Saturday night made it a Sweet Sixteen for the Red and White.
The 27-13 win over the visiting BC Lions was Calgary’s 16th consecutive victory at McMahon Stadium, not to mention their eighth in a row overall. Through 12 tilts in 2017, the Stampeders are now an unmatched 10-1-1.
Since 2013, they are an amazing 38-4 at home.
“Everybody is playing great football and we have the best coaching staff in the league,” said quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell. “They always put us in the right positions and I think that’s a big reason why we are where we are. I’m just proud of our guys and how we continue to fight.”
BC, the last West Division team to beat the Stamps going all the way back to June 25, 2016, struggled offensively and finished with just 167 passing yards.
“I’m glad I don’t have to play them,” Mitchell confessed, when asked about the play of his defence. “I think that’s why I’ve progressed the way I have in my career so far because I get to go against the best defence every single day. We know the problems those guys present and they’re doing a great job of it right now.”
Scoring plays in the opening half of action came courtesy of a 31-yard touchdown toss into the arms of the Stampeders’ Marken Michel, a 68-yard rouge off the leg of BC’s Ty Long, two kicks by Rene Paredes and one-three pointer from Long.
In the third and fourth, Rob Maver registered a punt single, Long and Paredes combined for five successful attempts and Reggie Begelton found pay dirt from 20 yards out.
Micah Johnson’s first-quarter sack was his eighth of the season to take sole possession of the CFL’s No.-1 spot in that department. Adding to Calgary’s takedown total at the expense of Jonathon Jennings in the ensuing minutes were Ja’Gared Davis and James Vaughters on back-to-back plays. The fourth and final sack was the result of an Alex Singleton pursuit.
Putting the Stamps into prime field position with 10 minutes left before the break was the always-elusive Roy Finch. His 47-yard runback was finally halted by Jordan Herdman, but not before Finch gave the offence a short field to work with in advance of an eventual Paredes strike.
He would then do one better with Calgary nursing a late 10-point lead, stopped only by a desperate Long with the goal-line well in his sights. Despite being denied of the endzone, Finch’s runback of 66 yards set up Begelton’s first career score.
“I think right now you’re looking at a team that’s led by the defence and the special teams, and that’s not a bad combination,” explained head coach Dave Dickenson. “I do think our ‘D’ is harassing quarterbacks and special teams with Roy and the blocking have been giving us good field position. It was a hard-fought win. I felt like the game was in doubt until the end but the guys kept playing it out, kept fighting and we made the plays.”
Adding to the special-teams highlights, Maver was forced to pull down the ball with a free runner headed his way. The third-down desperation scamper went for 24 yards to move the chains in the fourth.