There’s still work to do for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers if they’re to win the CFL’s West Division.
And at least for Saturday night’s visit from the Edmonton Elks, they’ll have to do that work without their best wide receiver.
Dalton Schoen, who injured his ankle Oct. 6 in Winnipeg’s 34-26 overtime win at B.C. that clinched a playoff home game, was ruled out for Saturday and is unlikely to play in the Blue Bombers’ regular-season finale next week in Calgary.
Winnipeg (12-4) needs one win or a B.C. loss to clinch home field for the West final on Nov. 11. It will have to do it without Schoen, who has 71 catches, 1,222 yards and 10 touchdowns this year.
“This is professional sports and things like this happen, so you don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket,” Bombers wide receiver Drew Wolitarsky said. “It’s a big hit. We feel that. A lot of us have been through injuries and this is his first real injury.”
Wolitarsky, Brendan O’Leary-Orange, Greg McCrae and several others will probably get more chances to make plays on the perimeter with Schoen sidelined. Winnipeg can also lean on CFL rushing leader Brady Oliveira (1,426 yards) and two-time CFL Most Outstanding Player Zach Collaros at quarterback.
Meanwhile, Edmonton (4-13) is finishing another long, miserable season. The Elks won four of five after starting the year 0-9 but have reverted back to their losing ways. They’ve dropped three straight, including a 35-21 decision last week to Montreal after establishing a 21-3 second-quarter lead.
“It’s the same thing. Same song, about eighth verse this year,” Edmonton coach Chris Jones said. “You jump out and play some good football at times, and then you turn around and play a quarter and a half to two quarters of bad football, which results in a loss.”
In this case, it was 2 1/2 quarters of bad football. The Elks gave up 23 points in less than 3 1/2 minutes late in the second quarter and never got things turned around.
The Bombers are aiming for a season sweep of Edmonton after 28-14 and 38-29 wins on July 20 and Aug. 10, respectively.