Tre Ford provides spark for Elks in 1st CFL start
HAMILTON – While it was the defence that lifted the Elks over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats for their first win of the season on Friday, Canadian rookie quarterback Tre Ford provided a much-needed spark for Edmonton in his first career CFL start.
Utilizing his dual-threat ability, the 24-year-old from Niagara Falls, Ont., led his team in rushing and threw his first CFL touchown in the fourth quarter to help Edmonton (1-3) erase a 13-point deficit.
The reigning Hec Creighton Trophy winner from the University of Waterloo finished the game with 159 passing yards and 61 rushing yards.
Following Lions quarterback Nathan Rourke‘s start against Ottawa on Thursday night, Ford’s inaugural game marked the first time in 40 years that Canadian quarterbacks started in the CFL on back-to-back nights. It was also the first time a Canadian quarterback started for Edmonton since Frank Cosentino in 1968.
Ford recognized the significance after the win and said he wants to be a role model for Canadian quarterbacks.
“I think that’s pretty big for the CFL and just Canadians in general,” Ford told TSN. “I want to be a role model to Canadian quarterbacks, especially ones that stay strictly in Canada like I’ve done. I haven’t really got the chance to go play across the border, but just showing them that you can come out here, you can compete and can win games.”
Defensive back Jalen Collins gave Edmonton the road win at Tim Hortons Field with a 14-yard fumble recovery touchdown in the final minutes. The Elks’ defence also intercepted Dane Evans twice in the second half to shift momentum. The first interception led to a field goal, while the second led to Ford’s 10-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Lawler.
Combined with a pair of field goals from Sergio Castillo, the Elks stepped up in all three phases to bounce back from three disappointing losses to start the season.
“Defence did it for us today; they won us that game,” Ford said.
While the victory is a good start, Ford also threw an interception and sees a lot of areas where he can improve.
“I need to play better; I made a lot of mistakes today. (I’m a) rookie quarterback, but that’s not an excuse. I’ve just got to keep putting my work in. We can do a lot better than we did today. Big shoutout to the defence, they saved us.”
The Elks will next face the Calgary Stampeders at home to kick off Week 5 next Thursday at 9 p.m. ET.