Ticat Ranek bulls his way to CFL weekly honour

Every cloud has a silver lining. And for the struggling – two wins, six losses – Hamilton Tiger-Cats their silver lining is Josh Ranek. Off to a slow start, and then injured, the running back is the Canadian Football League’s Offensive Player of the Week after his encouraging and outstanding performance in Winnipeg last Friday.

Ranek, back in uniform after missing the previous two games with a thigh injury, racked up 164 rushing yards on 27 carries (a 6.1 yard per carry average) while the Ticats diffused the Bombers 26-11. Ranek also led the Ticats in receiving with four receptions that totalled 69 yards and produced one touchdown.

Ranek’s 164 yards of ground gains is the highest single game total in the CFL this season.

“Josh played very aggressively and was a physical force, which allowed our running game to come to life,” said Ticats offensive coordinator Joe Paopao. “This award is a credit to Josh and our entire offensive unit.”

The Ticats signed Ranek last February as a free agent. The 28-year-old native of Tyndall, South Dakota, played last season with the Ottawa Renegades. They folded before the start of the 2006 campaign.

Ranek’s teammate, defensive back Airabin Justin, earned an honourable mention for Defensive Player of the Week after recording two defensive tackles and an interception in the win over Winnipeg.

The Ticats are back in action on Saturday night (August 12) when they entertain the visiting Toronto Argonauts (2-5). Kick-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Ivor Wynne Stadium. For that night, the Ticats will suit up in special edition third jerseys that will be autographed and auctioned online at www.ticats.ca after the game.