Three Stars series, here's your regularly-scheduled Monday look at the CFL's top offensive, defensive and special teams performers in Week One of the regular season.
First star/top offensive player: Ricky Ray, quarterback, Toronto Argonauts: Ray turned in one of the best statistical CFL quarterbacking performances in recent years in Friday night's home win over Hamilton, completing 24 of 34 passes (70.6 per cent) for 368 yards and four touchdowns without an interception. Ray brilliantly dissected the Tiger-Cats' supposedly improved defence and led his team to a 39-34 win in the process. Of course, he had plenty of help from the likes of reigning league most outstanding player Chad Owens (nine catches for a team-high 95 yards, plus 92 kick return yards on four attempts and 48 more punt return yards on four attempts), veteran slotback Jason Barnes (four catches, 85 yards and two touchdowns) and reigning Grey Cup most outstanding player Chad Kackert (112 rushing yards and a touchdown on 10 attempts), but the Argos started this season with a winning record largely thanks to Ray's superlative efforts. That gets him top billing here.
Second star/top special teams player: Sean Whyte, kicker, Montreal Alouettes: Whyte got his year off to an excellent start in Thursday's 38-33 win over Winnipeg, hitting all five of his field goal attempts and all three of his extra-point attempts while averaging 45.5 yards on 10 punts. It's tough to deliver a better all-around kicking performance than that, and it proved vital in the Als' narrow win.
(Also considered: Lindsey Lamar, KR, Hamilton; Justin Palardy, K, Winnipeg; Mike Renaud, P, Winnipeg.)
Third star/top defensive player: J.C. Sherritt, linebacker, Edmonton Eskimos: The Eskimos turned in a dismal performance in Saturday's 39-18 loss to Saskatchewan, but the play of Sherritt, the league's reigning most outstanding defensive player, was one of the few bright spots for them. Sherritt flew around the field the way he usually does, recording a team-high seven tackles and adding a sack, and he helped cover up a variety of mistakes from his teammates. Fellow linebacker Damaso Munoz was the only other Eskimo to have even four tackles. Strong play from Sherritt alone wasn't enough for an Edmonton victory Saturday, but he still deserves credit for turning in a solid effort in a loss.
(Also considered: Chip Cox, LB, Montreal; Cord Parks, DB, B.C.; Jonathan Hefney, LB, Calgary.)
Bonus star/top Canadian: Jon Cornish, RB, Calgary Stampeders: Cornish turned in one of the most dominant rushing performances the CFL has seen in a while Friday night against B.C., picking up 172 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries (7.2 yards per carry) while adding another 20 yards on a pass reception. He backed up his pre-game talk and helped expose a vulnerable-looking B.C. defence. Cornish also helped the team's quest to raise money for Alberta flood relief, promising to donate $10 for each yard he gained before the game and then raising that total ($1,920) to an even $2,000 after the game. He proved to be a star on and off the field this week.
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Ricky Ray
- Jon Cornish