Hard hits a part of football

Mario Annicchiarico
Yahoo! Sports

EDMONTON — Ricky Ray went through a reversal of fortunes and emotions in the second half of Friday’s last-minute 29-28 loss to the Toronto Argonauts – a complete 180-degree turn, in fact.

“I haven’t seen it yet,” the Edmonton Eskimos quarterback said after Saturday’s brief rundown, asked about the vicious shot he took on the final play in which he was sent tumbling head over heels by Ronald Flemons.

“Obviously I felt it.

“I got hit. All of a sudden I was standing up again. Didn’t know where I was at. It took me a couple of seconds to find my bearings. Other than that, it was a good solid hit.”

It came with no time left on the clock after Ray had completed a 21-yard pass to Kelly Campbell, who in turn started a series of last-gasp rugby-like pitches to try to keep the play alive. The ball ended up back near the Eskimos’ line of scrimmage, in Ray’s hands. When he looked to throw it laterally, he got completely side-swiped by a hard-charging Flemons.

It was about 20 minutes earlier when Ray had raced down field to jump atop a celebratory pile after Jason Barnes’s miracle 45-yard touchdown catch (between his knees after out-jumping two defenders), which gave the Esks their first lead of the game at 21-19.

“That’s the roller-coaster of playing sports. One minute you’re so excited, feeling good, everything’s going your way and the next minute, it’s not,” said Ray, who eventually dusted himself off after the ferocious hit, having been bent over like a Gumby toy. “It’s a game of momentum. We had it in the third quarter and they grabbed it back in the fourth quarter.

“I don’t know how to explain it,” Ray said of the loss. “We came out in the second half, playing good football and got ourselves the lead.

“That’s what’s so frustrating as a player, those are the things you can’t really control,” he added of the emotional swing. “It seems like everything that can go wrong is happening to us. But with all that said, I know offensively we have to find a way to keep a couple of more drives going.

“We’re struggling a bit with some second-and-shorts that we aren’t converting. If we can convert on some of those, it will get us a couple more scoring opportunities.”

mannicchiarico@thejournal.canwest.com

GAME TIME

ESKIMOS at STAMPS 6 p.m., Sunday, Media: 630 CHED radio, TSN

© Copyright (c) The Edmonton Journal