The newest members of the Edmonton Elks made big plays as the Green and Gold came up just short, 26-18, in a highly competitive Labour Day Classic against the host Calgary Stampeders at McMahon Stadium on Monday.
In his third game as an Elk, Dillon Mitchell had a team-high 79 yards on six catches with a touchdown; Receiver Jalin Marshall, who was activated from the practice roster prior to the game, had his first receiving touchdown in Green and Gold; Kevin Brown, making his CFL debut after being signed last Thursday, had nearly 100 yards on offence, with 45 on the ground and 51 from six catches.
Avery Ellis, acquired in a Sept. 1 trade with the Montreal Alouettes, sacked Stamps quarterback Jake Maier for a seven yard loss; and defensive back Mark McLaurin, playing his first Elks game after being signed in mid-August, intercepted Maier to snuff out a second quarter Stamps drive into Edmonton territory.
“They’re good players,” Elks coach and general manager Chris Jones said in a post-game interview on 630 CHED, radio flagship of the Elks. “Geroy (Simon, assistant general manager) does a good job, our personnel department does a really good job of finding our players, and I thought our coaches on short notice put our guys in position to have some success, and, of course, credit goes to the players themselves out there on the field just making the play.”
Elks quarterback Taylor Cornelius completed 22 of 33 pass attempts for 257 yards. His 48-yard pass to Mitchell in the endzone is Edmonton’s longest touchdown-scoring play of the season.
Air it out, @TaylorCorn14! ☄️@oktire #LDWeekend | @GoElks pic.twitter.com/p7fk8RvOpm
— CFL (@CFL) September 5, 2022
Defensively, the Elks got to Maier three times, the most a Stampeders quarterback has been sacked in a game this season. Jake Ceresna recording his team-leading fifth and sixth sacks of 2022, the second multi-sack game from the veteran EE lineman in the last four weeks.
The Elks took an 8-7 lead into halftime, on the strength of Mitchell’s major with a convert from Sergio Castillo, and a single by punter Jon Ryan.
After Calgary scored a pair of touchdowns in the first 10 minutes of the third quarter to go ahead 22-8, Edmonton fought back. Castillo kicked a 15-yard field goal at the end of the third, cutting the Stamps lead to 22-11.
Then, with just over five minutes remaining and Edmonton facing third and goal from the Calgary five-yard line, a scrambling Cornelius found Marshall in the back of the endzone for a spectacular touchdown grab that made the score 25-18. Calgary added a single, and the Elks ran out of down and time on their last-minute attempts to drive the field for a tying score.
These teams will meet again in just five days, 6 p.m. Saturday at the Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium, in the annual Labour Day rematch. Tickets are available now through Ticketmaster.