Augustine Johnny on the spot



When you share a running back room with a pair of hometown heroes in Andrew Harris and Brady Olivera, it can be hard to garner some attention.

But that doesn’t mean third-year Blue Bombers ball carrier Johnny Augustine should be an afterthought.

Far from it, in fact.

In Week 12’s 45-0 beatdown over the B.C. Lions, Augustine had a dazzling 55-yard carry and finished the night with a season-high four carries for 73 yards. Surely, a long run like that is going to boost his stats, but with a decent sample size of 50 career carries, Augustine boasts an impressive yards per carry average of 7.4.

“I’m smiling because I didn’t even know that stat. I don’t even pay attention to that,” Augustine admitted.

“But yeah, it feels good, not even for me, but for my teammates when they jump up and get so excited for those runs I have. I thrive off that.”

Unlike 2019 when he was the No. 2 option behind Harris, Augustine now finds himself as the team’s third-string runner thanks to the emergence of Oliveira. Augustine, who was sidelined for most of training camp with an injury, has been put on special teams duty this season and has only been handed the ball five times in 2021.

“For me, this is a team sport and there’s only one ball. I understand I can’t control everything,” said the 28-year-old from Welland, Ont.

“And just to be a part of this organization and this team, anything they tell me to do, I’m gonna do. I love playing special teams. I’m having an amazing time doing it this year… It’s a huge part and a huge phase of the game so when I’m not running the ball, I’m giving all that I can on special teams.”

The Bombers have clinched the West Division title already and are guaranteed to play the division final at IG Field on Dec. 5, but before then, they have to get through three more regular season games starting with the Montreal Alouettes at home this Saturday.

There might be nothing in the standings at stake for the Blue and Gold, but for players such as Augustine, this homestretch could provide an excellent opportunity to get more time on the field and show what they can do. Harris is also nursing a knee injury that he suffered in Week 11 in Edmonton and the Bombers should have no interest in rushing him back before the playoffs.

“Truth be told, every week I hope I get a chance to carry the ball. It’s our natural instinct as athletes, as competitive athletes, especially in this game, we want to be the guy,” Augustine said.

“We want to be the one carrying the load or whatever. It’s tough at times, not gonna lie, especially now with this being my (third) season, I want to get more chances and more opportunities. But I’m just gonna continue to work hard and do whatever they ask me to do.”taylor.allen@freepress.mb.caTwitter: @TaylorAllen31

Taylor Allen

Taylor Allen
Reporter

Eighteen years old and still in high school, Taylor got his start with the Free Press on June 1, 2011. Well, sort of.

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