With this game, you have to start at the end.
The Riders defence has held the Eskimos to a field goal, so a touchdown will win it.
It’s six yards into the end zone and the second win into the season.
The ball is snapped and there’s Darian Durant calling his own number rushing the ball all the way into the end zone.
It’s a walk off. 26-23 final. The team swarms him like they just won a championship and to the team and the fan base, it sort of felt that way too.
“I wasn’t going to let this one slip, we worked too hard,” said Durant after the game. “I wasn’t going to let us lose this game.”
“It’s a good feeling when you know it’s over, you don’t have to kneel, you don’t have to take another play you just can let your guys come in and celebrate with you,” he continued.
Running back Curtis Steele couldn’t contain his glee over his quarterback’s overtime performance.
“I love it. It’s Darian. Doubles. He’s great at what he does. I saw him back up his mind, he took off running … he just took it in and I’m glad he did,” he enthused, adding Durant was not going to be denied that touchdown.
It’s moments like that, according to Head Coach Chris Jones that’s what makes Durant so dangerous.
“When that confident Darian Durant shows up, he’s as tough as anybody,” Jones said.
But that one play was just one of many that sealed the win for the green and white. The offence had a rejuvenated run game with Steele’s return who had 13 carries for 87 yards and caught three passes for 26 yards.
“Whenever (your offence) can be balanced, you’re unpredictable,” Durant said about the running back’s return from injury. “Having Curtis back was a huge boost for us … he did a hell of a job.”
The defence and special teams stood out as well this game.
Josh Bartel punted 10 times, pinning the Esks deep, scoring four points and slamming one punt 86 yards.
And Ed Gainey had an outstanding game, stripping the ball from Adarius Bowman and running it back 51 yards for a touchdown.
“I’ve been wanting to do that all season, just to be able to do it today in front of the hometown crowd – I’m speechless,” he said, Gainey also broke up two other passes and had five defensive tackles in the win.
Meanwhile Justin Cox had a late game interception and Otha Foster sacked Mike Reilly.
But it was a touchdown from Armanti Edwards – making his debut on the Riders offence – that kept the team in the game. He rushed five yards to tie things up late in the fourth quarter.
Now, Durant hopes the team can carry this momentum forward.
“Hopefully this win, you guys getting the taste of victory, seeing what it takes to beat a tough team, hopefully that carries us going forward,” Durant said.
“We knew it wouldn’t be an easy season, but at the end of the day we’re still in it, we have a shot.”
- Darian Durant went 20 of 29 for 179 yards and an interception, but also rushed for 61 yards and a touchdown.
- Caleb Holley and Armanti Edwards were Sunday’s top receivers both had 10 receptions for 60 yards.
- Tyler Crapigna nailed his only field goal – a 48 yarder.
- The Riders took 10 penalties costing them 105 yards, Edmonton took 9 for 66 yards.
- Otha Foster racked up his third sack of the season.