Sports Castillo, Rose ready to help league-leading Bombers in push toward playoffs
Veteran QB Harris falls short in first start for Alouettes
The Alouettes proved they could play with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Saturday night — for three quarters. Unfortunately, there are no moral victories for coming close in professional sports. Despite the first start by veteran quarterback Trevor Harris since joining Montreal, the Als came up short, losing 31-21 to the Bombers before 22,933 spectators at IG Field in Winnipeg. Harris passed for two touchdowns — six yards to Reggie White Jr. and a seven-yarder to Jake Wieneke. Defensive-end Jamal Davis also recovered a fumble, returning it 19 yards for a score. Harris, acquired last month in a trade from Edmonton, completed 14 of 25 passes for 177 yards.
WINNIPEG — Kicker Sergio Castillo and defensive back Winston Rose had one thing in common Tuesday — both were smiling while talking to reporters.
The newly signed Winnipeg Blue Bombers had just finished their first practice with the 10-1 CFL-leading team and said they're ready to contribute in any way they can.
Castillo, 31, said he's been watching CFL games on TV from his Texas home and he couldn't pass up the chance to rejoin the team that he started his pro career with in 2015.
“Just to see what Winnipeg has been able to do over the course of this season, I think it's something pretty special that they got going on here,” Castillo said. “So when the opportunity was presented to me, you know, it was a no-brainer.”
Blue Bombers defeat Alouettes for 9th straight victory, finish undefeated at home
WINNIPEG — Zach Collaros threw for 280 yards and a pair of touchdowns as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers stayed perfect at home this season by defeating the Montreal Alouettes 31-21 in a seesaw battle Saturday. It was Winnipeg's (11-1) last regular-season game at home in the shortened 14-game CFL season. They hit the 7-0 mark in front of 22,933 fans at IG Field, the first time the club hasn't lost at home since it went 8-0 in 1984. The Bombers haveIt was Winnipeg's (11-1) last regular-season game at home in the shortened 14-game CFL season. They hit the 7-0 mark in front of 22,933 fans at IG Field, the first time the club hasn't lost at home since it went 8-0 in 1984.
Castillo was booting field goals at the start of Tuesday's practice. He was good on five-of-five attempts, including one try from 55 yards that hit the crossbar and went through.
He arrives at a time when Winnipeg is already using its third placekicker of the season.
The trio of Tyler Crapigna, Marc Liegghio and current starter Ali Mourtada are a combined, league-low 57.1 per cent (16 of 28) in field-goal attempts. Liegghio is still punting.
Castillo was with the NFL Tennessee Titans during training camp this year. He played in seven games in 2020 with the New York Jets, connecting on 8-of-13 field goals, including a 55-yarder.
Winnipeg acquired him in an Oct. 19 trade with the B.C. Lions for a fourth-round pick in next year's draft. Castillo had opted out of his contract with the Lions in August 2020 after the cancellation of the 2020 CFL season, but B.C. still held his CFL rights.
O'Shea hasn't had to talk to Bombers about complacency because he's not seen the need
Head coach Mike O'Shea hasn't spoken to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers about the dangerous of complacency this week because his players didn't give him any reason to. O'Shea said it's been business as usual as Winnipeg (league-best 10-1 record) prepares to host the Montreal Alouettes (6-5) on Saturday night. The Bombers have already clinched top spot in the West Division -- and home-field advantage for the conference final Dec. 5 -- with three regular-season games still remaining. The Bombers entered the 2021 season as the defending Grey Cup champion and have certainly lived up to that billing.
He's played 38 CFL games, including for Hamilton and Ottawa, and was named a CFL all-star with the Lions in 2019. He was 41 of 45 in field-goal tries that season (91.1 per cent). He's made 80 of his 92 CFL-career attempts (87 per cent).
Rose said the Bombers are having an “unbelievable season” and he'll play wherever the coaching staff puts him.
“I'm just coming in to do my part and just help the team,” said Rose, who won a Grey Cup with the Bombers in 2019 after leading the league with nine interceptions and earning a CFL all-star honour.
“I don't want to do nothing that they're not doing already, so I just want to add my piece to the puzzle.”
He was practising at cornerback Tuesday for a defence that's been playing at an elite level and leads the league in fewest points allowed per game (11.5).
Rose signed Oct. 20, three days before the Bombers shut out the B.C. Lions 45-0 and then went on a bye week. He was let go from the Cincinnati Bengals' practice roster in early September.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers can clinch first in West Division with victory over B.C. Lions
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers can ensure Saturday that the path to the '21 Grey Cup in the West Division will go through IG Field. Winnipeg (9-1) can clinch top spot in the West Division with a home victory over the B.C. Lions (4-5). With an eighth straight win, the Bombers would be the host team for the West final Dec. 5. And that would certainly favour the Bombers. The defending Grey Cup champions are not only 7-0 this season within the West Division but remain unbeaten in five home games. Winnipeg has also won seven straight at IG Field dating back to 2019 and 16 of its last 17 games there. However, if B.C.
The Bombers host the Montreal Alouettes (6-5) on Saturday, but Winnipeg head coach Mike O'Shea wasn't tipping his hand on when the new additions might see game action.
“We'll see how they practise,” said O'Shea, whose squad clinched first place in the West Division with the victory over the Lions.
Newly signed running back Shaq Cooper was also on the field Tuesday, but star tailback Andrew Harris (knee) didn't practise again. He missed the last game.
Quarterback Zach Collaros described the practice as one of the best this season and said it was good to add Rose and Castillo into the mix.
“There was a lot of energy out on the field,” Collaros said. “It’s been great seeing Serg. It’s been a long time since I was a teammate of his.
“Having Winston back in here was great. Just a lot of positive energy in here today.”
Collaros and Castillo were teammates with the Tiger-Cats in 2017.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 2, 2021.
Judy Owen, The Canadian Press
Oilers top prospect Dmitri Samorukov medically cleared to return to AHL team .
Once Samorukov is back up to game speed, the rookie defender seems primed to finally crack the Edmonton roster at some point this season. Samorukov, 22, was a third-round pick of the Oilers in 2017 out of the OHL and he continued to boost his prospect stock in the years following with continual improvement at the junior level. He turned pro in 2019-20 and recorded 10 points in 47 AHL games. Last year, he spent the season on loan in the KHL and produced eight points and a plus-24 rating in 48 games.