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Sunday, September 3, 2017

RIDERS, BOMBERS SET TO CLASH IN LABOUR DAY CLASSIC LIV


REGINA - He'll be wearing green and white for the Labour Day Classic, but Willie Jefferson will be playing for his hometown and the state of Texas.

"If I make a big play, it'll be for my hometown, it'll be for Hurricane Harvey,'' said the Saskatchewan Roughriders defensive end, who was born and raised in Beaumont, Texas, which sits approximately 135 kilometres east of Houston.

His Roughriders (4-4) host the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (7-2) on Sunday for the 54th instalment of the prairie teams' annual tilt, the first to be played at Regina's new Mosaic Stadium.

Despite the day's hype, the Texan will be playing with a heavy heart and thoughts of his home, thanks to the devastating impact of Hurricane Harvey, which was designated a tropical storm after making landfall over the Houston and Beaumont areas this past week.

Between Aug. 25 and Wednesday, Harvey dumped 47.7 inches of rain in the Beaumont-Port Arthur area, according to the Washington Post. The ensuing floods have forced tens of thousands of people to evacuate their homes, and 42 people have died as result of the storm, according to the paper.

"It hurts me to my heart,'' Jefferson said of the devastation brought by the rising waters.

Knowing that he can't be there to comfort his family, his girlfriend and his friends, "It puts me at a real standstill,'' he said.

Jefferson said on Friday that his friends, family and girlfriend were safe although their water had been completely shut off and electricity was still on in some parts of Beaumont, a city of 118,000 people.

He played two years of college football at Stephen F. Austin State University, about a 2.5-hour drive north of Beaumont. He also played six regular season games for the NFL's Houston Texans in 2013.

"Me as a person that lives in Houston and me as a person from Beaumont, I always want to find a way to help and give back, even though I'm way out here in Regina,'' said Jefferson.

He's urging people who attend Sunday's game to donate the necessary items to help people in Texas.

"Bring some shirts, some pants, some socks, some baby wipes and stuff like that,'' he said, noting the Roughriders will have donation bins set out at entrance gates to Mosaic Stadium on Sunday.

People looking to donate money can use the links he posted on Twitter and Instagram, he said.

The second-year Roughrider will step onto the field Sunday leading his team in sacks (4) and sitting second in total tackles (24). Saskatchewan is coming off a 54-31 win in Edmonton last week when Jefferson's unit scored two pick-sixes and earn two sacks against veteran quarterback Mike Reilly.

Jefferson had his own score after blocking a punt and returning it for a touchdown in the first quarter.

"Defence, special teams and offence. They all scored,'' said Roughriders quarterback Kevin Glenn. "And when you can put together (games) like that where teams - offence, defence and special teams _ can score multiple times, it's going to look like this a lot.''

The Blue Bombers and Roughriders are both on the upswing: Winnipeg is riding a five-game win streak that includes a Week 9 win against then-top-ranked Edmonton. The Roughriders won their last two games, both against divisional rivals.

Recent history on the September long weekend favours the Blue Bombers, who beat Saskatchewan last year 28-25 on a last-second, 43-yard field goal from kicker Justin Medlock.

But prior to that, the Roughriders have won every Labour Day game since 2005.

There's a high probability Medlock's kicking will factor into Sunday's game: Of his team's seven wins this year, three were won by Medlock booting the winning field goal either in overtime or in a game's dying seconds, including his team's first win of 2017, which happened to be against the Roughriders in overtime at new Mosaic Stadium.

(Canadian Press/Evan Radford)

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

If the game is close. This team needs to show themselves and the fans that they can face stressful game time adversity and come out on top.
No more of this losing because the kicker couldn't put it through the up rights. The Montreal loss still stings. Considering just how crappy that team really is. As well as the 1st game in Mosaic with an O.T. loss to Winnipeg. If your kicker can't put it through cleanly within the 40 yard line. Then you are going to be facing a lot of uncertainty in the really tight games. Confidence is a football teams best friend. Where as uncertainty is poisonous. Confidence builds aggressiveness and a confident team pushes forward and plays to win in tight situations. Where as a team Lacking confidence stands still and plays defensively. They play not to lose and usually do. Both the Bombers and Riders are playing confident right now. So hopefully the Riders break Winnipeg confidence and not the other way around.
As much as Rider fans DO NOT LIKE the Bombers and their fans. Bombers fans HATE and DESPIZE the Riders and especially fans fans. They will never ever admit it but it's a form of jealousy. I've been threatened physical harm several times at Bombers Rider games in Winnipeg. If we are winning in the 4th Qtr it can get ugly if you continue to cheer out loud. Bomber fans are proud like Rider fans. I sure hope Rider fans don't threaten physical violence on Bomber fans. If you do... STOP IT! It's only a game. Its a teams logo on our jersey. It's not Gang colors that we wear. Bomber fans can't stand the support the Riders get. Change your name to Manitoba Bombers and watch what happens! Combine that last comment of support with also seeing the Riders win the 2007 & 2013 Grey Cups. While the Bombers haven't won in 26 years. Erks the hell out of them. The BS 4 Championships mean nothing. It's what have you done for us to witness that counts.
Let's win and win BIG today and continue our 2 game wining streak. While bringing the Bombers wining streak to an end.

On Roughriders, on Roughriders, on to Victory. All our past Presidents leads us all the way horray!

The Riders secret weapon came together the last 2 games. 6 of the most powerful names that have ruled. LOL
Carter, Rosevelt, Adams, Grant, Jefferson, Johnson.
Ok Rider team. Let's White House this Bitch right down their throats. haha

Anonymous said...

We can never gaurantee who's going to win a football game but this Rider team has gained a lot of respect the last two games and with respect comes enthusiasm and excitement for the game. Factor in home game a beautiful day and it's The Labor Day Game I like our chances of winning this one.

Anonymous said...

Final score today should be in the area of .... Riders 37 Bombers 27
7 of the Riders score and 10 of the Bombers points come in garbage time.

Bobby da Bookie Boucher

Anonymous said...

Jokes are hard to do.

Anonymous said...

I like the 10 point spread but I'm going to say it's closer 42-39 Riders

Anonymous said...

Hey Bobby da Bookie; remind me never to bet against you.
I read your prediction Sunday. Now seeing it again on Monday. I can't believe how close you got.