June 11, 2017

Stamps survive versus Esks

Running back Terry Williams (38) gets brought down by Edmonton Eskimos Jean-Simon Roy (68) after carrying the ball out of the Calgary end zone during second half CFL pre-season action in Edmonton, Alta., on Sunday June 11, 2017. The Stampeders won 36-35. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Amber Bracken

The Calgary Stampeders concluded their pre-season schedule with a 2-0 record thanks to a one-point road win against the Edmonton Eskimos from The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium on Sunday night.

All four quarterbacks took snaps for the visitors and seven Stampeders registered at least one rushing attempt in the 36-35 victory.

When the action got underway, a two-and-out by the Stamps was followed up by an abbreviated offensive series for the Esks as Micah Johnson wrestled Mike Reilly to the turf on an early second down.

On the very next play from scrimmage, Roy Finch exploded up the middle for an 81-yard punt return to the end zone. Finch’s only score last season also came against the Eskimos when he found pay dirt in the Labour Day Classic.

Bo Levi Mitchell saw his first action of 2017 when he got the start for the Stampeders. The sixth-year Eastern Washington product went eight-of-11 for 107 yards during his portion of the opening half.

The two other scoring plays for the visitors came courtesy of a Mitchell Gale short-yardage touchdown and a Rob Maver punt single.

Rene Paredes looked poise to add three more points on the board for Calgary near the end of the opening quarter, but the attempt was fumbled by placeholder Andrew Buckley as the Stamps came up empty-handed.

Edmonton’s points came off the foot of Sean Whyte – from 51 and 28 yards out respectively – and via a Travon Van rushing major.

Edmonton’s John White committed the next turnover of the initial 30 minutes when the ball was stripped from his grasp by Maleki Harris and recovered by Charleston Hughes.

With less than two minutes left before the teams cleared the field, Kent London of the Esks picked off a wobbly toss by Gale and returned it 19 yards to Calgary’s 31-yard line.

In the third, Whyte knocked through a 41-yard kick to give the Green and Gold a narrow one-point advantage.

Gale would be hurried from behind by Da’Quan Bowers shortly thereafter, causing the ball to bounce to the turf. The mistake would prove costly when James Franklin connected with Bryant Mitchell for 45 yards and Kendial Lawrence then scampered across the goal line.

Rookie pivot Ricky Stanzi then had his turn under centre for the Stampeders. The one-time NFL-backup would complete five of his six attempts for 64 yards and one touchdown toss which dropped over the shoulder and into the arms of Rory Kohlert.

The game was tied at 22 heading into the fourth. In that final frame, Calgary’s Andrew Buckley both led and finished off a four-play TD drive in advance of D’haquille Williams and LaDarius Perkins of the Esks each tallying six points. Richard Sindani’s touchdown snag with 1:18 remaining put the Stamps ahead for good as Edmonton failed to convert a game-winning two-point convert in the waning seconds.

An 11-day break now awaits the Red and White before their season-opener in Ottawa on Friday, June 23 at 5 p.m. MT.