Alouettes-Elks Preview

National Sports

Bulletin board material always makes for an extra interesting game.

Saturday night’s matchup between the visiting Montreal Alouettes and Edmonton Elks now has a little added spice to it.Montreal defensive tackle Almondo Sewell had some biting comments this week about Edmonton quarterback Trevor Harris, his former teammate, before the two meet at Commonwealth Stadium.

“You hit him one time, he starts folding,” Sewell said. “Let’s see if he’s the old Trevor.”

Elks coach Jaime Elizondo took a more tactical approach.

“Our policy, my policy, personally is I don’t want to talk about any players that aren’t on this team, so I have no comment on that,” he said.

Sewell was an All-Star for seven of his nine seasons in Edmonton before departing the team in free agency in February 2020. The Alouettes will be the final team to play their season opener and are coming off a 10-8 season in 2019 to earn their first playoff appearance since 2014.

Vernon Adams Jr. passed for 24 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in his first season as the starting quarterback and also rushed for 394 yards and 12 scores.

He gets plenty of help from running back William Stanback, who was named an All-Star in 2019 after rushing for 1,048 yards and adding 329 receiving yards.

Edmonton seeks its first win of the young season after a disappointing 16-12 loss to Ottawa last Saturday night.

The game’s turning point came with 5:03 remaining when Ottawa’s Abdul Kanneh returned an interception 102 yards for a touchdown to give the Redblacks their first lead of the game.

The Elks has some impressive individual performances despite the defeat, as Harris passed for 333 yards and James Wilder Jr. had 89 yards rushing and 72 yards receiving.

“I feel like it helps the overall offence but I love those touches,” Wilder said. “I thrive on it. I feel like I get stronger as I go. The fans cheering after every big play, I missed all of that.”

Failing to convert in the red zone continues to be an issue for Harris and the Elks. Of the 11 quarterbacks that had 20-plus red zone opportunities in 2019, Harris ranked last with just 4.24 points per trip. The season opener was more of the same as Edmonton managed just three total points on three trips into the red zone.

Edmonton posted a 37-29 victory over Montreal in the Eastern semifinal on November 10, 2019 in the most recent meeting, as Harris had a CFL playoff record 22 consecutive completions en route to 421 passing yards. The teams split two regular-season matchups earlier that year.

Edmonton has won six consecutive home meetings against the Alouettes, dating to September 12, 2014.

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