Edmonton Eskimos win cross-over Eastern Conference Semifinal

Edmonton Eskimos win cross-over Eastern Conference Semifinal

John White rushes for 160 yards and two TDs

HAMILTON — John White wants to return to the Grey Cup the right way.

White ran for 160 yards and two TDs to lead the Edmonton to an exciting 24-21 East Division semifinal win over Hamilton on Sunday. Sean Whyte kicked the game-winning nine-yard field goal with seven seconds remaining after Kenny Ladler’s interception gave the Eskimos possession at the Tiger-Cats’ 20-yard line.

Ladler’s interception also won him the team pool for top defensive play of the game.

White was Edmonton’s best answer to the stiff southwest wind that gusted up to 40 kilometres an hour throughout the contest. And that was no accident as the Eskimos boasted the CFL’s second-leading ground attack this season (103.7 yards per game).

“Establishing our run we knew was going to be important today … obviously it was a key to victory for us,” said Eskimos coach Jason Maas.

But the five-foot-eight, 186-pound White reluctantly watched Edmonton’s Grey Cup-winning run last year because of an Achilles injury. Healthy again, he’s anxious to be a key cog in the Eskimos’ title defence.

“Man it feels great,” White said. “I’m not going to get too into it but I just want to take care of the next game and try to get to that Grey Cup the right way.

“It (watching title run) was bitter-sweet but my guys got it done. I have another shot at it this year but I’m not going to let that weigh on my shoulders.”

Amazingly, White was nearly a pre-game scratch. He said he suffered a dislocated finger catching passes prior to the opening kickoff but fortunately was able to have it reset.

“I’m proud of our football team but man, John White, I probably can’t be more proud of a guy than him because of that injury he came back from,” said Maas. “When you’re the starter and your football club goes on to win a Grey Cup without you I mean I think it always lingers in the back of your head, ‘Would they have won with me?’

“I can assure you we can win a Grey Cup with John White as our tailback.”

Edmonton will visit the Ottawa Redblacks in the East Division final Sunday with the winner advancing to the Grey Cup game Nov. 27 at BMO Field.

Hamilton made it interesting in the fourth with the wind. Brett Maher’s 85-yard kickoff single with 4:01 remaining tied it 21-21, further energizing a Tim Hortons Field sellout of 24,182 still buzzing after Zach Collaros hit Brian Tyms on the two-point convert following Jeremiah Masoli’s two-yard TD run at 10:29.

It was set up by Jermaine Robinson’s recovery of Maher’s 36-yard onside punt at the Edmonton 36. However Hamilton was its own worst enemy.

Masoli was stopped short on third-and-1 at the Edmonton 33 with the wind before having to settle for Maher’s 24-yard field goal at 14:41 of the first despite driving to the Eskimos’ 12-yard line. Hamilton took over at the Edmonton 27-yard line in the second thanks to Chris Davis’s blocked punt but Maher missed from 35-yards out.

And late in the fourth, the Ticats launched an unsuccessful challenge looking for a late Odell Willis hit on Collaros.

“All those plays mattered,” said Austin.

Collaros was 20-of-31 passing for 236 yards with the interception. Tyms had 10 catches for 114 yards — both game highs.

Edmonton finished without starter Mike Reilly, who suffered an upper-body injury in the fourth on a rushing play. James Franklin replaced Reilly, who made it crystal clear afterwards that he’ll start next weekend in Ottawa.

“I have no doubt, no,” said Reilly, who was 10-of-19 passing for 133 yards while rushing for 20 yards on four carries. “I’ve played through worse than whatever I’ll be dealing with.”

The East final will be a rematch of last year’s Grey Cup, which Edmonton won 26-20. Maas was the Redblacks’ offensive co-ordinator last season before being hired as the Eskimos head coach when Chris Jones become the head coach/GM of the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Ottawa swept the season series 2-0, winning 45-37 in overtime June 25 before earning a 23-20 victory in August. And that’s left a bitter taste in Maas’s mouth.

“I obviously have a lot of friends there and people who mean a lot to me and I think anytime you have friends you want to beat them probably worse than anybody else,” he said. “I also factor in we’re 0-2 against them this year, that gives us just as much motivation as anything to beat them … we want to rectify that.”

Whyte had three field goals and two converts while Grant Shaw added a single for Edmonton, which led 18-3 at halftime.

