Elks extend historic losing streak to 19

by | Jun 28, 2023 | Sports

After losing 43 to 31 to the Toronto Argonauts, the Edmonton Elks extended their CFL record-breaking losing streak to 19.The Elks season has not gone as planned, with three losses, including two at home. 

“Are we disappointed? Hell yeah we’re disappointed,” said Head Coach Chris Jones in a post-game recap after the home opener on June 11. They lost to the Saskatchewan Roughriders, and while the thriller of a home opener drew their largest crowd since 2013 (over 30,000 fans attended), the loss continued the Elk’s legacy of not winning a home game since October 12, 2019. 

Decisions in Free Agency should help 

The Elks should receive some much-needed help on the home front with their free agency signings. The most notable acquisition for the Elks is wide receiver Eugene “Geno” Lewis, coming over from the Montreal Alouettes. Lewis, 30, recorded 4,347 receiving yards during his five seasons in Montreal. This past offseason, the Pennsylvania native signed a $300,000 per year deal that will keep the 2022 East Division’s Most Outstanding Player in an Elks uniform for the next two seasons. 

The Elks did not stop at Lewis, adding 27-year-old CFL All-star wideout Steven Dunbar from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. In 2022, Dunbar caught 72 balls for 1,000 receiving yards last season. He will be staying in Edmonton on a two-year deal.

On defence, the Elks signed defensive back Loucheiz Purifoy to a one-year deal after he produced three interceptions, 55 total tackles and one sack in 2022. At 30 years old, Purifoy was named a CFL All-star for the first time last season.  

Bright spots this season 

Although the team still needs to pull together to secure that home game win, there are some bright spots on the team. After scoring a combined 13 points through the first two weeks of the season, the Elks offence came alive on Sunday, scoring 35 points against an Argonauts defence that allowed 14 points last week to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Elks wide receivers Dunbar and Vincent Forbes-Mombleau led the way on offence against the Argonauts, with 98 receiving yards on eight receptions for Dunbar and Forbes-Mombleau catching two touchdowns.

Aside from the losses, the Elks’ defence has also been a strength. Outside of their 43 to 31 loss to Toronto, Edmonton held two high-flying offences in Saskatchewan and BC for a combined 39 points. The Elks’ success on defence can in part be attributed to Nyles Morgan and Adam Konar, who are ranked top 10 in the CFL for tackles, and Purifoy, who is tied for second in the CFL for interceptions with two through the Elks’ first three games. 

And although breaking the streak will be challenging, with Dunbar’s eight reception performance against the Argonauts and Purifoy’s two interceptions, there are reasons to be optimistic about the Elks this season. 

The green and gold will hit the road against the Redblacks and Roughriders before returning to Commonwealth on July 13th to face off against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats with another chance to end their historic losing skid.

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