CFL notebook: Redblacks’ Brad Sinopoli on pace for record season

Brad Sinopoli is on a historic pace.

The Ottawa receiver is closing in on the CFL’s regular-season record for most catches by a Canadian-born receiver. The 30-year-old native of Peterborough, Ont., has a league-best 101 catches for 1,207 yards and four TDs with the Redblacks still having three regular-season games remaining.

Hall of Famer Ben Cahoon of the Montreal Alouettes holds the record of 112 receptions set in 2003.

The six-foot-four, 215-pound Sinopoli is on pace for 121 catches, which would be the fifth-most in CFL history. Sinopoli captured the 2010 Hec Crighton Trophy as Canadian university football’s top player as a quarterback with the Ottawa Gee-Gees.

The two-time Grey Cup champion is the seventh Canadian to reach the 100-catch plateau in a season, with both Cahoon and Dave Sapunjis doing it twice.

TOUGH SEASON: It’s been a campaign to forget for the Toronto Argonauts.

Toronto (3-12) will miss the CFL playoff this year after winning a Grey Cup title in 2017. The Argos have dropped seven straight games heading into Saturday’s home contest against the Montreal Alouettes (3-12).

The Argos have played in four games this season decided by just one point, one short of the CFL record shared by Ottawa (1991) and Edmonton (1993). Toronto is 2-2 in those contests.

Toronto has also had seven games decided by four points or fewer, going 3-4.

RUNNING REDBLACK: Williams Powell is close to ending an Ottawa rushing drought.

Powell has a CFL-best 1,275 rushing yards this season and needs just 225 over Ottawa’s final three regular-season games to reach the 1,500-yard mark. If he does so, Powell will be the first player to accomplish the feat since Calgary’s Jon Cornish in 2013 (1,813 yards).

Powell is also looking to become the first Ottawa player to lead the CFL in rushing since Orville Lee in 1988 with 1,075 yards.

ESKIMOS DOMINATION: D’haquille (Duke) Williams is looking to continue the Edmonton Eskimos’ recent receiving success.

Williams enters weekend action as the CFL’s leading receiver with 1,454 yards from 81 catches with 10 TDs. If he can finish the year atop the standings. it would mark the fifth time in six seasons that an Edmonton receiver has done so.

The others include: Brandon Zylstra (2017), Adarius Bowman (2014, 2016) and Fred Stamps (2013).

RECORD-TYING SEASON: Winnipeg linebacker Adam Bighill has joined some elite company.

Bighill had eight tackles, a forced fumble and three sacks in Winnipeg’s 31-0 win last week over Saskatchewan. That gave Bighill 101 tackles on the season, leaving him tied with Calgary’s Alex Singleton for the league lead.

It marked the fourth time Bighill has reached the 100-tackle plateau. He joins Barrin Simpson and Willie Pless as the only players to record four or more seasons with 100-plus tackles.

Singleton has hit the century mark for a second straight season. Montreal linebacker Henoc Muamba needs just 12 tackles to achieve the milestone a second time.

TOP ROOKIE: The CFL revealed Thursday its list of 97 players who’re eligible for the league’s top rookie award.

The overwhelming favourite for the honour is kicker Lewis Ward of the Ottawa Redblacks, who has made 46-of-47 field goals this season. The five-foot-seven, 185-pound native of Kingston, Ont., who played collegiately at Ottawa, has connected on a CFL-record 40 straight boots.

Amazingly, Ward went undrafted in 2017 and returned to school that fall before joining the Redblacks as a free agent. At Ottawa, Ward kicked 89 field goals, the second-most in U Sports history behind Calgary’s Johnny Mark (91) and finished as the school’s all-time scoring leader with 412 points.

Ward is also expected to contend for the CFL’s top special-teams player honour.

– CP

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