Eskimos back up coach's words

October 17, 1994|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,Sun Staff Writer

EDMONTON, Alberta -- Ron Lancaster issued the challenge unwittingly, but issued it nonetheless.

At a $500-a-plate dinner Thursday night that included his players, Edmonton's coach said the Eskimos would welcome the Baltimore CFLs to town, beat them and send them home.

But he didn't say it as politely as that. And he didn't expect the quote to reach the Edmonton newspapers, which it did Saturday, when the CFLs arrived.

Lancaster's prophecy came true yesterday when Edmonton beat Baltimore, 31-24, before 31,918 at Commonwealth Stadium.

"If I was the coach, I'd say the same thing," said Baltimore cornerback Karl Anthony. "Only not in public. . . . They are Grey Cup champions."

Edmonton wide receiver Eddie Brown said he thought Lancaster said it as a "joke."

"I don't think Coach Lancaster was saying it as a negative thing about Baltimore," said Brown. "And he didn't say that to us all week."

If it was a territorial turf stance, Lancaster had some weight behind his boast.

The Eskimos have been in the playoffs the past 22 years, the longest streak in the CFL. They've been to 13 Grey Cups in the past 21 years and won eight of them.

Baltimore quarterback Tracy Ham, who spent six years in Edmonton, knows about that background.

"Edmonton has a history of playing well at home," he said. "We've been a good team on the road.

"It was hard to read our team today. I think we played hard at the start of the game. I think the things I did in the second half, moving around, I should have gotten into that in the first half."

Were the CFLs flat at the outside?

"It seemed like [the Eskimos] were more aggressive," he said.

Baltimore's reputation as a marquee expansion franchise preceded the CFLs to Edmonton.

Brown, who scored three touchdowns, one on a 92-yard punt return, had heard some of the talk.

"We have to control the things we can control," he said. "We have no control over what somebody says about Baltimore. Coach [Don] Matthews is a great coach, a proven winner.

"We'll probably see Baltimore in a rematch. I think they'll beat Winnipeg."

First things first. Baltimore, now second in the Eastern Division, faces the B.C. Lions at home on Saturday, then gets the first-place Winnipeg Blue Bombers the next week.

Baltimore not only will have to beat Winnipeg, but win by eight or more points to get the head-to-head, tie-breaking advantage over the Bombers if they win the rest of their games.

"I think we're still in the thick of it," said rush end O. J. Brigance. "We've got to remain focused."

Said Ham: "We didn't get the two points we came to get [for a win]. We'll look at film and get ready for B.C. We're not going to put a lot on one game. We've got to see what area we can get better in and get back to work."

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