Sunday, May 31, 2020

2020 Week 2: 03 Edmonton Eskimos vs. 94 Sacramento Goldminers

After a heartbreaking double OT loss in week one, the Goldminers were back on home field to face the 1-0 '03 Eskimos. The home town fans were ready for a bounce back and hoping to avoid the 0-2 start before hitting the road. What actually happened was one of the craziest games this reporter has witnessed.

The Eskimos started early with a spectacular catch from Ed Hervey and resulted in a Sean Fleming FG on the first drive. The next series spelled more disaster for the home team as they went two and out and the punt was grabbed by Winston October for the 43 yard punt return touchdown. The home team was down 13-0 before 5 minutes had even expired and the fans reacted as this could get ugly. The defenses then took over for most of the first half. After 2 more Fleming field goals, the Miners finally got on the board with 2 minutes left in the half with Anderson getting his first field goal of the game. The Goldminers were lucky to only be down 19-3 going into the half. Edmonton could not get out of their own way with 9 penalties to Sacremento's 2 calls. Many of those calls happening on the miners side of centre and leading to the Fleming field goals. 

The second half became the Troy Mills show for Sacramento. He started the half with a 25 yard romp and was all over the field from there The Sac defense turned the pressure up on Ricky Ray that had one of his worst halves throwing for 3 INTs. Sacramento made him pay for the first one as Mills scored the first touchdown for the home side eight minutes into the 3rd quarter. The lead was all of a sudden only 6 at 19-13. Ray bounced back with a massive 51 yard pass to Jason tucker for the TD on the next series and regained the 13 point lead for the Green and Gold. 

The next three series all featured turnovers. Rahim Abdullah recovered a Mills fumble, followed by Malcolm Frank grabbing a Ray pass for an interception, and then Mills fumbled again and AJ Gass recovered. It was like neither team wanted the ball! Mills settled down for the next series with four runs for 23 yards and then added a 10 yard reverse for the major score. You could feel the momentum switch to the home team. The teams traded punts but Sacramento was getting closer in the field position department each series. Edmonton could not get out of their own side of half, and then the unthinkable happened; Ricky Ray fumbled the ball on the Esks 32 and H. Brown recovered for the Miners. A beautiful 19 yard pass to Rod Harris, followed by a 9 yard grab by Pruitt put the Goldminers on the 1 yard line with 40 seconds left. David Archer leaned in for the touchdown plunge. Anderson hit the convert and the fans erupted as the Miners took the 1 point lead! Then the craziest part of this Cold Snap Football League happened. In the midst of celebration on the sidelines, Anderson kicked off to Mike Bradley and he found a seam for an 84 yard kickoff return touchdown and only 20 seconds left on the clock. Archer had two Hail Mary opportunities and came up short sending the fans home with a second heart wrenching loss. For the plays they did put together, the Esks were lucky to come out on top in this one. The rematch will be in week 7 and could show the same kind of fiery results. The Miners now head out on the road to meet the Baltimore Stallions and the 03 Esks, go back to Commonwelath to face the 81 Esks in a battle of green and gold legends.

Click Here for Game Stats

Friday, May 29, 2020

2020 Week 1: 2003 Eskimos 34 - 1991 Argos 18

Commonwealth Stadium was buzzing as the first game for the 03 Esks brought the 91 Argos to town. With the deep talent on both teams there were high expectations for an exciting game, and the teams did not disappoint.

It was a defensive battle through most of the first quarter with the Esks holding the ball for 10:20 but down 3-0. Matt Dunnigan had a 40 yard bomb to Boyd and a 38 yard run to try and set the tone early. For the busts in defense, both teams found ways to "bend and not break". The Argo field goal came after a brilliant interception from Reggie Pleasant had them in the Esks red zone, and that was the closest either team got.

