The Turnover: Regular Season Game 6

   At long last, the Edmonton Elks and their faithful fans had arrived at Helm's Deep. Home Loss number 20 in-a-row was in sight which would put the team in a tie with the 1953 St. Louis Browns of the MLB, the wrong pages of the history books.

   We've talked about the importance of these historical losses in every Turnover article we've written so far, all leading up to this moment. With the Hamilton Tiger-Cats playing the Orcs, Commonwealth Stadium on Game Day very much resembled the classic scene from Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers, starting with the Tailgate Party.


   Game Day for The Elks Herd was nothing short of busy. Between wrapping up work for the weekend vacation we had planned and finalizing media from the 2023 Football Canada Cup, we were swamped. We held many giveaways during this week including a Tailgate Parking Pass courtesy of Northside Neil and tickets to the big game. We grabbed the ticket from Neil's and started prepping Tailgate Kebabs.
   The Tailgate Party started gloomy, just like the cinematic setting we have been referencing. Thunder, lightning and smoke all cast doubt on the game being able to go on. We saw many familiar faces in the Tailgate Party and had a blast with our fellow fans. Nerves were in the air and for good reason: No Edmonton Elks fan wanted to see the team lose and watch the walls of Helm's Deep crumble. Having Ricky Ray in attendance added that much more pressure to the Elks, maybe even more for the man currently wearing #15.


   We posted the EE Roll Call as always and proceeded to our seats. With our fellow fans in Section X, we all sat with full intent to cheer this team on as hard as we could. The crowd attendance was far from the home opener, with a guesstimate of 15000 actually in their seats. The Elks would string together a decent drive that would result in a Dean Faithfull field goal, followed by some great defensive work from Nyles Morgan and company. The first quarter would see both teams push the ball back-and-forth via failed stalls and good defensive work, but overall it was uneventful. 3-0 at the end of the quarter.
  In the second quarter, the Elks would get to Hamilton quarterback Matthew Shiltz on a couple of occasions to stall the Tiger-Cats. With the ball back in the hands of the Elks, they showed signs of improvement when quarterback Taylor Cornelius spun around a Hamilton player to launch the ball to the goal line, only to have reciever rookie Maurice Ffrench lose the ball on the catch. Unfortunately once again, dropped balls were a theme in Thursday's tilt. Faithfull was able to score another field goal for a 6-0 Elks lead in the second quarter. Not for long though, because the Hamilton Tiger-Cats would respond with a massive long throw that would see Hamilton make it to the Elks 10 yard line. A play or two later and the Tiger-Cats would score with James Butler charging through the end zone. 7-6 for Hamilton with the point after touchdown.
   With the Elks needing an answer fast, Cornelius made it down to around the Hamilton 20 yard line before throwing a Steven Dunbar catch-and-release that would be picked off by Hamilton. A score was in sight and a turnover is what we got. Fitting. Hamilton would score a field goal to make the Elks pay, 10-6 going in to the half.

   If you've been watching the games, reading The Turnover and listening to The Elks Call, you'll know that the one quarter that the Elks struggle with is the Third. For some reason, this team can't seem to find a proper groove in the third quarter all season long, and this third quarter was much of the same for the Elks. Cornelius, with the help of receivers Dunbar Jr. and Kyran Moore, constructed a touchdown drive that indicated the third quarter was looking positive for the Green and Gold. However, Hamilton's Tyreik McAllister would run through the Elks special teams with help from Hamilton's blockers. Shiltz would call his own number and run through the Elks end zone to score, making it a 17-13 shootout early in the quarter. Around the ten-minute mark, Cornelius would make a bad decision in trying to throw the ball while being sacked, resulting in a Hamilton pick-six. In quoting Dustin Neilson's now-famous call, "What is doing?!" The Elks proceeded to let the quarter run away from them and with wind under their sails, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats threw long-bombs, ran hard and trounced the Elks for the rest of the quarter. Shiltz was injured near the end of the third but that didn't stop Hamilton from scoring. 34-13 for the Tiger-Cats to end the quarter after one field goal and two touchdowns, one courtesy of back up quarterback Taylor Powell on a connection to recieve James White.

   Jarret Doege would come in at quarterback for the Elks in what was widely considered garbage time at that point already. The fourth quarter would start with an Elks drive, polished off with a Kevin Brown run-in touchdown. Not long after, Hamilton responded with a field goal after some poor Elks defensive coverage allowed a massive play to move into the Elks end. After some back-and-forth between the two teams, an Elks punt would result in a Hamilton return touchdown, something the Elks haven't been accomplish themselves in over ten years. A holding call on Hamilton would negate this, however, and Hamilton would give the ball back to the Elks. 37-19 at this point. In the final minute, Doege would connect with Dunbar Jr. to score one last time. 37-26 would be the final score as the walls of Helm's Deep crumbled and the Orcs took over the fortress known as Commonwealth Stadium.


   We've sat through home playoff losses. We've sat through every game for the last 2 years, and I personally have missed about 10 games in the last 10 years. We generally stay until the clock reads 0, however Thursday's game was the first time we've left early in a very long time. With the 2023 Football Canada Cup taking a large chunk of our time, along with finalizing work and The Elks Herd media before going on a much needed camping trip, this game was the final mission for us as a media team. As I've explained before, The Elks Herd and Shotgun Sports runs freelance, fansided media, for fans from fans as our motto states. This game was the end of the line for us as people that try to be positive and help build up the Edmonton Sports community. With our own morale and energy already being so low, we left this game early to catch up on sleep and get ready for the camping trip we had planned. There's no worse loss for us than this one, and with fans wearing paper bags and getting into it with each other, we called it a day and walked away from this one. It's tough times but trying to stay positive with the cloud that hangs over Commonwealth takes a toll on us as the Fan Hub for our Green and Gold faithful. That being said, President and CEO Victor Cui spoke on the current issues the team is facing and it all makes sense. This team is cash strapped by the CFL Coaching Cap and in turn, Chris Jones must wear three hats in order for this team to operate. Firing former staff in Jamie Elizondo and Brock Sunderland means that the club is on the hook for their salaries for the next year or two. Firing Chris Jones means adding more wasted salary against the cap, and as fans we should know that Chris Jones has a traveling crew of coaches and staff. As Arash Madani stated on Twitter, this team is being eaten alive by the coaching cap from the inside-out. This team cannot possibly make any changes that will benefit this team at this point. Victor Cui along with Coach Jones and company are doing the best they can with what they have, this team isn't in any sort of position to fire and hire. As Elks fans, we now accept that this year will be another trying year for this team. This Hamilton Tiger-Cats game was the make-or-break moment for a hope of playoffs. Based on the loss, we're already building for next year and we aren't anywhere near half-way through the season. Tough spot for the team and fanbase to be in, but this is the realities of Sports Business.


   The Edmonton Elks will charge in to IG Field to take on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers! Kickoff is at 6:30 PM. As EE fans, we have 0 expectations for this game based on this last one but hey, maybe the Elks pull off the upset win and maybe that's the wind under the sales they need in order to salvage this season. With 0-6 being another historical record for an EE start to the season, time will tell when this team turns it around. The walls have crumbled at Helm's Deep, the Orcs have entered and now we're just waiting for the White Wizard, aka Gandalf, to make an appearance, because everyone reading this article knows that it's the turning point we're all waiting on. 20 home losses and counting says every home game is an opportunity for the White Wizard moment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *