The Edmonton Elks returned to action at Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday (May 27), falling 25-23 to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in CFL pre-season competition.
Edmonton rookie kicker Dean Faithfull came up just short on a 52-yard field-goal attempt as time expired in a game that had many positive takeaways for the Green and Gold, who out-gained the Bombers 421-245 yards on offence.
“We scratched and clawed and gave ourselves a chance to win the game late, and unfortunately we came up a little bit short,” Elks coach and general manager Chris Jones said in a post-game interview on 630 CHED, radio home of the Edmonton Elks.
Tre Ford and Raphael Leonard each scored a touchdown for the Elks, while Faithfull kicked three field goals. Ford (8/9 passing for 48 yards) split quarterbacking duties with Taylor Cornelius (6/9, 53 yards) and Kai Locksley (15/22, 183 yards).
Eleven different Elks players caught passes, with Maurice Ffrench (6 catches for 43 yards) and CJ Sims (2 catches for 50 yards), leading in receptions and receiving yards, respectively. Rookie running back Shannon Brooks carried the ball 13 times for 72 yards, while second-year Elks running back had 55 rushing yards on four attempts.
Saturday’s game marked the first time wearing Green and Gold for a number of Edmonton’s top offseason free-agent acquisitions, including 2022 CFL Most Outstanding Player finalist Eugene Lewis, 2022 CFL East Division All-Star Steven Dunbar Jr. and 2022 CFL All-Star Loucheiz Purifoy.
Edmonton, which was defeated 29-24 by the Calgary Stampeders at McMahon Stadium on Monday (May 22), concludes its preseason schedule, and now has two weeks to prepare for their 2023 season opener, against the Saskatchewan Roughriders at Commonwealth Stadium on June 11.
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Faithful Gives Elks Early Lead in First Quarter
The Elks took an early 3-0 lead on a 36-yard field goal by Faithfull just 2:55 into the game. Winnipeg responded with a touchdown when Blue Bombers quarterback Zach Collaros connected with former Elks receiver Kenny Lawler on a 67-yard scoring play. Edmonton made the score 7-4 on a single from Faithfull.
Elks Keep it Close at Half
Winnipeg extended its lead to 14-4, following a touchdown by Tyrrell Pigrome on a one-yard rush 4:37 into the second quarter. The teams exchanged field goals before the end of the half, and Winnipeg headed into the break leading 17-7.
Ford Finds the Endzone
Ford rushed up the middle and went airborne to score Edmonton’s first touchdown of the game, capping off a 67- yard drive that took more than eight minutes as the Elks cut Winnipeg’s lead to 17-14 with 6:29 to play in the third quarter.
Elks and Bombers Battle to the Finish
Faithfull kicked a 19-yard field goal on the opening play of the fourth quarter to pull the Elks even with Winnipeg at 17-17, but the Blue Bombers answered, going ahead 24-17 after Pigrome scored his second touchdown of the afternoon, on a 45-yard rush to the endzone. Karl Schmitz added a single to put the Bombers up 25-17. Locksley threw a touchdown pass to Raphael Leonard to pull Edmonton within 25-23, before the Elks failed to convert a two-point conversion that would have tied the score with just under two minutes remaining.
THE COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF IS ON
The 2023 CFL season is rapidly approaching. Be there Sunday, June 11 at Commonwealth Stadium when the Edmonton Elks open the season against the Saskatchewan Roughriders. It’s the start of a summer full of family, fun and football. Being part of the action has never been more affordable, with tickets starting at just $15. Click here to get your tickets to the Home Opener and be part of the tradition.
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