The second quarter started with a bang as Darryl Crutchfield intercepted Dunnigan on the Toronto side of half and a massive hole broke open for Troy Mills on the next series to rumble 31 yards for the TD. The next series saw the Double Blue get close but Chomyc missed the FG and they were left with a single point, and still 3 points behind. Fleming added a FG for the Esks with 3:40 to go in the second. Just enough time for Dunnigan and the Boatmen. In two and a half minutes, Dunnigan marched them down the field and capped it off with a 41 yard bomb to Rocket Ismail for the TD, putting the Argos up 11-10. The green and gold got a massive return from Mike Bradley and Fleming was able to ad another FG for the home team to go into the lockeroom up 13-11. The highlights were only about to begin.

The second half saw both teams start with blunders; Dunnigan a hurried bad throw and a bad Esks snap to Ray had back to back 2 and out drives. The next drive had Dunnigan showing the leadership we expect with a 59 yard drive, including a 30 yard pass to Dk Smith and capped off with a vintage Pinball Clemons 39 yard run for the major and an 18-13 lead. On the very next play, Pinball went down with an shoulder injury that would see him leave the game and not return. Mike Bradley with his second 30 yard return had the Esks starting on the Argo 53 and Pringle starting to warm up. The Esks marched to the goalline only to have an unbelievable time count penalty and then get stopped on third and goal from the Toronto 6 yard line for a turnover on downs. The Green and Gold faithful drew quiet and started to show signs that this just wasn't their day. 

The next series everything changed. Ignited by a Donny Brady interception at the Argo 41, Ricky ay decided it was time to put on a show. In three plays to Tucker, Vaughn and back to Tucker, the Eskimos found the endzone and reclaimed the lead. After an Argo two and out, including a Dunnigan intentional grounding call, the Esks took over on their own 38 and the air show continued. 5 plays later, Ed Hervey stretched for the endzone grab but Pringle was flagged for a personal foul and the TD came off the board. No matter to Ray who went back to his favorite target this game and threw his patented end zone throw to Jason Tucker for his second major of the game. There was no taking the pedal off the gas yet as the defense halted the Argos in another two and out and Ray found Terry Vaughn for another TD. 

The Boatmen weren't about to give up and ran the next five minutes driving 60 yards down the field to the Esks 19 yard line. DK Smith caught a touchdown but once again, ref Al Bradbury pulled a major off the board with a procedure penalty on OL Prunster. The next play was the dagger as Quincy Coleman intercepted a throw to DK Smith in the endzone. Coach Higgins said after the game, "The connection between Ricky Ray and Jason Tucker is amazing to watch. Those guys took over when the time came and closed this out for us." The Green and Gold faithful go home happy hoping that they see even more of that fourth quarter team in the coming weeks. Next up for the 03Esks is travelling to Hornet Stadium to play the Sacremento Goldminers. The Argos will stay in Edmonton to match up against the 81Esks. 

Overreactions to CSDCFL week 1, pointspreads for week 2

 

They say you should never take too much away from week 1 result in any football league – never mind a league stacked with great Canadian Football League teams like the CSDCFL – but as it says here, what’s the point of posting online if you can’t overreact once in a while?

Starting to wonder about the imperviousness of the Baltimore Stallions, for example, and ready to start talking some Sacramento Gold Miners football; could these guys contend? (Based on an overtime loss? Come on, Os, you’re talking pure h

One question: Why only two playoff teams? No. 3 and quite possibly no. 4 in this league look to be some quality and competitive teams. Besides, just imagine an Eskimos-Eskimos game for all the marbles. Yeesh, right?

Pointspreads and over/unders for week 2 CSDCFL games follow.

1991 Toronto Argonauts +5½ at 1981 Edmonton Eskimos, over/under 45½ points.

After a disappointing 34-18 loss to the 2003 Edmonton Eskimos, head coach Adam Rita made the decision to stay put in time but not space, allowing his Argonauts all the advantages of the 21st century -- but gambling that timelag won't affect his team too seriosuly. But it may not matter: With the opening-day win over the  Baltimore Stallions, the '81 Eskimos have established themselves as the team to beat in the Dream League...

