November 26, 2017

“It’s heart-breaking”

OTTAWA- Inside the media room, a half hour after the shocking denouement, Dave Dickenson was continuing to wrestle with what had just happened; still trying to come to grips with the unthinkable made real.

“It’s too fresh for me to talk emotions,’’ confessed the Stampeders’ coach, following Sunday’s 27-24 Grey Cup loss to the Toronto Argonauts. “It really is. It’s very, very bitter.

“Football’s a tough game. It’s not fair? Whatever. It’s a loss and it’s gonna sting.


In the follow-up to last season’s numbing 39-33 OT loss to the Ottawa Redblacks, the Stamps were put through another painful defeat.

“Every year will be different, every year’s a different group,’’ said Dickenson. “Every year’s a challenge. Every year. So. Yeah. It’s too bad.

“But, listen, we’ve all got family, loved ones, people behind us. Got a great organization, great management. We’ve got winners on our team, great football players, great staff.

“Lot of good things there.

“We just can’t seem to find a way to get that ring.”

The Stampeders won virtually every important statistical category – first downs, 24 to 12; rushing yards, 74 to 16; passing yards, 373 to 297, net offence, 401 yards to 299.

Not that it mattered after all was said and done.

When reminded that it seemed impossible to lose on a 100-yard pass-and-run play and a 109-yard fumble return, in the same game, Dickenson could only reply with: “Well we did.”

“Just couldn’t finish. Couldn’t finish the deal,” he said.  “It’s heart-breaking. It really is. There’s nothing I can say about it at this point for our guys. Love ’em but it’s a heartbreaker.”

The Stampeders looked headed to OT for a second straight Grey Cup with the ball placed at the Toronto 24-yard-line, 29 seconds left and trailing by only a field goal.

But quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell’s end-zone toss intended for Marken Michel was pilfered by Argo defensive back Matt Black, snuffing the threat and ending the dream of redemption.

“Every play we call has options to go to the end zone,’’ said Dickenson. “Bo took two shots earlier. I don’t know exactly but it didn’t look like the ball (went) where he wanted. He got some pressure.

“Didn’t make it and their guy did. No guts, no glory. I’m not saying it’s the wrong decision because if we make that play …

“It’s too bad that Rene at least have had a shot at it but you know, who knows if we win in overtime?”

The locker-room, predictably, was sombre. And Dickenson admitted the gut-wrenching manner the game played out, compounded by the last year’s defeat, left him at a loss.

“I couldn’t give ’em much,’’ he said of a post-game address to his team. “Too fresh. Too hard. Any words I say won’t resonate, will not make anyone feel better.

“They’re just words.

“Words don’t win. Actions do.

“We can think what might’ve been. But it just didn’t happen for us.”