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November 25, 2018

D-PENDABLE

EDMONTON – Up on the stage, amidst the taking of turns lifting the big, jug-eared silver chalice to the heavens, the jubilation of a continuing cascade of red-and-white confetti, a group of Stampeders were channelling their inner Michael Jacksons.

“That,” hollered SAM linebacker Jamar Wall over the din, “is called the Grey Cup Breakdance.

“Tonight you’re allowed can do whatever you want. Dance. Run. Do a somersault. Cartwheels. Yell. Scream.

“Have fun. Enjoy.

“We’ve earned it.”

Once again, as has happened often this season, the Stamps were propelled forward in their Grey Cup quest by their stout defence.

Chief among the resistance was Wall, first jarring the ball free from Brad Sinopoli on a 3rd-and-1 at the Calgary four-yard-line with the Redblacks trying to shave their deficit to less than a major score and a shade less than nine minutes remaining.

Then later, the converted DB saving his first interception of the year for the game’s biggest stage, one of three picks of Ottawa QB Trevor Harris.

“The hit felt good, the pick felt good. That’s what’s called blessing upon blessing,” said Wall. “That’s what you’re supposed to do as a vet.

“When it comes down it, will you bet on yourself? I’ll bet on myself every day.”

Middle linebacker Alex Singleton would, too.

“There’s no better feeling in this world,’’ said Singleton . “I’ve sat in this locker-room, dead silent the last two years. And look at this. These boys … I love them. Every single one of them.

“We did it.

“Best defence in the league. From Week One to Week 25, baby. We’re the best.”

Jamar Wall with defensive coordinator DeVone Claybrooks after winning the Grey Cup. (Photo by Candice Wad)

Defensive end Ja’Gared Davis took a moment out from celebrating to remember the late Mylan Hicks, who died in late September of 2016.

“I’m just happy. Ecstatic. I feel best for my team, my brothers. My family back home. And for my late brother Mylan Hicks and his family.

“We’ve been trying to get this done for him for so long. It’s so hard to lose a brother like that. He was like a little brother to me, to all of us. His mom is like an auntie to me so his family is my family.

“Just to get this done for them is a relief, like a burden lifted off my heart.”

Whether in their first Grey Cup or their sixth, like DB Brandon Smith, the joy of victory cannot be measured.

“We’re just out here playing for respect, man,’’ said Smith. “Every time we come to play everybody wants to talk about the other offence, how much power they got, how many points they gonna score.

“But we just fly around. This is more than just a team, this is a family. Everybody asked: ‘You worried about last year?’ And we said: ‘Naw, we’re worried about this year.’ And we showed that today.”

A Redblack offence that put up 46 points in the East final was held to 16, and only one touchdown, on Sunday.

“It’s always sweet,’’ said Wall of his second Grey Cup title. “Always. But it’s definitely sweet when you’ve gotten to three in a row and (then) won. We felt we’ve always left everything out there, didn’t finish.

“With three minutes left, I started yelling: ‘Finish! Finish! Finish!’

“And we did.”

Given the crazy endings of the last two years, nothing was taken for granted.

“You know when I felt safe?’’ asked Davis, with a soft shake of the head.

“When the clock showed zeroes.”