1995 Baltimore Stallions -1 at 2019 Winnipeg Blue Bombers, over/under 56½ points.

If the DSCFL had power rankings, the Stallions would have taken the biggest tumble after a 34-28 loss to the 1981 Eskimos that wasn’t as close as the score indicates – but this observer can’t help wonder if the Bombers’ neo-platoon system at quarterback is enough to keep pace with the Stallions, assuming that Andrew Harris isn’t necessarily good for over 8.0 yards per carry. Baltimore played from behind in their entire week 1, and the Bombers needed 13 points in the fourth quarter to force overtime against the Gold Miners – we’ll be looking to see whether either can hold a lead in this game.

2003 Edmonton Eskimos -4½ at 1994 Sacramento Gold Miners, over/under 56½ points.

Call these two sides the positive surprises of week 1. The late-entry ’03 Eskimos ran up an impressive 34 against the Argos, while the Miners scored 23 points in the game’s first 50 minutes against the Bombers, one of the DSCFL’s better defenses. In a 10-game season, an 0-2 hole is major, so figure Sacramento to play even craftier ball than last week – but they’ll have to avoid the fourth-quarter collapse against an ’03 Esks side, at nearly 32 points per game, that seems to score on every possession. And how topsy-turvy could Sacramento make things on the standings board already with a win…?

–written by Os Davis

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

2020 Week 1: Edmonton 36 @ Baltimore 28

The 2020 Dream Season kicked off with blockbuster start to the year as two titans clashed south of the border at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore. While both teams exhibited some sloppy play on both sides of the ball, the offenses and defenses of the two juggernauts were on full display in a rain-delayed game that had the fans scurrying for cover.

The defenses tested each other out for the first 25 minutes, as the 1981 Eskimos were limited to two Dave Cutler field goals to give Edmonton a 6-0 lead after the first quarter. Edmonton quarterback Warren Moon was sacked hard twice in the last five minutes of the opening frame by the Stallions' All Star defensive tackle Jearld Baylis and linebacker Tracy Gravely, and to add injury to insult, Esks' fullback Neil Lumsden was knocked out of the game with a lower body injury, and did not return. Moon finally got on track on the final drive of the quarter, spreading the ball around to march 70 yards to the Baltimore 21 where Cutler hit his second 3-pointer of the day.

Edmonton's defense proved they were no pushovers either, holding Stallions All Star running back Mike Pringle to runs of -1 and 2 yards to force an early Turnover on Downs to kick off the second quarter, before the teams traded two-and-outs. Edmonton settled for a 3rd Field Goal, and the score stood Dave Cutler 9, Baltimore 0 after the Green and Gold kicker's 51-yard attempt was good. That score seemed to ignite the sluggish Baltimore offense as the Stallions marched methodically down the field, spreading the ball out between passes to receivers Chris Armstrong and Robert Clark before Pringle got on track with 4 consecutive runs to cap the drive with a 1-yard plunge to put Baltimore's first points on the board. Coach Don Matthews showed he doesn't care if it was the first game or the championship game, going for a 2-point convert to bring Edmonton's lead to a single point. Moon, no slouch himself in aerial displays, treated the fans to an aerial display of his own, spreading the ball out between receivers Tommy Scott, Waddell Smith, and Brian Kelly to match the major score, and Cutler's successful convert brought the Green and Gold lead up to to 16-8 with 30 seconds left in the opening half. Edmonton's defense reminded Tracy Ham to keep his head on a swivel as defensive end James "Quick" Parker blew past Baltimore tackle Shar Pourdanesh to sack the Stallions pivot to end the half.