C.J. Gable had Hamilton’s other TD, a two-yard run that cut Edmonton’s lead to 18-9 in the third. Maher had two field goals and a single.

Edmonton (10-8) was fourth in West Division but earned the crossover after posting better than third-place finisher Montreal (7-11). Hamilton also 7-11 but won tie-breaker for second.

The loss was Hamilton’s fifth straight at home and dropped its Tim Hortons Field record to 3-7 this year. The Ticats were also 2-9 versus West Division teams.

Hamilton played without injured receivers Andy Fantuz, Chad Owens and Luke Tasker and lost Canadian safeties Courtney Stephen and Mike Daly to injury in the contest.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pharmacist Aamir Hussain, owner of Shoppers Drug Mart in Clearview Market Square, said he expects vaccine to be available to eligible seniors next week at his store. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)
Red Deer pharmacies prepare to be part of COVID-19 immunization plan

Seniors have already been calling to book appointments

Alberta Health Services Logo
AHS checking in with local businesses about COVID-19 plan

Alberta Health Services in the central zone is reaching out to local… Continue reading

FILE - In this Aug. 11, 2019, file photo, an iPhone displays the Facebook app in New Orleans. Facebook says it’s going all in to block the spread of bogus vaccine claims. In practice, that means the social network plans to ban a new bunch of false claims in addition to the old bunch of false claims about vaccines or COVID-19 that it has already banned. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane, File)
Facebook says it will pay $1B over 3 years to news industry

Facebook says it will choose which publishers it will support

An arrest by Red Deer RCMP is facing online scrutiny. No charges have been laid and the incident is still under investigation. (Screenshot of YouTube video)
Aggressive arrest in Red Deer caught on video

Police say officer ‘acted within the scope of his duties’

Butter and sourdough bread is shown at a house in Vernon, B.C. on Wednesday, February 24, 2021. A Quebec dairy farmers' group is calling on milk producers to stop feeding palm oil or its derivatives to livestock as controversy churns over how these supplements affect the consistency of butter. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jesse Johnston
Dairy farmers lobby asks members to stop using palm oil in feed after ‘buttergate’

A dairy producers’ lobbying group is asking farmers to consider alternatives to… Continue reading

A new report says Canada’s small businesses now collectively owe more than $135 billion as they struggle to survive the pandemic, a staggering amount experts say could hurt the country’s economic recovery. (Photo by The Canadian Press)
Canadian small businesses rack up $135 billion in debt to survive pandemic: Report

TORONTO — Canada’s small businesses have collectively taken on $135 billion in… Continue reading

A Loblaws store is seen in Montreal on March 9, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Loblaw ready to call on pharmacists, supply chain to help COVID-19 vaccine rollout

BRAMPTON, Ont. — Loblaw Companies Ltd. says its ready to play a… Continue reading

Imperial Oil logo as seen at the company's annual meeting in Calgary, Friday, April 29, 2016.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Imperial Oil reports one-billion-barrel drop in bitumen reserves at end of 2020

CALGARY — Imperial Oil Ltd. is cutting one billion barrels from its… Continue reading

Justice Minister David Lametti responds to a question during a news conference about training for judges Monday, Oct. 19, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Justice Minister David Lametti proposes permanent justice reforms in wake of pandemic

OTTAWA — The COVID-19 pandemic appears set to force a modernization of… Continue reading

Justice Minister David Lametti during a news conference in Ottawa, Thursday Nov. 26, 2020. Lametti says he will seek parliamentary approval to remove a Quebec judge from the bench after the Supreme Court of Canada declined to hear the judge’s appeal.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Justice minister to seek judge’s removal after Supreme Court declines to hear appeal

OTTAWA — Justice Minister David Lametti says he will seek parliamentary approval… Continue reading

Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy Vice-Admiral Art McDonald is seen during an interview with The Canadian Press in Ottawa, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Military reeling as new defence chief steps aside amid allegations of misconduct

OTTAWA — The Canadian Armed Forces is reeling after news defence chief… Continue reading

William Sandeson arrives at provincial court in Halifax on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015. Canada’s top court has declined to hear a Crown appeal of an overturned murder conviction in the case of a former Nova Scotia medical student. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Supreme Court declines to hear Crown appeal of overturned N.S. murder conviction

Canada’s top court has declined to hear an appeal from the Crown… Continue reading

Most Read