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The 2017 edition of the Stampeders finished the regular season first in the West for the sixth time in the last 10 years. Calgary hosted the Western Final for the fourth time in the past five seasons and went to the Grey Cup for the fourth time in the last six years.
Although the Stamps’ season didn’t end the way we all wanted, there were still a lot highlights, exciting plays and record-setting moments.
Let’s take a look back at the season that was.
Many happy returns
The 2017 season saw five – count ‘em, FIVE, punt-return touchdowns.
In the Stamps’ home-opener, and the second game of this rookie’s CFL career, Tunde Adeleke found the end zone on a 71-yard punt return against Ottawa for his first CFL touchdown. He found the end zone for the second time of the year against Montreal on a 51-yard return.
Roy Finch, who was named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Special Teams Player of 2017, returned three punts for majors which tied him for the franchise record. He also surpassed his own franchise record for most punt-return yards in a season.
Finch’s first of the season came at home against Hamilton when he ran up the sideline 97 yards late in the first quarter of what would be a blowout win. The very next game, he returned a punt 103 yards in Toronto which was the second-longest in Stamps history. Finally, Finch torched the Eskimos on 90-yarder in the Labour Day Classic – his second Labour Day Classic score on a punt return in as many seasons.
No sophomore slump
Alex Singleton followed up his rookie campaign with an even more impressive sophomore season.
Playing in all 18 games, Singleton racked up 123 tackles, second in the CFL to BC’s Solomon Elimimian. He sets a new league record for most tackles in a season by a Canadian (Kevin Eiben recorded 113 tackles for the Argos in 2005). He later set a new Stamps record for most defensive tackles and most total tackles in a season.
A 2017 CFL all-star, the Montana State grad also became the first player in CFL history to record at least 10 tackles in three consecutive games, which he did in Weeks 11 through 13.
He was the team’s nominee for Most Outstanding Player, Defensive Player and Canadian, taking home the hardware for the league’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player during Grey Cup week festivities.
He may be 33 years old and just finished up his 10th CFL season but Charleston Hughes is not slowing down.
He’s coming off his second consecutive CFL sack title and the third of his career. He also tied Will Johnson for the Stamps all-time sack record when he logged his 99th on Oct. 28 against the Eskimos.
But The Sackmaster wasn’t the only defensive lineman who had success taking down opposing quarterback last season. In addition to Hughes’ 11 sacks, Micah Johnson and Ja’Gared Davis each had nine, while James Vaughters contributed six.
Despite being in his second year, backup quarterback Andrew Buckley experienced a lot of firsts.
He threw his first touchdown on July 29 against Hamilton – a 10-yard pass to fellow ex-Dino Anthony Parker.
In that same game he also recorded his first reception… a deflected pass to himself! The play may have resulted in a four-yard loss but it contributed to him being a perfect 10 for 10 in completions on the evening.
He also got his first CFL start on Nov. 3 against Winnipeg.
Although not his first CFL touchdown – he’s rushed for 11 so far – Buckley found the end zone on a 60-yard run against Ottawa in the home-opener.
Bo on the go
Quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell completed his fourth full season as the Red and White’s starter and continues to move up the charts in the franchise record book.
Mitchell overtook the likes of Jeff Garcia, Peter Liske, Jerry Keeling and Doug Flutie during the 2017 season and now stands among the top three in every significant passing category.
With 1,495 career completions, he’s second only to Henry Burris after moving ahead of Garcia and Flutie during the past season. Mitchell now sits third in pass attempts (2,280), yards (19,349) and touchdowns (115) behind only Burris and Flutie.
In 2017, Mitchell also tied Keeling for most career touchdown passes in Stamps playoff history with 12 and he owns all the Grey Cup passing records with 92 completions, 1,178 yards and six touchdowns.
Stepping into the spotlight
A handful of players who were either flying under the radar or weren’t on the scene at all to start the calendar year emerged with big performances in 2017.
Marken Michel first saw action in Week 2 against Ottawa and scored his first touchdown on a on 26-yarder from Bo Levi Mitchell. A few weeks later, the first-year receiver was named a CFL player of the week when he hauled in six passes for 190 yards and one touchdown. The yardage total was the highest by a Stamps receiver since Romby Bryant’s 211-yard game in 2009. Michel went on to be the West Division nominee for Most Outstanding Rookie.
In his home debut, rookie Tunde Adeleke scored his first CFL major on a 71-yard punt return against Ottawa. He celebrated his second score on Sept. 29 against Montreal when he ran a punt back 51 yards to the end zone.
In that same game, Terry Williams got his first career start and he was named player of the week after rushing for 156 yards and three touchdowns against the Alouettes.
Jameer Thurman and James Vaughters both had excellent rookie seasons on defence. Thurman played all 18 games, becoming a starter at weak-side linebacker a third of the way through the year when Maleki Harris suffered a season-ending injury. Vaughters played 17 games, including eight starts, at defensive end and had the third-most sacks on the team with six.
In his sophomore season, Ucambre Williams stepped up in his first year as a starter. He made the switch to centre, played all 18 games and was the team nominee for Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman.
Also in his second season, Shaquille Richardson enjoyed his first season as a full-time starter. He mainly played the SAM position but also saw action at halfback. He celebrated his first CFL pick-six against Hamilton on July 29 on a 47-yard score. He was named a CFL player of the week for his two interceptions and a fumble recovery in the Labour Day Classic victory over Edmonton.
The Stamps had many impressive streaks going throughout the 2017 season and a few are still alive today.
The Stamps still haven’t lost a regular-season game following a bye since 2005. Calgary is in the midst of 16 straight wins after a week off.
The Red and White had a 10th consecutive winning season and were the first team in CFL history to have at least 12 wins in six straight seasons.
For the fourth time in club history, Calgary enjoyed an 11-game regular-season winning streak. That streak lasted until a Week 18 loss to the Riders and that game also ended a few other streaks including a 10-game string of wins against Saskatchewan, a stretch of 16 consecutive victories against West Division opponents and a 17-game roll at McMahon.
The next week, the Stamps fell to the Eskimos which ended a pro football record of 103 regular-season games without back-to-back losses – a streak that started in Week 3 of the 2012 season.