June 18, 2022

Elks fall 26-16 to Riders in home-opener

The Edmonton Elks gave the Saskatchewan Roughriders all the visitors could handle at The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday, but were unable to hold on to a fourth quarter lead and fell 26-16 in the Elks’ 2022 home-opener. Edmonton is now 0-2 this season, while the Riders improve to 2-0.

“There’s no consolation prize for coming in second, you either win or lose the football game,” Elks coach Chris Jones said. “So there’s nothing for me to gather and correct the errors that caused us to lose the football game.”

Elks quarterback Nick Arbuckle was 21-for-35 for 315 yards passing, with a touchdown toss to Kenny Lawler. Lawler hauled in 12 passes for 149 yards, while fellow Edmonton receiver Manny Arceneaux had 3 catches for 85 yards, including a 66 yard reception.

Defensively, the Elks got to Roughriders quarterback Fajardo for four sacks. Tobi Antigha forced a Riders fumble that was recovered by Matthew Thomas.

Saskatchewan had multiple early drives into the redzone, but Edmonton’s defence held firm, limiting the Riders to just two Brett Lauther field goals.

After Sergio Castillo missed a 53-yard field goal, Thomas recovered a Riders fumble on the return, giving Edmonton the ball on Saskatchewan’s 18. Four plays later, Arbuckle hooked up with Lawler on a five-yard touchdown pass and the Elks took their first lead, 7-6.

Saskatchewan responded with Jamal Marrow scoring a two-yard touchdown rush with just under a minute remaining in the first half. Adam Konar sacked Fajardo on Saskatchewan’s two-point convert attempt.

On the opening possession of the second half, Arbuckle drove Edmonton to the Riders four-yard line, setting up a chip shot for Castillo, whose field goal cut Saskatchewan’s lead to 12-10. Late in the quarter, Arbuckle found Arceneaux on a 66-yard catch-and-run play, leading to Castillo’s second field goal, from 30 yards, on the last play of the third quarter to give Edmonton a 13-12 lead entering the final period.

The teams exchanged field goals early in the fourth, before Fajardo connected with Mitchell Picton, first for a three-yard touchdown followed by a successful two-point convert, giving Saskatchewan a 23-16 advantage. Lauther added a late field goal to make the final margin 26-16 in the favour.

The Elks return to action next Saturday when they visit the Calgary Stampeders at McMahon Stadium. Edmonton’s next home game is July 7 when the Stamps come to The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium for a rematch.