October 23, 2023

Oliveira, Demski make history in Week 20

Daniel Crump/CFL.ca

WINNIPEG — Brady Oliveira and Nic Demski have gone far and wide in 2023.

The running back-wide receiver duo for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers reached a couple of historical milestones in Week 20, including becoming the first pair of National players to go over 1,000 rushing and receiving yards for the same team in the same season. Oliveira’s performance on Saturday also moved him into second place for most rushing yards in a single season by a National behind Jon Cornish.

Demski finished the 45-25 win over the Edmonton Elks with five catches for 27 yards to reach 1,006 receiving yards. Oliveira meanwhile rushed for 72 yards over 14 carries and now has 1,498 rushing yards on the season, surpassing Edmonton’s Norm Kwong and Cornish himself who now owns the first and third spot on the list.

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The closest anyone had ever gotten to accomplishing the first feat before was Andrew Harris in 2017 with the Bombers, when he registered 1,036 receiving yards and 857 receiving by himself. Bob Swift and Sonny Homer of the BC Lions fell 224 yards shy in 1964 while Jerome Messam and Anthony Parker needed 346 more in 2016. Demski and Oliveira themselves also came up just 228 yards away from hitting the mark in 2022.

Year Team 1000+ Rushing Yards 1000 Receiving* Yards Total
2023 WPG Brady Oliveira 1,498 Nic Demski 1,006 +6 (2,554)
2017 WPG Andrew Harris 1,036 Andrew Harris 857 -143 (1,893)
1964 BC Bob Swift 1,054 Sonny Homer 776 -224 (1,830)
2022 WPG Brady Oliveira 1,001 Nic Demski 772 -228 (1,773)
2016 CGY Jerome Messam 1,198 Anthony Parker 654 -346 (1,852)

It’s the first time Demski has gone over 1,000 yards after eight seasons in the CFL and six in Winnipeg.

“It feels good,” said the receiver to BlueBombers.com after the win. “It really does feel like a monkey off my back. It was a grind to get it but I got it done and now I can just focus on playoffs.”

The duo grew up in Winnipeg and graduated from Oak Park High School before making history wearing the W on their helmets.

“It’s special,” said Demski. “We knew about it but when it happened we were talking on the sidelines and it still hasn’t really settled in.

“Two Winnipeg guys to do it together, it’s a crazy thing that just happened. I’m thankful for the opportunity.”

Oliveira sits 357 yards ahead of second place Kevin Brown for the rushing crown, while Demski is currently 10th on the receiving yards rankings. The duo has 19 combined touchdowns in 2023 as the Bombers lead the league through 20 weeks with 59 offensive majors.

The runner also has 1,980 yards from scrimmage and could become the first to pass the 2,000-yard milestone since Cornish’s 344-receiving yard and 1,813-rushing yard performance in 2013. The mark has been reached 20 times by 14 players in league history with Charles Roberts, Willard Reaves and Robert Mimbs being the only Bombers to do so.

Player Year Tm Att Yards Per Gm
Jon Cornish 2013 CGY 258 1,813 106.6
Brady Oliveira 2023 WPG 272 1,498 90.6
Jon Cornish 2012 CGY 259 1,457 80.9
Norm Kwong 1956 EDM 232 1,437 95.8

It’s not a surprise that so much offensive success in Winnipeg – which also features the likes of Zach Collaros, Dalton Schoen and Kenny Lawler – has translated into winning. The Bombers own a 13-4 record entering Week 21, clinching first place in the West Division for the third straight season and an appearance in their fifth consecutive Western Final on November 11 at IG Field.

Oliveira and Demski will have one more chance to add to their numbers when the Blue and Gold finish their regular season with a visit to the Stampeders in Calgary on Friday, October 27.

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