V.I. Raiders alum Harris rushes for 1,000 yards

Andrew Harris reached the 1,000-rushing-yards milestone on Friday as he and his B.C. Lions beat the Edmonton Eskimos 39-19 at B.C. Place.

B.C. Lions tailback Andrew Harris acknowledges applause Saturday at Caledonia Park before the B.C. Football Conference game between the V.I. Raiders and the Okanagan Sun. Harris delivered the ceremonial kickoff.

B.C. Lions tailback Andrew Harris acknowledges applause Saturday at Caledonia Park before the B.C. Football Conference game between the V.I. Raiders and the Okanagan Sun. Harris delivered the ceremonial kickoff.

Even pro football defences have a hard time slowing down Andrew Harris.

The former V.I. Raiders great reached the 1,000-rushing-yards milestone on Friday as he and his B.C. Lions beat the Edmonton Eskimos 39-19 in Canadian Football League play at B.C. Place stadium.

Harris is only the ninth Canadian player in CFL history to reach the mark. He went into the game needing 17 yards and gained 42, as the Eskimos didn’t make it easy for him.

“Their defensive coordinator came up to me before the game and said, ‘You’re not going to have a good game today; our whole game plan is to stop you.’ So I knew it was going to be tough,” Harris related. “But it’s also humbling in a certain way when a team is already keying onto you in the CFL.”

He said he was more concerned that night with trying to help the Lions win and clinch first place in the Western Division, but said it was pretty cool to make it to 1,000.

“It’s a combination of completing a goal and accomplishing something and it’s a good feeling,” Harris said.

He also surpassed 700 receiving yards on the season in that same game, a personal goal, and earlier this month he broke the old record of 1,662 yards from scrimmage by a Canadian. With two games to go, Harris has a chance to lead his team in both rushing and receiving, something no CFL player – Canadian or American – has done in over 40 years.

His steady production is starting to put him in the conversation for the CFL’s Most Outstanding Canadian award.

“It’s pretty cool, but I’ve always just tried to focus on football and all the extra stuff, whatever,” he said. “Even playing here [in Nanaimo] I just wanted to win championships. There was times when people said I should have won Canadian player of the year in junior and I [didn’t] and I didn’t really get frustrated about those things. It didn’t really mean a big deal to me. Moreso just to win championships and be a team player, that’s the biggest thing for me.”

GRID BITS … Harris was at Nanaimo’s Caledonia Park on Saturday to watch his old Vancouver Island Raiders team defeat the Okanagan Sun 34-8 in the B.C. Football Conference semifinals. He delivered the ceremonial kickoff and stuck around to sign autographs after the game … He and his B.C. Lions play Friday (Oct. 26) on the road against the Calgary Stampeders, who are led by another Canadian tailback, Jon Cornish. Kickoff is at 6 p.m. and the game will be televised on TSN.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com