The Labour Day Classic has hardly been that over the last while for the Edmonton Eskimos. The team will do its best to change its fortunes while taking on the Calgary Stampeders on Monday.
The Eskimos haven’t won on Labour Day since the 2011 season. They haven’t had a lead on Labour Day since the 2012 game. They have never held a lead on Labour Day for the last five games and have been down by at least 12 points in every game. Since 2006, the Eskimos are 2-10 on Labour Day.
Edmonton comes into Monday’s game with a 6-4 record and sits in second place in the Western Division, four points back of the 8-1 Stampeders for first.
Defensive end Alex Bazzie says there’s little room for error against the Stampeders.
“Calgary is a great team and in order to beat them you have to be very disciplined,” Bazzie said.
“Self-inflicted wounds are not going to allow you win so you have to be very disciplined. You have to be one complete unit with special teams, defence and offence.”
Listen below: Fullback Calvin McCarty says the Eskimos have been learning some harsh lessons which will hopefully help later in the season
The Eskimos haven’t played since Aug. 23 when they blew a 14-point lead in the second half in Hamilton to lose 25-24 to the Tiger-Cats off a last-second field goal.
The Eskimos scored all 24 of their points in the second quarter.
Quarterback Mike Reilly recorded 168 yards passing and three touchdown passes in the quarter. One touchdown pass was to the CFL’s leading receiver Duke Williams (947 yard) for 95 yards.
The other two touchdown passes were to Derel Walker, who leads the CFL with eight receiving touchdowns. Walker is third in the league in receiving with 875 yards.
Reilly continues to lead the CFL in passing yards (3,296) and touchdown passes with 22.
The Eskimos will make three changes to their 46-man roster.
Coming off are receiving and return man Jamill Smith, along with defensive lineman Darius Allen; both have been placed on the team’s six-game injured list.
Receiver Bryant Mitchell has been placed on the one-game injured list.
Coming on the roster is running back Jordan Robinson, who is expected to handle the kick-return duties. Also coming on the 46 are defensive lineman Nick Usher and linebacker Brandon Pittman.
The following is the projected offensive and defensive starters for the Eskimos:
Quarterback: Mike Reilly
Running Back: C.J. Gable (Fullback: Calvin McCarty)
Offensive Line: Matt O’Donnell – Travis Bond – Justin Sorensen – David Beard – Colin Kelly
Receivers: Derel Walker – Duke Williams – Natey Adjei – Vidal Hazelton – Kenny Stafford
Defensive Line: Kwaku Boateng – Almondo Sewell – Mike Moore – Alex Bazzie
Linebackers: Christophe Mulumba – Tshimanga – J.C. Sherritt – Chris Edwards
Defensive Backs: Mercy Maston – Aaron Grymes – Josh Woodman – Forrest Hightower – Nick Taylor
The Stampeders have been the CFL’s model of consistency for the last 10 seasons. They have recorded at least a 7-2 record seven times during the last 10 years. Since the 2012 season, the Stampeders have a 51-8 record. Since 2014, their record against the Western Division is 35-9.
The Stampeders won their last game 39-26 over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, scoring two touchdowns in the final two minutes of the game. Quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell passed for a career-high of 457 yards. Of those, 259 yards went to Kamar Jorden, who set a new Stampeders record for the most receiving yards in a game. Jorden is second in the CFL in receiving yards (895).
Listen below: Stampeders quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell on the process of developing chemistry with Kamar Jorden
You can hear live coverage of the Labour Day Classic between the Eskimos and Stampeders on 630 CHED starting with Countdown to Kick-off at 11:30 a.m. The opening kick-off from McMahon Stadium in Calgary is 1 p.m. with Morley Scott and Dave Campbell calling all of the live action. Hear analysis from former Eskimos offensive lineman and two-time Grey Cup champion, Blake Dermott.