Sunday, November 13, 2016
ESKIMOS ADVANCE, BEAT TICATS 24-21 IN CFL ESF
White ran for 160 yards and two TDs to lead the Edmonton to an exciting 24-21 East Division semifinal win over Hamilton on Sunday. Sean Whyte kicked the game-winning nine-yard field goal with seven seconds remaining after Kenny Ladler's interception gave the Eskimos possession at the Tiger-Cats' 20-yard line.
Ladler's interception also won him the team pool for top defensive play of the game.
White was Edmonton's best answer to the stiff southwest wind that gusted up to 40 kilometres an hour throughout the contest. And that was no accident as the Eskimos boasted the CFL's second-leading ground attack this season (103.7 yards per game).
"Establishing our run we knew was going to be important today ... obviously it was a key to victory for us,'' said Eskimos coach Jason Maas.
But the five-foot-eight, 186-pound White reluctantly watched Edmonton's Grey Cup-winning run last year because of an Achilles injury. Healthy again, he's anxious to be a key cog in the Eskimos' title defence.
"Man it feels great,'' White said. "I'm not going to get too into it but I just want to take care of the next game and try to get to that Grey Cup the right way.
"It (watching title run) was bitter-sweet but my guys got it done. I have another shot at it this year but I'm not going to let that weigh on my shoulders.''
Amazingly, White was nearly a pre-game scratch. He said he suffered a dislocated finger catching passes prior to the opening kickoff but fortunately was able to have it reset.
"I'm proud of our football team but man, John White, I probably can't be more proud of a guy than him because of that injury he came back from,'' said Maas. "When you're the starter and your football club goes on to win a Grey Cup without you I mean I think it always lingers in the back of your head, 'Would they have won with me?'
"I can assure you we can win a Grey Cup with John White as our tailback.''
Edmonton will visit the Ottawa Redblacks in the East Division final Sunday with the winner advancing to the Grey Cup game Nov. 27 at BMO Field.
The East final will be a rematch of last year's Grey Cup, which Edmonton won 26-20. Maas was the Redblacks' offensive co-ordinator last season before being hired as the Eskimos head coach when Chris Jones become the head coach/GM of the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Ottawa swept the season series 2-0, winning 45-37 in overtime June 25 before earning a 23-20 victory in August. And that's left a bitter taste in Maas's mouth.
"I obviously have a lot of friends there and people who mean a lot to me and I think anytime you have friends you want to beat them probably worse than anybody else,'' he said. "I also factor in we're 0-2 against them this year, that gives us just as much motivation as anything to beat them ... we want to rectify that.''