Matthews' promise: The special teams will perk up

October 22, 1994|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,Sun Staff Writer

One week after Edmonton coach Ron Lancaster publicly predicted his Eskimos would beat Baltimore, Don Matthews made his own guarantee.

The Baltimore coach didn't predict victory against the B.C. Lions today, but did say his special teams would rediscover their zest.

"I guarantee you, they'll be going fast; players will be covering hard," Matthews said.

Matthews was disturbed by the special teams in a 31-24 loss at Edmonton. It cost two players -- Earnest Fields and Mike Kerr -- their spots on the active roster. And it led to the reinstatement of Donald Igwebuike as the kickoff man. Last week, punter Josh Miller and Igwebuike split kickoffs.

"Whoever steps up, we have to help the team," Miller said. "Last week we killed the team."

Flag waving

With 217 penalties and 1,766 yards, the Lions are cruising toward a dubious CFL record. They are only 14 penalties and 209 yards away from breaking the single-season mark established by Matthews' Saskatchewan Roughriders in 1992 (230 for 1,974 yards).

Much of the problem stems from talking back to officials, B.C. coach Dave Ritchie said yesterday.

"This week we've taken a vow of silence," he said. "We'll see how long it lasts. The first pass interference penalty may end it."

A split verdict

Matthews got a response, but little satisfaction, from his film of 22 no-calls in last week's Edmonton game. Matthews filed the tape with his protest to Don Barker, director of league officials.

"He agreed with some, disagreed with some and couldn't see others," Matthews said.

Matthews did not know if any fines will be issued to Edmonton as a result, and league officials were unable to comment.

Matthews' point is that officials encourage rules-breaking by overlooking penalties.

"I think penalties are a deterrent to more penalties," he said. "I feel we have a good team and if penalties are not called, it hurts us. It's to our disadvantage to put the flags away."

Punt, pass and kick

Nine finalists will compete in a punt, pass and kick competition during halftime of the CFLs' game against Winnipeg next Saturday at Memorial Stadium. One winner from each age group will receive a "Gatorade/Baltimore CFL Football is Funball" bTC trophy and will compete in the grand finals during the Grey Cup, Nov. 27 in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The local finalists are: 14-15 age group -- Dahnel Singfield, Adrian Griffin, Jason Dodd; 12-13 -- Denelle Hale, Michael Brockington, Jerome Scales; 11 and under -- Darrick Coe, Brad Spittel, Michael Kearney.

Miscellaneous

With 86 career interceptions, including a league-high 10 this season, B.C. cornerback Less Browne is the CFL's all-time interceptor. . . . With 1,476 rushing yards, Baltimore's Mike Pringle has a 210-yard lead over B.C.'s Cory Philpot -- who won't play today -- and a 225-yard lead over Winnipeg's Blaise Bryant. . . . Three Mighty Morphin Power Rangers will sign autographs beginning at 11:15 this morning in the end zone of Memorial Stadium.

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