EDMONTON — Tyrrell Pigrome’s first taste of CFL action was pretty sweet.
The rookie quarterback recorded a pair of touchdown runs, including a late game-winning 46-yard sprint into the end zone, as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers survived a comeback bid to open up CFL pre-season play with a 25-23 victory over the Edmonton Elks on Saturday afternoon.
Pigrome, a native of Birmingham, Ala., who went to Towson, made a good case for himself in his debut as he tries to earn the third-string QB role in a perceived battle with Josh Jones.
“He can really move, he’s very athletic,” said Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea. “When he decides to take off, he is going to be tough to handle.”
Pigrome was happy to make an early impact.
“I’m blessed to be here, blessed for the opportunity,” he said. “For those things to happen to me in my first game, it is a blessing. This is just the beginning, though. I still have to make the team and I still have to keep working and pushing and trying to better myself."
Edmonton dropped to 0-2 in exhibition action.
“We took a little bit to get going, but once we got going everybody was moving in sync, we were moving together and I thought the offence was moving the ball pretty well,” said Elks backup QB Tre Ford, who scored one of Edmonton’s touchdowns.
The Elks scored on their opening drive, getting a 35-yard field goal from Dean Faithfull.
Winnipeg was quick to respond, as veteran quarterback Zach Collaros found Kenny Lawler on a 67-yard touchdown pass.
Edmonton got a single back on a missed 44-yard Faithfull attempt.
The Blue Bombers started the second quarter with a one-yard TD plunge from Pigrome.
Faithfull completed a long drive engineered by backup QB Ford with a 31-yard field goal before the Winnipeg kicker nailed a 34-yarder to put the Bombers up 17-7 at the midway mark.
Ford continued to look good behind centre for Edmonton as he started the third quarter with another strong drive, capped off by a seven-yard rush and big dive into the end zone to bring the Elks to within three.
Edmonton would then draw even at the start of the final frame on a 19-yard Faithfull field goal.
Pigrome displayed some fleet feet of his own four minutes into the fourth, putting his team back in front with a 46-yard touchdown run.
The Bombers got a bonus point on a punt single.
Edmonton came storming back with 1:54 to play as third-string QB Kai Locksley found CJ Sims on a 44-yard passing play, setting up another toss for a TD to Raphael Leonard. However, the two-point convert attempt to tie the contest was incomplete.
A 52-yard field goal attempt by Faithfull with time expired to win it was blocked.
“We have to find ways to not shoot ourselves in the foot earlier in the game and we would probably be in a lot different situation,” said Elks head coach Chris Jones. “But we did scratch and claw and give ourselves a chance to win the game late and unfortunately we came up a little short.”
The Elks, who finished last in the CFL West with a record of 4-14 last season, have already wrapped up their pre-season, falling 29-24 on the road to the Calgary Stampeders in their first pre-season game on Monday … The Blue Bombers went 15-3 last season and made it to the Grey Cup for the third straight year before losing out to Toronto … The Edmonton Elks’ CFL record regular-season home losing streak stands at 17 games, extending all the way back to their last win at Commonwealth Stadium on Oct. 12, 2019 … Left home in Winnipeg were veterans Dalton Schoen and Jake Thomas. Bombers linebacker Adam Bighill, defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat, running back Brady Oliveira, and defensive backs Winston Rose and Desmond Lawrence were all out with injuries … Among those absent for the Elks were defensive back Aaron Grymes, defensive back Scott Hutter and defensive tackle J-Min Pelley.
The Bombers close out their pre-season schedule at home to the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Friday in advance of also opening the season at home on June 9 against Hamilton. The Elks are off until June 11, when they play host to Saskatchewan in their season lid-lifter.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 27, 2023.
Shane Jones, The Canadian Press