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October 30, 2019

McCarty’s Two-Touchdown Game His First In Nine Years

Calvin McCarty turned back the clock by scoring a pair of one-yard touchdown runs in the first quarter of Saturday’s CFL game against the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

It was the first time the Eskimos’ 13-year veteran fullback had scored a touchdown since Sept. 30, 2017, when he caught a short pass and ran five yards into the end zone.

It was also McCarty’s first rushing TD since Aug. 20, 2016, when he ran two yards for the major score.

“It’s a young’s man game,” said McCarty, 34. “You’re only as old as you feel and I forgot my birthday a long time ago.

“Personally, the guys (on the offensive line) did great blocking upfront,” he continued. “I’m happy the coaches had the faith to call it. Basically, I just followed Mondo (defensive nosetackle Almondo Sewell) and the rest of the O-line.

“Yeah, it feels good, man. To feel the way I feel in Week 20, I have no complaints. I still feel like a young man, and I definitely still have a lot left in the tank.”

McCarty, a native of Burnaby, B.C., came into the CFL as a running back drafted in the fourth round in 2007 but was slowly converted into a fullback and special teams captain over the years.

He’s also a team guy through and through – quarterback Trevor Harris called McCarty “everybody’s favourite teammate” – and he would have gladly traded his first two-touchdown game since Oct. 3, 2010, for a win in a heartbeat.

It was also his first game with two rushing touchdowns since Sept. 26, 2010, in CFL Touchdown Atlantic, the first CFL regular season game played in Atlantic Canada.

“I’m thankful for the opportunity to still play the game,” said McCarty. “I take just as much pride as going in and blocking the heck out of somebody as I do trying to punch it in (plunging through the line for a short-yardage TD).

“Obviously, it feels good to get the cheers and to be a part of it, but we’ve got to do a lot of work still, and I’m excited for this team moving forward.”

McCarty saw a lot of positive signs in the way his teammates played in Saturday’s 27-24 loss on a walk-off field goal by the Riders.

“If that’s what the best (team) is looking like, competing-wise, we’ve definitely got an opportunity moving forward,” he said about the Roughriders, who are in first place in the West Division with a 12-5 record.

Eskimos Head Coach Jason Maas has shown a preference over the last few years to have his starting quarterback follow his massive offensive line to plunge into the end zone for short-yardage touchdowns.

But they created a different set for Saturday’s game featuring the handoff to McCarty because “we wanted to do some things differently in our short-yardage package. They worked. He did a good job with it. Our guys up front did a great job.

“We have three or four guys on our team who can run the ball,” Maas added. “We’re going to try to utilize that down the stretch.”

Even though the Eskimos had prepared to run the play in the game, McCarty was still “kind of” surprised when it was called during the game.

“We have a lot of plays that are always up,” he said. “It’s just a matter of if they get called or not.”

Defensive tackle Mike Moore said he was “shocked” to see the six-foot-four, 288-pound Sewell leading the charge into the line in front of McCarty.

“Almondo was in front of me,” McCarty said. “You’d be wrong not to follow Almondo, so basically, I just followed Almondo.”

After scoring his second touchdown, McCarty handed the ball to Sewell to spike it in the end zone.

“I had to, man,” McCarty said. “He’s my guy. I know he would have loved to carry it in himself, so at least give him the chance to spike it.”

Rookie wide receiver Tevaun Smith scored the Eskimos’ other touchdown with a 12-yard reception, meaning Canadian players scored all three of Edmonton’s TDs in the game.

“That’s kind of a cool,” said Smith, who has five touchdown catches this season. “I’m happy I got in there.”