September 24, 2017

Stamps leave Riders green with envy

They may have scored their fewest points of the year, but it proved to be just enough to Ride on for their 10th triumph in a row over the Roughriders.

With the scoreboard reading 15-9 when the final whistle was blown, Calgary improved upon their league-best record once again. The Stamps now find themselves at 11-1-1 and dealt the Riders their sixth loss in 12 games, all while earning the season-series against Saskatchewan.

Bo Levi Mitchell – who remains undefeated against his Regina rivals in eight career starts – completed 77.4 per cent of his passes highlighted by a 24-yarder to Reggie Begelton and a 25-yard throw to Roy Finch.

Successful field goal tries from 38, 36, 17, 39 and 30 yards out by Rene Paredes were the only scoring plays for the Stampeders in their new Mosaic Stadium debut.

A safety conceded by Calgary punter Rob Maver provided a pair of points for the home team, and Devon Bailey was the only player to find the end zone on Sunday with a tough, 14-yard snag later on.

“Both defences and both teams are very patient and made the offences earn what they got,” head coach Dave Dickenson offered. “I thought our defensive line harassed their guys and we didn’t blitz that much, either. We tackled well and it was just a field position game, it really was. No team really had any flow offensively.”

Marken Michel’s first-quarter fumble gave Saskatchewan the ball near midfield, but the Riders were ultimately unable to capitalize on the turnover. After initially lining up in field goal formation on the subsequent series, Vernon Adams, Jr. was unable to sneak for the first down, thus turning things back over to the Stamps.

Calgary then had a short-yardage miscue of their own with Andrew Buckley failing to move the chains. Prior to the play, the Stamps had been a perfect 17-of-17 in such scenarios this season.

The afternoon’s fourth turnover was a Jamar Wall interception deep inside Stampeder territory.

A third-quarter series from the Stamps saw Jerome Messam receive four handoffs in five plays to set up Paredes’ third kick. The powerful Canadian tailback finished with 127 yards for his second triple-digit performance in 2017. His first, a 135-yard outing on July 22, also came versus the Roughriders.

“He not the youngest guy and we try to take care of him,” said Dickenson on Messam’s heavy workload. “He really wanted to play and it’s a game where a running back would have a decent game because they basically committed to taking away the pass. It was important for us to have that hammer inside and I thought he played well.”

Coming on relief of Kevin Glenn in the fourth was reserve quarterback Brandon Bridge. Glenn would exit after connecting with his receivers on just 12 occasions for 127 yards. Bridge was responsible for the touchdown toss to Bailey, but also coughed up the ball on the very next series to end any hope of a comeback. Ja’Gared Davis’ sack, forced fumble and recovery put the Calgary offense back on the field with only 35 seconds left.

“We got him traded from Saskatchewan,” Dickenson revealed regarding Davis. “I don’t know if too many people realize that. I feel he’s right there with the best defensive ends in the league. He plays a full game. He’s very unorthodox in his style and the way he attacks offense tackles, but he’s giving them fits.”

Three sacks came from Davis and two were courtesy of Charleston Hughes, while only AC Leonard and Willie Jefferson got to Mitchell on a single instance each.

Time of possession (36:10 to 23:50) and rushing attempts (28 to 12) were also in favour of the Red and White.