EDMONTON — The number 15 will be on full display during a Friday night confrontation between two teams with their sights on the playoffs.
The league’s top two offensive powers in Edmonton (6-6) and Hamilton (9-3) will square off Friday night at The Brick Field in Commonwealth Stadium. Edmonton will honour legendary quarterback Ricky Ray, who wore the number 15, at halftime by naming him to the team’s Wall of Honour.
On the field, Edmonton quarterback Logan Kilgore will start in place of an injured Trevor Harris. Kilgore will don Ray’s number 15 against the Ticats Friday. The Californian has made one appearance this season, throwing 242 passing yards and one touchdown.
“If you look at anyone who has been good in this league, at some point they came in for somebody,” Kilgore said. “You get an opportunity and that’s what happens.”
“It’s kind of surreal that this opportunity is arising for Logan,” Esks head coach, and former teammate of Ray’s, Jason Maas told the Edmonton Journal this week. “And not only that, Logan and Ricky are very close. They come from the same area, they’ve known each other for a long time too. I think Logan has as much respect for Ricky as he does for probably anybody in football. I think we all do.”
As for Harris, he is now on the one-game injured list. He practised at different points this week, trying to play through a forearm injury. He spoke to the media earlier this week about the pain he was suffering.
“It was almost debilitating,” he said. “Just not being able to throw a football. It’s something I’ve been able to do my whole life. It’s like one of your senses is gone. I was like ‘I can’t throw, I don’t know what to do’.”
Friday’s meeting will be the first between Hamilton and Edmonton this season. The Ticats are also coming off an 19-18 loss to the Calgary Stampeders, their first in their last five games. Ticats head coach Orlondo Steinauer anticipates a tough matchup against a well-rested opponent.
“Coming off a bye, we’re going to get Edmonton’s best, so this should be a great football game,” Steinauer said.
“I’m just trying to do whatever my job is,” Ticats quarterback Dane Evans said. “To move the ball down the field and put some points on the board.”
“You’ve got to match (Edmonton’s defence) play for play as much as you can,” Ticats defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach Mark Washington said. “They have an outstanding front. They put a lot of pressure on the quarterback. Hopefully, we can do the same thing.”
Tiger-Cats receiver Jalin Marshall will be in the lineup Friday. The former National Football League draft pick has yet to make a catch in the Canadian Football League. Defensive back Will Likely III will also be in the lineup. Hamilton will sit linebacker Jordan Moore and receiver Justin Sumpter, with both players on the practice roster.
Luke Tasker returned to practice this week but is not yet ready to return. Meanwhile, the Ticats will start Jackson Bennett at running back, with Anthony Coombs also in the equation as Tyrell Sutton remains on the practice roster.
Shutdown corner Delvin Breaux is still on the six-game injured list, as the Ticats have had to overcome plenty of injuries en route to their impressive record so far.
Edmonton defensive end and Canadian Mathieu Betts will make his CFL debut Friday. The 24-year old tried to catch on with the Chicago Bears of the NFL earlier this year. Edmonton drafted Betts in this year’s draft and they put pen to paper on a contract during the bye week.
“The whole point for me is to make my time here in Edmonton count,” said Betts, who was ranked the country’s top amateur prospect by the CFL Scouting Bureau before going in the first round back in the spring. “I’m looking forward to my first game against Hamilton and just trying to work on my craft.”
Edmonton will also start defensive back Forrest Hightower and left tackle Tommie Draheim Friday. Neither player suited up for the team during their last game, a loss versus Calgary Sept. 7.
Defensive back Scott Hutter will also be in the lineup. Defensive back Tyquwan Glass, linebacker Jonathan Walton and offensive lineman Kwabena Asare have been moved to the practice roster. Defensive lineman Jesse Joseph has been placed on the six-game injured list.
BY THE NUMBERS
0 — For all the love that Edmonton’s defence has received, they have yet to register a defensive touchdown. They also haven’t had a kick return for a touchdown yet this year.
500 — Ticats defensive end Simoni Lawrence needs one more tackle to have 500 for his career. He is 38th all-time in tackles.
33 — Ticats receiver Brandon Banks needs 33 more receiving yards to have 1,000 for the season. It would result in a third straight season with 1,000 receiving yards or more.
14 — Edmonton kicker Sean Whyte has made 14 consecutive field goals coming into Friday’s game.
AFI, Yare Media and the CFL
American Football International is collaborating with Yare Media and the Canadian Football League to present 2019 CFL games live. This is more than a livestream. This is a stream of the top flight TSN network television broadcast.