averaged 58.2 yards on kickoffs before being waived.

Medlock signed with the Oakland Raiders in 2013 before being released. After not signing with another squad the rest of the season, Medlock joined the Ticats as a free agent in 2014.

"Physically maybe I'm not as strong as I was when I was younger,'' Medlock said. "But mentally I'm five times better, I've been through more situations so I know how to respond.

"Usually kickers get to be their best between 28 and 38 so I still have about seven years of prime football . . . I'm in my prime.''

Medlock has had no trouble physically dealing with 32-yard converts this year but added the extra distance has forced him to keep his head in the game.

"Brandon Banks (Ticats kick returner) takes one to the house on a punt return and you've got to be ready to kick,'' he said. "That's what's harder.''

So too is battling the windy conditions at Tim Hortons Field, where both of his missed convert attempts have occurred.

"They were the exact same kicks so I'm trying to figure out a couple of things with that,'' he said. "The wind does blow here.''

But Medlock doesn't allow Mother Nature to change his mindset going into every game.

"In my head I'm always thinking, 'Hey I'm going to kick the game-winner, I'm going to make a big kick or create field position,' '' he said. "I'm always going over situations knowing I could be kicking the game-winner real soon.

"I'm more focused on that part now than I was when I was younger.''

(Canadian Press)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Go Jonny go. Go Go. Jonny be good.