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Sunday, June 04, 2023
Schmitz Named to Winnipeg Blue Bombers Practice Roster

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers released 25 players and assigned 13 others to the practice roster to get down to a league-mandated 45-man roster.

The most notable name among the players released was kicker Marc Liegghio, who last year held down all three jobs as the Blue Bombers’ punter and placekicker while also handling kickoff duties.

But the 26-year-old Woodbridge, Ont., native who was Winnipeg’s fifth round pick of the 2020 Canadianm Football League Draft, also missed some crucial convert and field goal attempts throughout his two seasons in Blue and Gold — most notably in the 24-23 loss to the Toronto Argonauts in the 2022 Grey Cup game at Regina’s Mosaic Stadium.

Liegghio missed a convert following a Janarion Grant 102-yard punt return touchdown early in the fourth quarter, and then had a potential 47-yard game-winning field goal attempt blocked with just under a minute remaining on the clock.

The Blue Bombers also had an opportunity for a 10-0 start to the 2022 season in an eventual 20-17 overtime loss to the visiting Montreal Alouettes on Aug. 11 at IG Field.

Liegghio missed wide left on a 32-yard field goal attempt on the final play of the fourth quarter, and then hit the right upright from 34 yards out to prevent Winnipeg from extending the extra period.

For his career in the CFL, the former Western Ontario Mustang great was good on 37 of 47 field goal attempts (78.7 per cent) and also missed eight of 69 convert attempts (88.4 per cent).

The Blue Bombers quickly jumped at the chance to sign Sergio Castillo on May 4, just minutes after the veteran placekicker was released by the Edmonton Elks. Winnipeg also selected punters Jamieson Sheahan (Australia) and Karl Schmitz (Bermuda) in the 2023 global draft.

Barring any changes to the roster for Friday’s home and season opener versus the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, it would appear as though Sheahan will take care of the punting chores, while Schmitz is among those players added to the practice roster.
Monday, May 22, 2023
Whaley Released by Houston Gamblers

Less than a day after announcing the signing of running back Shermari Jones, the Houston Gamblers make more roster moves.

Houston announced on Twitter that they have released running back Devwah Whaley. They also announced the signing of defensive lineman Julian McCleod while also moving him to the inactive list.

Whaley has been a member of the Houston Gamblers since last season where he played the role of Mark Thompson’s backup at running back. Last season, Whaley ran 32 times for 72 yards. He also added six catches for 44 yards with the Gamblers. In week one, he ran seven times for 30 yards as T.J. Pledger’s backup.

Whaley played in week one of the season in Houston’s 29-13 loss to the Michigan Panthers. He was listed as inactive for week two’s game against New Orleans.
Wednesday, May 10, 2023
Schmitz Vies for Spot on Blue Bombers Roster

Picture curtsey Mike Deal/Winnipeg Free Press
You wouldn’t expect to see a 36-year-old at rookie camp, you also wouldn’t expect to find a player from Bermuda of all places, especially one that hasn’t played a game since 2017, writes Taylor Allen.

Thanks, however, to an assist from CFL punting legend Jon Ryan — who started his pro career in Winnipeg — punter Karl Schmitz and his unique story were at IG Field Wednesday for the first day of Blue Bombers rookie camp.

“Just knowing my back story, he was like ‘Hey, did you ever consider entering the global draft?’ I said, I have no idea what the hell that is,’” admitted Schmitz on Wednesday.

Once Ryan filled him in, Schmitz was all in, which led to him getting his name out there and being selected in the second round of the 2023 CFL Global Draft by Winnipeg.

“Putting the helmet on and being around this environment, I feel a spark in me that feels great,” Schmitz said. “I have a smile on my face now, that you can see, but it feels like I’m supposed to be here, being with the boys, letting the balls fly and having fun. It’s exciting.”

He’s been fighting to make it as a professional kicker for years, catching his first break back in 2015 when the Denver Broncos gave him a look. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Carolina Panthers brought him in for tryouts as well, but Schmitz came up short of his NFL dreams. He took a step back and got into coaching, but in 2021, decided to give it one more go thanks to some encouragement from Detroit Lions punter John Fox.

“I almost just gave it up to work full time and start my life,” Schmitz said. “I was out there just banging balls with (Detroit Lions punter John Fox) and he was just like ‘Dude, why did you stop?’ I was like ‘You know what, that’s a really good question.’ So I made a full-time commitment in 2021 to see how much juice I had left in the leg.”

Born and raised in Bermuda, Schmitz, who grew up playing soccer, moved to the United States at 18 and went to high school in St. Louis. He only played half a season of football in high school, but he uploaded some highlights to YouTube which garnered some attention and led to him playing at Jacksonville University. From there, he had another YouTube video go viral — one of him drilling a punt 70 yards — and he’s been attending kicking camps and combines ever since.

“Honestly, to me, it doesn’t seem like it’s that crazy, but I guess, to the outside perspective, it is quite the journey,” Schmitz said,.

In order to make the Bombers, he’ll have to beat out Canadian Marc Liegghio among several others. The Bombers haven’t seen enough from Liegghio to promise him anything as he averaged 46.9 yards per punt last season which put him in eighth place in the CFL.

“We chatted at the end of the year. (Liegghio) knew there would be a competition,” said head coach Mike O’Shea.

“I think the message is the same as it is to everybody. We want to win football games and we want to be the best at every phase we can be and nobody should be afraid of that. They’re pro football players, nobody’s afraid of that. They want to compete and they want to win the job.”

As for Schmitz’s age, O’Shea has no concerns.

“We’re in a profession where you’ve got to win, so if a guy can help you, he can help you… why would you worry about how old he is?” O’Shea said.

“He’s in great shape, just in fantastic shape. I certainly didn’t look like that when I was 36.”
Sunday, April 23, 2023
Bermuda Flag Football Round-Up

The Bermuda Flag Football Season resumed at the TN Tatem Middle School Field.

The Ravens went down 42 - 26 to the Seahawks. The Player of the Game for the Ravens was Daniel Woods with 2 Passing Touchdowns, 2 Receiving Touchdowns, and 1 Rushing Touchdown, while the Player of the Game for the Seahawks was Seward Smith with 5 Passing Touchdowns, 1 Rushing Touchdown, and 1 Interception.

The Chargers defeated the Ravens 83 – 20. The Player of the Game for the Chargers was Zakee Govia with 4 Rushing Touchdowns and 2 Receiving Touchdowns, while the Player of the Game for the Ravens was Antione Jackson with 1 Receiving Touchdown and 1 Rushing Touchdown.

Flag Football Seahawks vs Ravens

Sunday, April 16, 2023
Whaley & Houston Gamblers Fall in Opener

Josh Love had quite a season debut for the Michigan Panthers.

Love, the Panthers' starting quarterback, completed 19-of-21 passes for 216 yards and three touchdowns to lead Michigan to a 29-13 victory over Devwah Whaley and his Houston Gamblers teammates in its USFL season opener at Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium in Memphis, Tennessee.

Whaley had 7 carries for 30 yards, with his longest run being 11 yards.
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