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Argos And Riders Set To Touch Down In Nova Scotia

The Argos and Riders will arrive in Nova Scotia on Wednesday evening, as both teams set up shop in the province for Saturday’s 2022 Touchdown Atlantic game at Acadia University. The Canadian Football League (CFL) and partners from across the country have teamed up to make this year’s Touchdown Atlantic an unforgettable East Coast event.

A three-day affair will feature an energetic tailgate, live local music, a raucous party zone, football clinics, family-friendly fare, and more that will highlight Atlantic Canada’s biggest football celebration from July 14-16 to set the stage for Nova Scotia’s first-ever regular-season CFL contest. You can check out this link for complete information on all the festivities scheduled.

Argos-Riders Touchdown Atlantic Redux

Toronto and Saskatchewan were supposed to square off two years ago in Halifax, Nova Scotia, for the 2020 version of Touchdown Atlantic. However, the game was canceled due to COVID-19. While no game was scheduled in 2021 due to the pandemic, it was confirmed in March this year that the Argonauts would host the Roughriders at Raymond Field for the first Touchdown Atlantic game to be played in Wolfville.

Tickets for the game sold out within one hour of going on sale. Acadia University’s Raymond Field capacity was increased from 3,000 to 10,000 for this year’s Touchdown Atlantic contest.

The Boatmen, who opened their work week practicing at Lamport Stadium, will practice at Harbour East Field in Dartmouth, N.S., on Thursday and Friday. The Roughriders will practice Thursday and Friday at Huskey Stadium in Halifax.

Saskatchewan (4-1) and Toronto (1-2) are coming into Saturday’s contest from different ends of the spectrum. The Argonauts, arriving off a bye week, have lost two straight games to West opponents. Yet somehow, they stand atop the East. The Riders are in a dogfight in an ultra-competitive West division. Despite being 4-1, they are looking up in the standings at two undefeated teams in Winnipeg and Calgary. And the emerging BC Lions are lurking around in the shadows at 3-1.

The pressure is on both teams to win games this season. Both Saskatchewan and Toronto had high expectations for themselves going into 2022. It’s still early in the dance. But the Riders are fulfilling theirs at this point. While the Argos are not. Toronto is in a tough spot this Saturday. They are the host team in what is a neutral site game. Should they lose to the Riders and fall to 1-3. The Boatmen will be headed to Saskatchewan next Saturday for a rematch.

Back-to-back games against the same opponent are common in CFL regular seasons, and it creates a unique dynamic where teams game plan for each other differently from games one to two. The Riders have already experienced it in 2022 against Montreal. You can catch a team off guard the first time you play them in a preferred setting at home, as the Alouettes did to Sask in Week 3. But Toronto, despite being well-rested, doesn’t have that luxury in Nova Scotia. Because of this, winning Touchdown Atlantic is much more crucial for the Argos.

Argos Practice News And Notes

After conducting a walkthrough on Monday, the Argos returned to a full practice on Tuesday. Compared to previous weeks, Toronto’s injury report had fewer names than usual.

The Argos’ offensive line has been a source of concern all season, with the team missing two top starters in C Peter Nicastro and LT Isiah Cage. Sources indicate that Nicastro is still weeks away from returning. He is currently on the six-game injured list. But he could be out longer recovering from knee surgery.

The good news is that LT Isiah Cage, who hasn’t played for the Boatmen since 2019. And has missed the first three games of 2022 due to a head injury, practiced in full on Tuesday. It’s a positive sign for Cage’s chances of playing on Saturday. However, leading into Toronto’s game with Winnipeg, Cage practiced in full, only to suffer a setback and miss yet another game. So the team and player are proceeding with cautious optimism.

Another positive sign on the opening injury report is that RT Dejon Allen, who has battled knee issues the last two games, is not listed. The Double Blue are also getting back OL Theren Churchill, who has been away from the team this summer aiding his wife after the birth of their first child. He hasn’t officially come off the team’s suspended list. But when he does, Churchill should assist the Argos depth up front.

The bad news for the Boatmen is that starting Guard Philip Blake was limited in Tuesday’s practice with a groin injury. Shane Richards or Gregor MacKellar could be in line to start on Saturday if Blake cannot dress.

Missing Blake provides an interesting dilemma for Double Blue. In-game, the proven veteran provides depth at Centre; if an injury were to occur, Blake would slide over from Guard. But if he is not available, the Boatmen would need another contingency backup plan. The Argos recently released C Jonathan Zamora, who reunited with his former team Calgary on Monday. Rookie Braydon Noll, who is on Toronto’s practice roster, has some experience in the middle if needed.


Player NamePositionInjuryTUEWEDTHU
Acheampong, SamDLHealthy ScratchFULL  
Blake, PhilOLGroinLIMITED  
Boateng, MattDBHamstringFULL  
Cage, IsiahOLHeadFULL  
Kelly, ChadQBNot Injury RelatedDNP  
McManis, WyntonLBNot Injury RelatedDNP  
Polite, JachaiDLHealthy ScratchFULL  
Sutton, EricDBNot Injury RelatedDNP  

Also notably absent from Toronto’s injury report is RB Andrew Harris. He has been limited the last few weeks by a hamstring injury. Harris is coming off his best performance of the season, rushing for 111 yards against his former team. The extra week of rest has aided Harris in his recovery.

Backup QB Chad Kelly is away from the team dealing with a family issue, and he’s expected back with the team shortly. For now, Austin Simmons is McLeod Bethel-Thompson’s backup in practice.

The Argos will practice on Wednesday and Thursday before having a final walkthrough on Friday. Heading into Touchdown Atlantic, this is the healthiest Toronto has been on defense all season long. And they are getting back 2021 CFL All-Star Chris Edwards.

On the flip side, Saskatchewan also released its injury report on Tuesday. The most notable player limited in practice was WR Kyran Moore (knee). Defensive lineman Pete Robertson who leads the CFL in sacks with seven has a foot injury and did not participate in practice.

The big story, however, coming out of Riderville is the four-game suspension for defensive linemen Garrett Marino for his actions in last week’s game against Ottawa and Jeremiah Masoli. Saskatchewan will be without Marino’s services in their dual battles with Double Blue.

The Argos will see some familiar faces in Green this coming weekend. Excluding, of course, the well-documented rise of QB Cody Fajardo as seldom used Double Blue backup to Riders star pivot.

Longtime Argonaut Jamal Campbell will face his former team this weekend from the opposite sidelines for the first time in his CFL career. Thus far, Campbell has served as a swing lineman for the Roughriders. Former Alouettes returner appears ready to make his Riders debut. The emergence of former Boatmen WR Chandler Worthy with the Als precipitated Alford’s arrival in Saskatchewan. 2021 Argo Charleston Hughes, who struggled mightily in the Six, missed last week’s game against Ottawa but has already recorded half his sack total from a year ago.

Player NamePositionInjuryTUEWEDTHUGame Status
Mario AlfordWRHealthy ScratchFull
Jake DolegalaQBHealthy ScratchFull
Jake HartyWRShoulderDNP
Amari HendersonDBIllnessDNP
Charleston HughesDLHealthy ScratchFull
Gary JohnsonLBShoulderLimited
Kienan LafranceRBKneeDNP
Kienan LafranceRBIllnessDNP
Rolan MilliganDBGroinLimited
Kyran MooreWRKneeLimited
Mitchell PictonWRAnkleDNP
Pete RobertsonDLFootDNP
Josiah St. JohnOLKneeLimited
James TuckFBAnkleDNP
Terran VaughnOLShoulderFull

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Mike Mitchell Reporter
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