After a lengthy rain delay, Joe Hollimon's 82-yard kick return opened the second half, but the home town defense stiffened and kept Edmonton to another 3-pointer, but on the first Baltimore play of the half, Ham hit rookie receiver Mike Cook with a 75-yard catch-and-run before the fans had all gotten back to their seats with their hot dogs and beer. Moon resumed his air show, with 49- and 29-yard strikes to Waddell Smith, before running back Jim Germany mopped up on a 1-yard plunge to maintain their lead. The 3rd quarter was full of offensive gaffes as well, as the ball seemed to be greased up like a pig at a county fair. First, kicker Carlos Huerta missed a 47-yard field goal, then Stallions' cornerback Irvin Smith intercepted a sure touchdown pass from Moon to Scott. Esks' own corner Larry Highbaugh returned the favour 4 plays later, picking off Ham, as Edmonton headed back toward the goal line, when again the Baltimore front 7 stiffened and forced another turnover on downs on their 7 yard line. A two-and-out from the hometown squad looked like they might concede a 2-point safety, when a mishandled snap by punter Josh Miller had the teams all scrambling for the loose ball, before All-Canadian Defensive Tackle Dave "Dr. Death" Fennell corralled the loose ball to score another touchdown in the final minute of the quarter to padd the visitor's lead 33-15.

After yet another weather delay, Baltimore convinced their fans that this team was made of stern stuff in the final frame as a pair of major scores, aided by a fumble recovery on a kickoff by linebacker O.J. Brigance brought the team within 5 halfway through the fourth quarter. Moon hit with a pair of strikes to Kelly and Smith to bring the Esks within Cutler range, and the score read 36-28, but hanging heavier on their mind was an injury to Defensive lineman Baylis, and Baltimore seemed to run out of gas after their defensive captain was forced out of the game. Without Baylis' strong presence up front, Edmonton managed to control the ball - and the clock - the last 2 minutes of the game, to hold on and seal the victory.

If this is what these teams look like in week 1, we can't wait to see them knock heads again in week 6, when Baltimore heads north to Edmonton to try and disappoint the fans of the Green and Gold. Next up for the Edmonton squad are Rocket Ismail and Pinball Clemons as they host the 1991 Toronto Argonauts, while Baltimore travels to IG Field to take on the 2019 Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Click for Full Game Stats

Monday, May 18, 2020

2020 Week 1: Winnipeg 32 @ Sacramento 26 (OT)

It took a 10 point fourth quarter comeback and overtime, but the 2019 Grey Cup champion Winnipeg Blue Bombers came through on the road in their first foray into the Dream League. Andrew Harris and Chris Streveler ran a run based offense for chunks of the second half and overwhelmed the Gold Miners' run defense, with the Bombers going for 203 yards on the ground as a team.

The big reason they fell behind in the first place, though, was the David Archer to Rod Harris connection. Harris had 10 catches for 222 yards, including two controversial sideline catches that were called incomplete by the field officials but were overturned by the replay booth. One set up a 9 yard Roman Anderson field goal on the final play of the first half to put Sacramento up for the first time in the game, 13-10.

The game got off to a chaotic start, with Matt Nichols being intercepted by Jason Wallace in Sacramento territory on the first drive of the game. This was followed by Marcus Sayles blocking a 47 yard field goal attempt to keep the Miners off the board. Turnovers then became much harder to come by, as the offenses were able to move the ball up and down the field for the most part. Andrew Harris ran for a 44 yard touchdown to open the scoring, and then the teams traded field goals. The offenses would stall out and trade punts twice before Sacramento put up a 94 yard drive to tie the game, with Tony Hargain scoring on a 7 yard pass from David Archer. A few more punts as time wound down in the half led to the Harris catch and Anderson's go-ahead field goal.

