The Saskatchewan Roughriders defeated the Edmonton Elks 26 to 16 on Saturday, but suffered a massive loss regardless and a few missteps along the way.
Considered a team leader, center Dan Clark suffered a terrible ankle injury late in the game this past weekend and was carted off the field. The Roughriders ended up taking home the victory, but in the end, the Clark injury amongst other issues clouded the happy moment.
Clark has been with the Roughriders for 10 years, having started his CFL career in 2012 with the team. He is an integral part of the Riders and a massive cog that the team counts on. QB, Cody Fajardo had a lot to say on the matter after the game:
“It’s detrimental to the team and to morale…It sours the win a little bit and I know that Dan would hate that I said that…They showed him some love and that shows what kind of man that he is…
We’re really going to hurt from this one. It’s not looking too great, but we’re praying hard that he finds his way back on the field. He’s a total locker-room guy and morale is always up with him around…
Schematically and football-wise, he always puts us in the right protection. He does a great job with the young guys in the film room.”via Regina Leader-Post
The Elks had their own issues to contend with of course…head coach Chris Jones took full responsibility for the loss, stating:
“We didn’t play good enough defensively to win the football game, and we had enough mistakes both in the kicking game and on offence to not allow us to win the football game. When you play like we played, you don’t deserve to win. We’ve got to play more acute football. We’re making some strides; we’ve got a good locker-room.”via Edmonton Sun
As for what the team has planned to do now and as far as replacements for Clark go, it’s all still too soon apparently, but there are options of course…specifically Logan Bandy, Evan Johnson and Logan Ferland.
Craig Dickenson, head coach for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, had some comments on the whole issue as well of course:
“It wasn’t good…We’ll figure it out…We had way too many penalties and I’m going to talk to them about it…We’re going to have a heart-to-heart. I’m going to tell them in the best way that I can that those penalties hurt the team.”via Regina Leader-Post (link above)
His comments bring us to the next more sensitive point perhaps…as according to some the team kind of looked a tad frazzled out there during many instances of play…the Regina Leader-Post’s Rob Vanstone actually stated in his piece that the Riders actually seemingly “lost their composure” he essentially said, during the game.
But of course it wasn’t all fumbling and missteps of course. To revisit the Williams injury from mid-week, Mitchell Picton replaced the injured Duke Williams, who as we reported earlier last week, was injured in practice. Picton stepped up big time and delivered for the team. QB, Cody Fajardo had a lot to say on that front as well:
“The average fan doesn’t know what it means losing a receiver that late in the week and we had lot of Duke-heavy plans for this game…To have Mitch come in and execute is what makes him so special. He can play any position on the field. When you have a guy like that, I feel comfortable knowing that whatever position Mitch plays, he’ll have it down.”via Regina Leader-Post (link above)
It was in the 4th quarter that Picton’s 2-point convert put the Riders at the 23 to 16 lead they achieved by that point. He also nabbed a 28-yard touchdown reception.
In the end, they pulled out the win and now are set to face the Montreal Alouettes on Thursday at 7:30 PM EST. Can they turn it around and make up for the now missing yet massively essential cog that is and for now was Dan Clark? Let’s hope so, dear readers.
Full coverage of the 2022 season on CFL News Hub.