Bombers top Alouettes in pre season opener

Sergio Castillo booted four field goals and the Blue Bombers kept the Montreal Alouettes off the scoreboard in the second half for a 36-13 exhibition victory on Wednesday.

New Winnipeg kicker Justin Medlock opened the game’s scoring with a 47-yard field goal and added a convert in front of 23,334 fans at Investors Group Field who cheered the free-agent addition.

Castillo, who was with the club last year, then made field goals from 35, 44, 39 and 49 yards, went wide on a 44-yard attempt and put through two converts.

Bombers running back Tim Flanders and backup quarterback Bryan Bennett scored touchdowns on one-yard runs and Fred Williams hung on to a 28-yard TD pass from Bennett.

Nik Lewis hauled in a TD catch from Kevin Glenn and receiver Chandler Jones did the same off a Rakeem Cato throw for Montreal. Kicker Boris Bede made one convert and missed another.

Winnipeg had a 3-0 lead after the first quarter, but Montreal went ahead 13-3. Flanders then tied the game 13-13 as time expired on the first half and the Alouettes were shut out the rest of the way.

The game was highlighted by the usual pre-season mistakes and jitters. Even the CFL’s new stats system crashed in the second quarter.

Winnipeg had an Andrew Harris catch-and-run major called back because of a penalty and Montreal had a fumble recovery wiped out on review and fumbled a kickoff return.

Both teams fielded their starting quarterbacks for the first quarter.

Drew Willy played one quarter for Winnipeg and backups Matt Nichols, Dominique Davis and Bennett also got some action.

Glenn was behind centre for Montreal until Lewis’s TD catch early in the second quarter. He was replaced by Cato and then Canadian Brandon Bridge and Vernon Adams.

Harris got a cheer from the crowd with his first carry as a Bomber, a six-yard run early in the opening quarter for the Winnipeg-born, free-agent signing.

Medlock’s field goal at 5:46 of the first quarter ended a four-play, 32-yard drive from Ryan Smith’s reception on first down.

Montreal turned the ball over on downs, but the series ended with Harris’s 39-yard catch-and-run into the end zone called back for an illegal block. Castillo then went wide left on the 44-yard attempt.

A Bomber penalty gave Montreal a second chance that led to Lewis’s TD at 4:11 of the second quarter to cap a 14-play, 88-yard drive for the 7-3 lead.

The Als went up 13-3 four minutes later on Jones’ TD and Bede missed the convert.

Castillo booted through his 35-yarder and Flanders notched his TD with Davis at quarterback for the 11-play, 70-yard drive to make it 13-13.

Castillo hit a trio of field goals in the third quarter, the second one after Montreal receiver Mikhail Davidson fumbled the kickoff return.

After exchanging interceptions early in the fourth, Bennett notched his one-yard TD run at 9:36 and then threw the 28-yard TD pass to Williams at 12:31.

Winnipeg plays its last pre-season game Monday in Ottawa. Montreal hosts Toronto on Friday.

– CP

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