Two of the finest running backs in York Lions football history took full advantage of the spotlight last Thursday at the Rogers Centre.
Toronto Argonauts rookie running back Andre Durie (left) recorded a 33-yard touchdown run on his first Canadian Football League carry, while fellow York product Jeff Johnson also scored a one-yard major as the home team beat the Calgary Stampeders 48-15 at the Rogers Centre.
It was Durie’s first regular season game since suffering a serious knee injury with the York Lions in September, 2005. He had two operations after suffering the injury.
"It’s overwhelming," the undrafted Durie told Rogers Sportsnet. "Everything that led up to this moment and training camp, this is truly amazing. I told the head coach, ‘Thanks for putting me in. I’m not going to stop running when I get the ball.’"
Durie came in to play running back in the fourth quarter after being used on special teams for most of the game. "To see that, after Andre was out of football for two years, is remarkable," said Lions interim head coach Andy McEvoy, who attended the game.
Johnson is in his seventh year in the CFL and fifth with the Argos. While Durie was sidelined with the injury in 2005, Johnson invited him as a guest to an Argos game and took him into the dressing room.
After Johnson (right) starred in that game as a starter in a win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, he made a bold prediction. "It [a York player making the CFL] doesn’t happen too often but the next one’s right here," said Johnson, who graduated with a BA in 2002. "This is why I’m playing now and trying to succeed, so when he comes they give him the ball right away."
Johnson and Durie will now prepare for a rematch against the Stampeders Saturday in Calgary.
Submitted to YFile by Mike Koreen, sport & recreation information officer in York’s School of Kinesiology & Health Science, Faculty of Health