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Waxahachie’s Sterns makes professional debut, helps lead CFL Roughriders to victory

By Travis M. Smith | Ellis County Sports

REGINA, Saskatchewan — As of Thursday evening, Jerreth Sterns still has no headshot to showcase on the roster page of the Saskatchewan Roughriders. His No. 83 green-and-white jersey was seen early and often this past Sunday in a dazzling performance in the Canadian Football League against the Ottawa Redblacks.

Sterns finished his CFL debut with 7 catches for 71 yards, averaging 10.1 yards per catch. The reception total led all Roughrider receivers and his yardage total was second only to Shawn Bane Jr. (6-88, TD).

Sterns’ 7th catch went for 5 yards and put Saskatchewan kicker Brett Lauther into position for a game-winning 54-yard attempt with 26 seconds to play.

Lauther split the uprights for the 26-24 Roughrider victory in front of 26,625 spectators at Ottawa’s Mosaic Stadium.

“I’m just grateful for the opportunity,” said Sterns to the Roughrider media following the game. “Mason [Fine] made great throws and the O-line did a great job. […] The other receivers were balling out all night, so I’m grateful to be out here with those guys.” 

It’s probably important to note that Sunday’s come-from-behind victory against the Ottawa Redblacks was the first regular-season start for the Waxahachie product. It was also his first-ever action in a regular-season professional football game. 

A second fun and hyperlocal flare is that former-University of North Texas quarterback Mason Fine completed 23-of-his-37 passes for 296 yards and one touchdown in the Roughrider win. 

Sterns signed to the Saskatchewan practice squad on his 24th birthday, July 1. 

“My agent called me and asked me what I thought about Canada and going there to play,” Sterns told Roughrider media. “I just told him, ‘I want to play football,’ so I got on a plane and got here immediately. 

“Growing up, I’ve always wanted to play pro football. I knew that’s what I wanted to do, so I’m grateful for the opportunity to be here.” 

Sterns previously spent time as an undrafted free agent with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Los Angeles Rams of the NFL. Ellis County Sports went a little more in-depth on Sterns to the CFL and all of his jaw-dropping collegiate numbers here.

Sterns and the (4-4) Roughriders return to action Friday on the road against the (4-3) Montreal Alouettes. Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m. CST Friday on RDS and TSN. 

THE CFL DIFFERENCE

If you’re anything like this American football enthusiast, you are either prepared to begin researching the Canadian Football League rules or sitting with crossed fingers that we’ve already done a little background work.

Well, Ellis County Sports hasn’t…but howtheyplay.com did. 

  • An NFL field is 100 by 53 1/3 yards with a midfield line at 50 yards. A CFL field is 110 by 65 yards, with the midfield line at 55 yards.
  • The end zones are different lengths as well. The CFL has an end zone that is 20 yards deep. The NFL end zones are only 10 yards deep. This means that the total length of the entire field in the NFL is 120 yards, while the CFL field is 150 yards. The CFL also places goalposts at the front of the end zone. 
  • The total number of players on the field in the NFL is 22. There are 11 players on the field for each opposing team. In the CFL, the total is 24. There are 12 players on each opposing side.
  • Both leagues require seven offensive players to be on the line of scrimmage. Because of this, the 12th player on the field in the CFL is typically a backfield position. This has led to the tight end position being commonly removed from the CFL in favor of having two slotbacks.
  • On the defensive side, the CFL has two halfbacks and safety, while the NFL has two safety positions (free and strong safety).
  • The NFL offers four downs for a team to advance the ball 10 yards. The CFL only offers three downs.
  • In the CFL, after the play is over, the referee whistles for the next play to start and the offense has 20 seconds to snap the football.
  • The scoring is essentially the same in both leagues. A safety is two points, a field goal is three points, a touchdown is six points, a kicked extra point is one point, and a conversion run is two points.
  • A notable exception is a single point, or rouge, which is only in the CFL. A single point is awarded to the kicking team when:
  • The kicking team misses a field goal or punts the football and the receiving team does not return the ball out of their end zone. The kicking team then receives one point.
  • The kicking team misses a field goal or punts the football and the ball goes through the end zone and out of bounds without being touched.

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Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith

tsmith@elliscosports.com

About Travis M. Smith

Travis M. Smith is the owner and content director of Ellis County Sports and has over a decade of award-winning sports coverage. He most recently served as the digital sports director for KBEC 1390AM/99.1FM. He is the former managing editor of the Waxahachie Daily Light, Midlothian Mirror and Glen Rose Reporter.

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