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.
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