Irrespective of how shut, a loss is a loss because the Elks open the CFL season

Ending up oh-so near successful at Commonwealth Stadium in entrance 32,233 within the stands that made up their largest crowd in virtually a season-and-a-half — whereas lastly placing an finish to that nagging 18-game dwelling dropping skid, no much less — needs to be a tricky tablet to swallow

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Nicely, at the least it wasn’t 59-15. Proper?

The Edmonton Elks ended up a yard wanting taking the lead within the dying minutes of their season-opener, solely to fall 17-13 to the visiting Saskatchewan Roughriders on Sunday.

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An interception by center linebacker Nyles Morgan gave them the ball again inside Saskatchewan’s 30 yard-line earlier than a defensive pass-interference name set the Elks up one yard from the tip zone.

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However it proved to be a bridge too far, because the Roughriders defence got here up with again to again to again stops in opposition to short-yardage specialist Kai Locksley on consecutive quarterback keepers.

Certain, the Elks had loads of different possibilities to provide you with the go-ahead landing. In spite of everything, they made it look straightforward on a 102-yard grab-and-go into the tip zone by star free-agent acquisition Eugene Lewis to take a 10-3 lead within the second quarter.

However none of their different alternatives appeared so simple as punching by means of a goal-line stand, particularly when contemplating Locksley’s effectiveness at doing exactly that, after choosing up these powerful yards all yr lengthy as a rookie in 2022.

Nonetheless, it’s a far cry higher than getting completely blown as much as kick issues off a season in the past, when the Elks fell by that atrociously lopsided 59-15 rating to the then-Nathan Rourke-led B.C. Lions in final yr’s opener at BC Place Stadium.

Or is it?

Ending up oh-so-close to successful at Commonwealth Stadium in entrance of 32,233 within the stands that made up their largest crowd in virtually a season-and-a-half — whereas lastly placing an finish to that nagging 18-game dwelling dropping skid, no much less — needs to be a tricky tablet to swallow too.

“It’s powerful any time you lose a sport in professional soccer, a lot much less you lose a house sport in professional soccer,” head coach and common supervisor Chris Jones stated as on-field preparations obtained underway forward of Saturday’s sport (5 p.m., TSN, 630 CHED) on the highway in opposition to the Lions. “So, any time you lose a sport, with all of the work and the preparation that you simply put in, and all of the positivity that you simply felt within the pre-season, and then you definately get to your first alternative to mainly go race the man subsequent to you and also you fall brief.

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“Sadly, that’s the fact of professional sports activities. And now, it turns into the actual take a look at of preparing for a extremely good B.C. staff on the highway.”

Vancouver is the scene of the crime not solely in final yr’s season-opening bust but additionally a 46-16 loss to the Lions in Edmonton’s follow-up journey in Week 9 the final time they took to the coast.

In fact, that was then and that is now, however BC Place Stadium hasn’t precisely been a welcome vacation spot recently.

“Final yr was final yr, this yr is that this yr, so you possibly can’t actually faucet into what occurred up to now,” stated 14-year veteran receiver Emmanuel Arceneaux. “It was simply a kind of shut video games the place you want you’ll have come out on the successful facet of it as an alternative of the facet we got here out on.

“A loss is irritating. Heck, generally when you don’t play the way you wished to in a win, you might be pissed off. It boils right down to that particular person. However I do know total as a staff, our objective was to go on the market this previous Sunday and win Recreation No. 1 and we fell brief, so in fact it’s irritating however the perfect factor you are able to do is considering shifting ahead.”

Proper, actually, into the Lions den, the place Arceneaux simply so occurred to have spent the primary eight of his 11 CFL seasons.

“As soon as once more, that’s one thing that boils again to the previous,” he stated. “For those who have a look at it, that was dwelling for me for about, what, eight years? So, I’m very conversant in the dome.

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“However I believe you’ve simply obtained to enter B.C. and attempt to deal with enterprise, and that’s the most important factor. Lots of guys, they journey to the town and get caught up within the vacationer elements. So, you don’t need to neglect that you simply’re over there for enterprise and play a soccer sport.”

Following final yr’s opening-day loss, the Elks spent your entire season on the backside of the West Division. However first impressions aren’t essentially the be-all, end-all to the yr.

In 2015, issues couldn’t have began out any worse for Edmonton, who misplaced within the Toronto Argonauts’ ‘dwelling’-opener in Fort McMurray in a sport the place franchise quarterback Michael Reilly blew a knee and missed half the season, solely to return and make them a Gray Cup championship below head coach Jones.

Then there was 2018, which started with successful the longest sport in CFL historical past, beating the Winnipeg Blue Bombers at IG Area after a triple-lightning delay. That yr ended with Edmonton lacking the playoffs whereas the Gray Cup was hosted in their very own city.

“Each sport counts, so this one may have a bearing on the final sport of the yr, the place we find yourself seeded to get into playoffs or whether or not you win the West,” Jones stated. “Or whether or not you get a chance to go try to win the Gray Cup.

“So, that one was a tricky loss. We’ve obtained to go on from right here and do what we’ve obtained to do to turn out to be a greater soccer staff.”


On Twitter: @GerryModdejonge

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