Sacramento took the second half kickoff and proceeded to roll down the field on an 85 yard drive which led to a 10 point lead when David Archer snuck the ball in from the 1. The Bombers would follow with a 79 yard drive of their own which died at the Sacramento 2. It was the first appearance of the Streveler package, as he took over early in the drive on a second and three and completed a play action pass for a first down, and then almost closed the gap in the score, but Harris was stopped one yard short on third and three from the four. The field position would still grant the Bombers 3 on the next drive, as they took over in Sacramento territory following a punt. The Miners almost extended their lead to two touchdowns, but faltered at the Winnipeg 15 and settled for 3. With 11 minutes remaining, the defending Grey Cup champions were staring defeat in the face.

Matt Nichols then came up big, hitting Darvin Adams for 37 yards to flip field position, and the Streveler package took over on 3rd and 2 from the Sacramento 17. Deciding that 6 was imperative here, the Bombers went for it and Harris took off through the mass of humanity for 11 yards and a first down, and Streveler did the rest, with a 6 yard bootleg to narrow the gap to 3. Sacramento gained a first down on the next drive, put penalties and a Jackson Jeffcoat sack put them in 3rd and 29, and Winnipeg took over at their 38 with 2:40 to play. They'd milk the clock down, as they got into field goal range early, and went very conservative late, relying on Justin Medlock to tie it, and he did with 10 seconds to go from 47 yards out.

The teams traded field goals on their first possessions in overtime, neither achieving a first down. Winnipeg then went up 6 with Andrew Harris scoring his second touchdown of the game from 35 yards out, but the convert failed, as Harris was swarmed over at the line. It didn't matter, though, as Sacramento committed a personal foul on a 3rd and 1 play that put a first down out of reach on the next play, and the Bombers escaped with a win.

The Bombers are now 1-0 and host the 1995 Baltimore Stallions next week, while Sacramento hosts the 2003 Edmonton Eskimos.

Click for full game stats

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Welcome to the 2020 Cold Snap Dream League!

The Original Cold Snap Six
2020 Dream Season

1981 Edmonton Eskimos
1991 Toronto Argonauts
1994 Sacramento Gold Miners
1995 Baltimore Stallions
2003 Edmonton Eskimos
2019 Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Week 1
1981 Edmonton 36 @ 1995 Baltimore 28
2019 Winnipeg 32 @ 1994 Sacramento 26 (OT)
1991 Toronto 18 @ 2003 Edmonton 34

Week 2
1991 Toronto 27 @ 1981 Edmonton 24
1995 Baltimore 17 @ 2019 Winnipeg 24
2003 Edmonton 33 @ 1994 Sacramento 27

Week 3
1994 Sacramento 26 @ 1995 Baltimore 23
2019 Winnipeg 24 @ 1991 Toronto 14
1981 Edmonton 29 @ 2003 Edmonton 21

Week 4
1981 Edmonton 39 @ 2019 Winnipeg 32
1991 Toronto 19 @ 1994 Sacramento 13
2003 Edmonton 27 @ 1995 Baltimore 24

Week 5
1994 Sacramento 21 @ 1981 Edmonton 38
1995 Baltimore 21 @ 1991 Toronto 49
2019 Winnipeg 15 @ 2003 Edmonton 11

Week 6
1995 Baltimore 16 @ 1981 Edmonton 39
1994 Sacramento @ 2019 Winnipeg
2003 Edmonton 7 @ 1991 Toronto 30

Week 7
1981 Edmonton 31 @ 1991 Toronto 16
2019 Winnipeg 17 @ 1995 Baltimore 21
1994 Sacramento 20 @ 2003 Edmonton 23

Week 8
1995 Baltimore @ 1994 Sacramento
1991 Toronto 33 @ 2019 Winnipeg 23
2003 Edmonton 21 @ 1981 Edmonton 31

Week 9
2019 Winnipeg @ 1981 Edmonton
1994 Sacramento @ 1991 Toronto
1995 Baltimore @ 2003 Edmonton

Week 10
1981 Edmonton @ 1994 Sacramento
1991 Toronto @ 1995 Baltimore
2003 Edmonton @ 2019 Winnipeg