The Edmonton Elks broke a decade-long losing streak on Sept. 6 — their 32-20 win over the Calgary Stampeders gave the Elks their first win on Labour Day since the 2011 CFL season.
The Elks will look to sweep their provincial rivals Saturday when they host the Stampeders in the Labour Day Rematch on The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium.
The last time the Elks swept the Labour Day series with the Stampeders was back in the 2004 season.
Sweeping the series hasn’t been much of a hurdle in recent history for the Stampeders, though, who have achieved the feat in six of the last eight seasons.
The last split of the series occurred in 2018.
This is the 31st year of the Labour Day series and Elks defensive back Aaron Grymes says the rematch has just as much meaning as the Labour Day game in Calgary.
“I never understood why, despite the fact it’s on Labour Day, why one game gets more hype than the other,” Grymes said.
“You’re still playing your rival, one game is at their house and the other game is at your house. Both games are not the same but they do carry the same meaning. There’s still a lot of — maybe not this season but in most seasons — there’s a lot of playoff seeding implications that go into these games.”
A win by the Elks on Saturday would give them a third straight win after an 0-2 start. It would give the Elks a perfect 3-0 record against the Western Division and would drop the Stampeders record to 1-5. A win could also pull the Elks into a share of second place in the division.
Aaron Grymes along with middle linebacker Kieshawn Bierria will return to the Elks starting lineup after missing Monday’s game due to COVID protocols. Receiver Tevaun Smith will return to the lineup as well after spending a game in COVID protocol. Running back Walter Fletcher will play his first game of the season since Aug 14. Defensive back Albert Smalls and offensive lineman Tomas Jack-Kurdyla have been added to the active roster.
Fullback Tanner Green (shoulder), running back Terry Williams (coaches decision), and linebacker Brian Walker (undisclosed) have all been placed on the team’s one-game injured list. Linebacker Malik Clements who lead all Elks defenders on Monday with eight defensive tackles has been placed on the six-game injured list with a pectoral injury. Receiver Hunter Karl and defensive back Afolabi Laguda have been placed back on the team’s practice roster.
The Stampeders will be given a boost on offence Saturday as Bo Levi Mitchell will start at quarterback after missing the last three games with a broken fibula. Elks head coach Jamie Elizondo says Mitchell’s presence will be felt.
“He has a track record of success so we have to prepared for his best. There’s always an emotional uplift anytime that you’re struggling, when the guy you’ve battled with repeatedly comes back in – there’s always an uplifting of the team,” Elizondo said.
“We have to be prepared for that and handle it. We have to make sure our intensity level is higher than theirs.”
The following are the projected offensive and defensive starters for the Elks.
Quarterback: Trevor Harris
Running back: James Wilder Jr. (fullback: James Tuck)
Offensive line: De’Ondre Wesley, Kyle Saxelid, David Beard, Matt O’Donnell, Justin Renfrow
Receivers: Derel Walker, Greg Ellingson, Shai Ross, Mike Jones, Earnest Edwards
Defensive line: Mathieu Betts, Jake Ceresna, Mike Moore, Kwaku Boateng
Linebackers: Nyles Morgan, Kieshawn Bierria, Darius Williams
Defensive backs: Jonathon Mincy, Trumaine Washington, Jordan Hoover, Aaron Grymes, Jonathon Rose
You can hear live coverage of the Labour Day Rematch between Elks and Stampeders on 630 CHED starting with Countdown to Kickoff at 3:30 p.m. The opening kickoff on The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium will be at 5 p.m. with Morley Scott and Dave Campbell calling all of the live action. Plus, hear analysis from Blake Dermott and Eddie Steele.
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