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Edmonton Eskimos still remain confident despite losing streak

The Edmonton Eskimos gather on The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium for their team photo on Monday, September 23, 2019. Quinn Phillips/Global News

Monday morning was team photo day on The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium for the 2019 edition of the Edmonton Eskimos. For many, this day feels like picture day at school.

“Man that’s exactly how it felt like,” said Eskimos middle linebacker Don Unamba. “It’s a cool day to do it and enjoyed the opportunity.”

What hasn’t been enjoyable is a four-game losing streak, with the latest coming last Friday after the Eskimos fell 30-27 to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium.

The Eskimos were down 24-7 after the first half and tied the game at 27 in the final minute of the game before losing a on last second field goal.

READ MORE: Tiger-Cats make it past Eskimos 30-27 to secure a playoff spot

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Head coach Jason Maas says he hopes his team will use the comeback as a rallying point.

“Own the fact that we were down but also own the fact that you fought back,” Maas said. “That was still a comeback. It didn’t come into a win but it was a comeback and that’s a great thing. It’s not that we lost four in a row, it’s that we lost our last game and now it’s a new game this week.

“All you can do is do what’s ahead of us and do what we’re doing now.”

Hamilton Tiger-Cats kicker Lirim Hajrullahu (70) kicks a field goal to win the game against the Edmonton Eskimos during second half CFL action in Edmonton, Alta., on Friday September 20, 2019. The Tiger-Cats won 30-27. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Amber Bracken

The Eskimos are fourth in the CFL West with a 6-7 record, which is good enough for the crossover position in the Eastern Division. The team that’s chasing them in the West are the B.C. Lions at 3-10, but the Eskimos own the tie-breaker by virtue of winning the season-series.

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In the East Division, the Ottawa Redblacks are six points back of the Eskimos for third place. The Eskimos play the Redblacks on Saturday in Ottawa and a win would solidify the Esks’ playoff chances.

Receiver Greg Ellingson has been to five Grey Cups during his seven-year CFL career with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and the Redblacks on teams that struggled at points in the season. Ellingson says there are five games left, leaving lots of time for the Eskimos to start playing their best football.

“Every team that I’ve been on we kinda have had that little stretch where we had a couple of bad games,” Ellingson said.

“As long as you believe in each other and guys keep working and making plays, teams true colours show up down the stretch. I believe this is a good group in the locker room and a good coaching staff. I think we’re going to make a good run in the back half.”

LISTEN BELOW: Eskimos receiver Greg Ellingson on the upcoming two-game road trip out east

Quarterback Logan Kilgore filled in for injured starter Trevor Harris who is dealing with an injury to his throwing arm. Kilgore passed for 223 yards throwing two touchdowns and three interceptions. He says the Eskimos are not suffering from a lack of confidence because of having many players with CFL experience.

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“There’s a lot of guys that have been on some teams that have played in the east and were 9-9 and made it to the Grey Cup,” Kilgore said. “You just got to play your best football at the right time and right now we’ve got some teams that are gaining some confidence around the league and we’ve got to get out of this hole and play well this week.”

LISTEN BELOW: Eskimos quarterback Logan Kilgore on the comeback that fell short last Friday 

On Monday, Maas said Harris’ injured arm is feeling better but until he throws in practice, Maas really won’t know what Harris’ status will be for the Eskimos game in Ottawa on Saturday.

“The moment he decides he can throw the ball the way he needs to be successful and feel good in the game, then he’ll be playing,” Maas said. “Not a moment too soon from that.”

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The Eskimos will stay out east for two games starting in Ottawa against the Redblacks on Saturday and then the following Friday in Hamilton to play the Tiger-Cats.

630 CHED will have live coverage of Saturday’s game in Ottawa starting with Countdown to Kick-off at 12:30 p.m. The opening kick-off from TD Place will be at 2 p.m.

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