By Perry Lefko
If week one of the 2018 Canadian Football League season is a harbinger of what is to come on the long road to the Grey Cup it could be truly interesting leading up to the championship game in November.
The opening-game of the season between the visiting Edmonton Eskimos and hometown Winnipeg Blue Bombers had it all; including lightning storms that suspended play twice – dragging things out more than five hours.
It produced a highly-entertaining game that the Esks won 33-30 and unveiled a player: Chris Streveler, whose efforts have earned him Perry’s Player Of The Week.
A raw-rookie straight out of college, whose only CFL experience came this pre-season; was thrust into the starter’s role following the injury of Matt Nichols, Streveler showed the poise of a veteran.
He played within himself, moving the sticks with his arms and his legs. While he turned over the ball twice on interceptions, the second was on a desperate Hail Mary pass. The first was the result of an outstanding defensive play by J.C. Sherritt (and more on him later).
Streveler completed 15 of 28 passes, three of them for touchdowns. He also rushed seven times for 30 yards.
Chris was dealing with so many factors – starting in a regular-season game that was halted twice, combining with inclement conditions.
What an impressive debut!
Duke Williams was another one of my players to watch. Streveler was awesome! Thanks for the input. Keep it coming! @CFLPA
— Perry Lefko (@PLefko) June 17, 2018
Zach Collaros (Saskatchewan, QB)
In Collaros’ first regular-season game for the Riders, he delivered a sound performance, completing 18 of 25 passes for 203 yards and had one touchdown pass. He threw to nine different receivers, while also rushing once for two yards. Purely for his confidence, following a year in which he lost his starting job in Hamilton and was later traded, he needed that type of result.
Still early, but you know I’m a big believer in ZC. He’s running a similar system he ran when he was an Argo, and he absolutely loves that system.
— Angelo V (@AngVarv) June 18, 2018
Mike Reilly (Edmonton, QB)
Reilly did what he usually does in playing a solid all-around game. Mike showed his veteran composure in closing out a game that could have easily gotten away from him, and just about anyone else… overcoming 2 distinct weather-induced play-stoppages.
Jonathon Jennings (BC, QB)
Jennings showed some of the form he displayed in his sophomore season. He completed 20 of 24 passes for 183 yards and tossed two TDs. He kept plays alive with his feet, running nine times for 57 yards.
Charleston Hughes (Saskatchewan, DL)
Saskatchewan’s Charleston Hughes is easily my pick for standout defensive performance of the week. Hughes registered three sacks in his first game for his new team, landing him at 100 for his career. Charleston also chipped in with four defensive tackles and one fumble recovery. Earlier in the day, he tweeted on his account @sackatchewan, which is a brilliant handle, about Ronaldo scoring a hat in the World Cup and said, “guess it’s my turn now.” Well played Charleston…
What I loved most about it was his reaction in a halftime interview by which time he’d already recorded the “sack trick,” as some called it. When asked about it, he paused for a couple seconds and then exclaimed “WOOOO!” Reminded me of the character Rod Tidwell in the movie Jerry Maguire.
I think he should call his sack dance The Charleston. Get it?
Charleston Hughes. Still the man. Tyrell Sutton. Needs to be used 4Q’s.
— Mark Fulton (@FenderGuy69) June 17, 2018
J.C. Sherritt (Edmonton, LB)
Coming off an Achilles tendon injury last year that basically wiped out his season, he recorded an interception with tremendous athleticism and added three defensive tackles to his game totals. It was yet another example of why he is one of the best middle linebackers in the game.
Brett Lauther (Saskatchewan, K/P)
Lauther nailed four of five field goals, as he begins to heat up with his new team in the wake of Tyler Crapigna’s season-ending injury.
I liked what Calgary did rotating running backs Terry Williams and Don Jackson. Collectively they ran for 120 yards on 19 carries, resulting in one rushing touchdown. Jackson was the more explosive of the two, but Williams was also handling return duties.
Don Jackson looked good for sure.
— Perry Lefko (@PLefko) June 18, 2018
Kevin Fogg (Winnipeg, DB/KR)
Fogg returned a missed field goal for a 110-yard touchdown, which is easily my favourite special teams play from the CFL’s first week of action.
PLAY OF THE WEEK:
Calgary receiver – Juwan Brescacin went up and reigned in a massive one-handed catch for a huge gain on a broken play. That 42-yard haul will be tough to beat as far catches of the year, but it’s early, and remember last year was the Year of the Catch.
GAME ONE HIGHLIGHTS OF PERRY’S BREAKOUT PLAYERS:
- B.C. receiver Shaq Johnson caught two passes, one for a TD, for 46 yards.
- B.C. defensive tackle Davon Coleman recorded seven defensive tackles.
- Calgary receiver Reggie Begelton caught two passes for 60 yards.
- Calgary safety Tunde Adeleke had three defensive tackles, one sack, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. He also broke up a couple of passes.
- Edmonton receiver D’haquille Williams had four catches for 74 yards.
- Hamilton receiver Jalen Saunders had seven catches for 118 yards.
- Montreal receiver Eugene Lewis caught two passes for 23 yards and recovered a fumble for a touchdown.
- Montreal guard Trey Rutherford dressed for his first CFL game.
- Saskatchewan receiver Caleb Holley had two catches for 47 yards.
- Toronto fullback Declan Cross netted four catches for 10 yards and a TD.
- Toronto receiver Jimmy Ralph had two catches for 25 yards.
- Argos’ kicker Ronnie Pfeffer converted his only field-goal attempt, averaged 48.4 yards on punting and 67.7 on kickoffs.
- Toronto DB Alden Darby posted four defensive tackles.
- Winnipeg receiver Nic Demski had four catches for 32 yards.
- Winnipeg linebacker Jovan Santos-Knox had six defensive tackles and one sack.
— Perry Lefko (@PLefko) June 17, 2018