Stampeders' Jon Cornish, Brett Jones win CFL West Division awards

 

 
 
 
 
Jon Cornish of the Calgary Stampeders is taken down by Edmonton Eskimos’ Patrick Watkins and Eric Samuels during CFL action at Commonwealth Stadium on Sept. 6, 2014.
 
 

Jon Cornish of the Calgary Stampeders is taken down by Edmonton Eskimos’ Patrick Watkins and Eric Samuels during CFL action at Commonwealth Stadium on Sept. 6, 2014.

Photograph by: Topher Seguin, Edmonton Journal

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CALGARY - Despite appearing in only half of the 2014 regular season, Calgary Stampeders running back Jon Cornish has the opportunity to do what only one player has done before: win the CFL Most Outstanding Canadian award three consecutive years.

Cornish was, on Thursday, named the CFL West Division finalist for that major award, while teammate Brett Jones is the West representative for the Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman award.

Cornish was the Most Outstanding Player in both 2012 and 2013. Should he win this season, he will join Ottawa’s Tony Gabriel (1976-78) as the other player to win three straight.

Cornish is up against Hamilton Tiger-Cats defensive lineman Ted Laurent, the East Division finalist.

The 30-year-old was also vying for Most Outstanding Player in the West. That distinction, however, went to B.C. Lions linebacker Solomon Elimimian, who is up against Toronto Argonauts quarterback Ricky Ray.

Other nominees from Thursday include Elimimian and Montreal Alouettes linebacker Bear Woods for Most Outstanding Defensive Player; Winnipeg Blue Bombers Lirim Hajrullahu and Toronto’s Swayze Waters for Outstanding Special Teams Player; and Edmonton Eskimos linebacker Dexter McCoil versus Toronto defensive end Tristan Okpalaugo for Most Outstanding Rookie.

Cornish’s heroics this season have been well documented. He won his third consecutive rushing title — joining Johnny Bright, George Reed and Mike Pringle — in nine games, amassing 1,082 yards on 139 rushes for  7.8 yards per carry. He reached the century mark in yards in six of those games, including a season-high 174 against the Argonauts Sept. 13.

On Wednesday, after being named to the West Division all-star squad, Cornish admitted an award would be an achievement.

“Before I was selected, I didn’t care,” he said then. “Since I was selected, it’s important for me to represent the team as well as I can. If I do get selected for MOC or MOP, I’d be pretty happy.”

The native of New Westminster, B.C., was tapped as CFL Player of the Week on eight occasions this season, as well as top offensive player three times and best Canadian five.

For Jones, there was no sophomore jinx this year. The six-foot-two, 318-pounder, who was the league’s Most Outstanding Rookie in 2013, was an anchor on the Stamps’ offensive line, playing in all 18 games — the only O-line member to do so.

The 23-year-old centre, originally from Weyburn, Sask., will be up against Alouettes tackle Jeff Perrett for the award.

Given his responsibility of making the calls, Jones was a key cog on a unit that allowed 26 sacks this season, a league low. He also aided in a running game that saw the club average 143.9 yards per game on the ground, also topping the CFL this season.

“I don’t know if you could pick one or whatever. Maybe Jon (Cornish) or Bo (Levi Mitchell) would get mad at you,” Jones said on Wednesday, after he was named to the West Division all-star team, on which of those statistics was more satisfying. “That’s our job, so we take pride in both of those numbers.”

The CFL’s annual awards are voted on by reporters and head coaches from across the league. The hardware will be handed out Nov. 27 in advance of the 102nd Grey Cup in Vancouver.

 
 
 
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Jon Cornish of the Calgary Stampeders is taken down by Edmonton Eskimos’ Patrick Watkins and Eric Samuels during CFL action at Commonwealth Stadium on Sept. 6, 2014.
 

Jon Cornish of the Calgary Stampeders is taken down by Edmonton Eskimos’ Patrick Watkins and Eric Samuels during CFL action at Commonwealth Stadium on Sept. 6, 2014.

Photograph by: Topher Seguin, Edmonton Journal

 
Jon Cornish of the Calgary Stampeders is taken down by Edmonton Eskimos’ Patrick Watkins and Eric Samuels during CFL action at Commonwealth Stadium on Sept. 6, 2014.
Calgary Stampeders Brett Jones burst onto the scene in a big way in 2013, earning the CFL rookie of the year honours. Do the Stamps have another draft ace up their sleeve this year?
 
 
 
 
 
 
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