It’s my Parting Shot for a story, my personal recollection of the 1972 C-F-L West Division final…..
Back then, I lived in Winnipeg and was in junior high school. My best friends were the Evans’ brothers…twins, although you’d never know it from looking at them. We were big Blue Bombers’ fans and, in 1972, we finally had something to cheer about! The Bombers finished first in the West with a 10-6 record…winning all eight games at home. The three of us didn’t miss a home game, buying tickets in the North End Zone of the old Winnipeg Stadium.
We also had the benefit of having a Bomber player as our Phys Ed teacher at John Pritchard junior high in Canadian cornerback Gene Lakusiak. He didn’t talk much football when he was teaching a class, but we were able to get him to loosen up and chat about the Bombers and the C-F-L.
The 1972 season was the first one in which a new upper deck of seating was added to the West side grandstand…and we managed to convince Mr. Lakusiak to set us up with tickets for the West final in that new upper deck.
Of course, that West final was against the Saskatchewan Roughriders. In the first half, things went as we had witnessed throughout the regular season…Winnipeg dominated and had a three touchdown lead going to the break. But, the Bombers’ middle linebacker was injured late in the first half and Ronnie Lancaster started picking on the revamped defence in the second half, bringing the Riders back to a tie.
The Green and White got a late possession and drove into field goal range, only to have guard and straight-on toe kicker Jack Abendschan miss. The Bombers kicked it out of the end zone, Lancaster was the holder and caught the kick out, but couldn’t get another kick away and it appeared as though we were heading for overtime.
Except there was a flag…no yards on Winnipeg when Lancaster fielded the kick out of the end zone. Move the ball up and Abendschan didn’t miss…Saskatchewan was off to the Grey Cup! The Bombers lost, leaving the Evans’ brothers and I crestfallen…and cursing as to why we didn’t just sit in the North end zone as per usual!
What kind of stories will we have to tell about Sunday’s Saskatchewan-Winnipeg playoff game remains to be seen…but I’m sure it’ll be memorable like mine from ’72!
That’s my Parting Shot, I’m Les Lazaruk…