Winnipeggers Play For Bombers/Eskimos Tonight
WINNIPEG, MB – Former St. Paul’s Crusaders and University of Manitoba star DJ Lalama will be uniform for the Edmonton Eskimos when they face the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in a CFL pre-season game tonight at Investors Group Field.
On the other side of the ball, there will be two former Winnipeg High School Football League players: Michael Ritchott and Andrew Harris, both Grant Park Pirates.
Harris, of course, finished his high school career with Oak Park, but former Pirates head coach Mike Kennedy had the pleasure of coaching both players.
“The last time that I know of that a WHSFL team had two players play at the same time for the Bombers was in 1977,” recalled WHSFL commissioner Rick Henkewich. “That year, they had Rick Koswin, a receiver and Gary Rosolowich, a safety, both from Sisler.”
Henkewich would know, he and Rosolowich played in the same defensive backfield at Sisler in 1971 and 1972.
Meanwhile, Lalama, 23, was an outstanding player at the U of M. The St. Paul’s grad was the 2016 U Sports’ President’s Trophy winner as national Defensive Player of the Year.
In his fourth season with the Bisons last fall, the 6-foot, 225-pound DB led U Sports in total tackles (72.5) and solo tackles (54), finishing the eight-game regular schedule with 16 more total tackles than any other player in Canada West. The St. Paul’s grad also tied for the conference lead in forced fumbles (three) and was ranked third in the country in pass breakups (seven).
With his 72.5 tackles in 2016, Lalama broke Manitoba’s previous single-season record of 65 set by Joey Mikawoz, the only other Bisons player to win the Presidents Trophy, back in 2000.
An eighth-round selection of the Eskimos in the 2016 CFL draft (70th overall), Lalama is now second on the Bisons’ all-time list with 184 career tackles.
The Ritchott, Harris and the Bombers will play Lalama and the Eskimos at IGF tonight at 7:30.
Scott Taylor, MyToba Sports
Photos – Jeff Miller