Eskimos 19 Blue Bombers 17
EDMONTON — The Edmonton Eskimos won their season opener, but unfortunately for them running back Jesse Lumsden wasn’t a very big part of it.
Ricky Ray passed for one touchdown and ran in another as the Eskimos slipped past the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 19-17 Thursday night, giving Richie Hall a win in his coaching debut.
The win came at a cost for Edmonton, however, as Lumsden, a key off-season acquisition for the Eskimos, didn’t even make a it a full quarter before suffering an injury. With just 33 seconds to play in the opening frame, Lumsden left after a hit from former Eskimo Siddeeq Shabazz.
The oft-injured 26-year-old was taken to hospital for X-rays on his left shoulder.
“My heart goes out to him,” Hall said. “There’s a lot of life in Jesse. We don’t know the extent of his injury right now. I know he is disappointed. I saw his reaction at half-time, he was very frustrated when he came off the field. It’s a tough time for him right now. He’s very disappointed. He’s doing the best under the circumstances.”
Bombers coach Mike Kelly was also making his CFL debut, but his first game did not go as smoothly as Hall’s. With Edmonton holding a narrow 19-16 lead, Winnipeg missed a late field goal attempt that would have tied the game.
Winnipeg kicker Alexis Serna actually hit his first attempt from 47 yards, but Edmonton had taken a time out and the play was blown dead. Serna’s second attempt was wide to give Winnipeg a moot single and Edmonton a narrow 19-17 victory.
“I made the first one. So I just told myself to hit it like the first one,” Serna said. “You just lose focus sometimes. You make some, you miss some.”
Bombers quarterback Stefan LeFors admitted it was a disappointing debut for the team.
“To come that close at the end and to have a chance to send it to overtime and then not being able to, that’s tough to swallow,” he said. “In the first half I think we killed ourselves by putting too much pressure on our defence but they did a great job holding them down and keeping us in it. Too many stalled drives. That’s not going to cut it.”
Ray also said his team could have been better.
“We didn’t play up to our expectations offensively but you take the wins where you can get them,” he said. “You are going to win ugly every now and then. It is better than losing ugly. We have to be happy coach Hall called the timeout right when he did and take this win and try to get better offensively.”