By Shane Jones, The Canadian Press
Dalton Schoen and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers continue to soar to start the CFL season.
Schoen’s 81-yard touchdown catch proved to be the difference as Winnipeg defeated the Edmonton Elks 24-10 on Friday to remain the CFL’s lone remaining unbeaten team.
“We are confident as a team that when we play our best ball we can win,” Schoen said. “It is about us and about executing.
“We have all the faith in the world in all the guys in the locker room, no matter who it is. As an offence, we are confident the defence is going to get the job done and keep them out of the end zone and get the ball back to us.”
Winnipeg improved to 7-0 for the first time since 1960 when it won its first 10 games.
“I don’t spend a lot of time staring at it (7-0 record) and I don’t think our players do either,” Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea said. “I think that is part of it.
“We did enough to win. I thought our defence was pretty darn good again. They played a lot of snaps, but holding them to 10 points is pretty good. We scored on offence and had a really nice long drive in the fourth when we needed it. Overall, I am very pleased.”
Edmonton (2-5) remains winless at home this season and hasn’t won at Commonwealth Stadium since Oct. 12, 2019.
“There’s no consolation prize, we lost by 14 points,” said Elks head coach Chris Jones. “We’re not a smart enough or disciplined enough football team to win games when it matters.
“We had the lead in two games and then this one here, we should have had an opportunity to go win the game. Unfortunately for us, discipline and intelligence is not something we’re strong at right now.”
Edmonton had the advantage statistically, registering 357 yards in offence, compared to 274 for Winnipeg. The Elks also had the ball for over 37 minutes and only three Bombers receivers registered catches.
Winnipeg quarterback Zach Collaros finished seven-of-16 passing for 188 yards with the two TDs and two interceptions. Schoen had four receptions for 146 yards.
Edmonton receiver Kenny Lawler had seven receptions for 98 yards against his former team.
The Blue Bombers took advantage of an early Elks error to start the scoring four minutes in. Shortly after Winnipeg’s Deatrick Nichols picked off a tipped Taylor Cornelius pass, Collaros found Rasheed Bailey for a 26-yard TD.
Edmonton responded with a 52-yard Sergio Castillo field goal. Winnipeg kicker Marc Liegghio then countered with a 20-yard boot.
The Elks started the second with a 44-yard Castillo field goal.
Collaros closed out the first half with the long TD strike to a wide-open Schoen, who shook off a tackle before scoring.
Castillo missed from 27 yards out midway through the third, the single cutting Winnipeg’s lead to 17-10 heading into the fourth.
Winnipeg put the game away with three minutes to play on Dru Brown’s one-yard touchdown run.
Winnipeg is in Calgary to face the Stampeders next Saturday while Edmonton will be on a bye week.
Notes: Winnipeg was without league-leading receiver Greg Ellingson and all-star defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat, both absent due to hip injuries… The Elks are also suffering from a bevy of key injuries, playing without the likes of defensive lineman Jake Ceresna, running back James Wilder, Jr., receiver Derel Walker and quarterbacks Kai Locksley and Tre Ford…Commonwealth Stadium will next be used Tuesday when Pope Francis conducts mass as part of his tour of healing and reconciliation in regards to Canada’s residential school system for Indigenous people.