EDMONTON — It was a decent start for an Edmonton Eskimos team that is coming off a major off-season overhaul of its roster.
Logan Kilgore scored one touchdown and passed for another as Edmonton opened the CFL's pre-season with a 22-7 victory over the B.C. Lions on Sunday. The new-look Eskimos fielded a more veteran lineup for the game, while the Lions had less experience overall, including not dressing former Edmonton quarterback Mike Reilly, their biggest free agent signing in the off-season.
"It's tough to evaluate on the field and see, I just liked the effort our guys gave all 60 minutes," said Eskimos head coach Jason Maas. "It's tough to get together for one week and get everybody on the same page, all three phases, and play football.
"So to go out and run as many plays as we did against another team, I'm just thrilled that we got through it and now we can evaluate something."
Lions head coach DeVone Claybrooks said it is impossible to read too much into a loss in a team's first pre-season game.
"The guys fought hard, we just have to have to play a little smarter and execute better," he said. "Our guys are heading in the right direction, but it is still just seven days into camp. We had a great effort. I didn't want to have to coach effort and we had them flying around. Now we just have to get them flying in the right spots. It's a process and this is another brick we have laid in the foundation."
Edmonton got on the board quickly as Don Unamba recorded an interception on Lions' QB Ricky Lloyd's first pass attempt of the game, leading to a Sean Whyte field goal.
"I couldn't have wrote a better story for that, the way it played out," said Unamba, who came to Edmonton in free agency. "You come to a new team and be able to make an impact like that on the first play of the game, that was cool."
Shakier Ryan responded for B.C. with a 63-yard punt return touchdown.
Kilgore helped the Eskimos regain the lead midway through the second on a one-yard plunge. He was Edmonton's second quarterback of the game after Trevor Harris got the start for the first quarter.
The Lions conceded a safety to make it 12-7 for the Esks at the half.
After another Whyte field goal, Edmonton extended its lead when a Josh Johnson pick led to a 12-yard TD pass from Kilgore to Tevaun Smith.
There was no scoring in the fourth quarter.
The Eskimos and Lions will play against each other again in Edmonton during Week 2 of the CFL schedule on June 21.
Notes: Six players who are part of the CFL's 2.0 global players program were listed on the depth charts of the two teams. B.C. had two players from Mexico in Gerardo Alvarez and Fernando Richarte, while Edmonton had three from Mexico in Jair Viamontes, Genaro Alfonsin and Daniel Carretem in addition to Maxime Rouyer from France… Edmonton was dealt a serious blow this week as starting left tackle SirVincent Rogers suffered a torn left tricep. Rogers is currently listed as out indefinitely, but could be back as soon as Labour Day… Adam Konar played at middle linebacker for the Lions after being released by the Eskimos just a week ago after four seasons in Edmonton.
Shane Jones, The Canadian Press