June 12, 2022

Game Recap | Elks drop season-opener in B.C.

The Edmonton Elks dropped their opening game of the 2022 CFL regular season, falling 59-15 to the B.C. Lions at B.C. Place in Vancouver on Saturday night.

In his Elks debut, quarterback Nick Arbuckle competed 20 of 29 passes for 254 yards. James Wilder Jr. led the Elks with 87 yards total offence, catching four passes for 48 yards and gaining 39 yards on the ground. Kenny Lawler had five receptions for 72 yards, and Derel Walker hauled in six passes for 64 yards.

Kai Locksley scored Edmonton’s first touchdown of 2022, on a QB sneak in the third quarter. Fellow rookie quarterback Tre Ford became the first Canadian quarterback since 1988 to appear in a regular season game for the Green and Gold, passing for eight yards and rushing for eight. Elks kicker Sergio Castillo went three-for-three on field goal attempts.

Lions quarterback Nathan Rourke completed 26 of 29 passes for 282 yards with three touchdowns, and also rushed for two majors. James Butler scored four touchdowns for the Lions, two on the ground and two on passes for Rourke.

“We’ve got to take this loss and swallow that pill,” Edmonton defensive back Ed Gainey said in a post-game interview with 630 CHED radio. “It’s a hard pill to swallow but we’ve got to put our hard hats on and go back to work. It’s not going to be easy. But it’s a long season we’ve just go to hit the ground running and don’t look back.”

After trailing 42-6 after the first half, the Elks’ came out with consecutive scoring drives on their first two possessions of the third quarter, with Locksley rushing for a one-yard touchdown at 10:59, and Castillo kicking a 30-yard field goal after Edmonton’s defense had forced a two and out.

“I think it spoke a lot for the guys in that locker room, of the kind of character and the kind of heart that we have, because it was a tough first half going into the halftime,” Arbuckle said on 630 CHED radio.

“So it was not a very pleasant time at halftime, but being able to come out right away and get back-to-back scoring drives and move the ball well, all kinds of guys all over the field making plays and our offensive line opening up some big holes. I think it was something that we can build on, we just have to see what we did well and continue to work off that.”

Edmonton will look to regroup for their 2022 regular season home-opener, June 18 at The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium against the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

“We’re going to spend a lot of time these next few days, learning from the mistakes we made and trying to correct as many things as we can,” Arbuckle said. “It’s back to the drawing board and we’re going to have to come out with a lot of intensity this next week at practice and we have a big game coming up. This is just one game in an 18-game season, it’s not going to define us. That’s our goal, make sure that this game doesn’t define us and we can learn from it and move on and have a much better week next week.”