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Bring on the Argos.
With 32-28 Western Final win over Edmonton Sunday at McMahon Stadium, the Stamps are off to Ottawa for the 105th Grey Cup presented by Shaw for the third time in four years.
Calgary has now advanced to the Grey Cup in five of the last 10 seasons, more than any other team in the past decade. Their matchup with Toronto will be the fourth showdown between the two foes with the championship on the line.
A crowd of 30,116 was on hand to see the Stampeders come from 14 points behind to win the 16th divisional title in franchise history. Seven of those victories have come versus the Eskimos.
“I know we played a great team but I thought we could come back,” said head coach Dave Dickenson. “There was never necessarily a doubt that we couldn’t do it, but we still had to go out there and do the job. I didn’t think our sideline wavered with confidence. I know we lost a few games coming into this game, but I did feel like our group was a veteran group that could respond and could rally. It didn’t look great early but I think you saw our true team in the last three quarters.”
Touchdowns from Marquay McDaniel, Marken Michel, Roy Finch and Jerome Messam of the Stamps helped propel the homeside to victory.
Edmonton’s CJ Gable, Derel Walker and Mike Reilly found pay dirt for the visitors. Sean Whyte tacked on a pair of field goals.
In the first quarter, Gable broke the plain of the goal-line on third and goal from eight yards out before Derel Walker was left all alone for a 69-yard heave and uncontested touchdown.
The initial first down for the Stampeders was the result of a Kamar Jorden handoff which went for 17 yards. Later on, offensive lineman Dan Federkeil was declared eligible for a rare reception to move the chains and set up McDaniel’s 10-yard TD over the middle.
Tying things up midway through the second was Michel. No. 80 took an end-around and followed the blocks of his fellow receivers for a 13-yard major. Just before the intermission, it was Roy Finch dancing his way to pay dirt with a sensational 50-yard effort.
In the third, Jerome Messam powered his way over the goal-line after Bo Levi Mitchell found Kamar Jorden up the seam for a crucial 51-yard gain.
“I had good faith in him and I knew he was ready to play and he rewarded me,” Dickenson explained of his go-to guy in the backfield. “For me as a coach, that’s big-time when you trust a player that is honest with his health and he’s ready to go.”
With the game in the balance, Pierre-Luc Caron recovered a muffed punt to seal the win.
The Stamps’ Roy Finch led the ground attack with 81 yards and Kamar Jorden was the most prolific through the air with 111 yards.
Jerome Messam finished with 115 total yards and Finch had a combined 233 yards worth of damage.
Next up is a showdown against Toronto with everything on the line, and the Stampeders won’t be satisfied without one last victory to conclude 2017.
“Last year was a success, but it didn’t mean a lot when we couldn’t finish,” recalled Dickenson of their Grey Cup loss to Ottawa. “Winning the West isn’t going to be enough. If we can’t finish the deal and get the job done against a great opponent that’s well-coached, it’s going to feel hollow again. So hopefully we can dig deep and some way we can get it done and come out of here with a ring.”