May 31, 2019

Beat Down

Thankfully, the show went on.

And the defending Grey Cup Champion Stamps picked right up where they left off.

Four quarterbacks took turns under centre for the Red & White en route to a 37-1 pre-season drubbing of the visiting Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Bo Levi Mitchell was 3-for-5 for 84 yards, Nick Arbuckle had a TD run and toss and went 8-of-13 with 131 yards, Montell Cozart was 5-of-10 for 122 yards and a major, and Troy Cook rounded out the night with one completion for seven yards on his only attempt.

The smothering smoke that enveloped the city yesterday from the Northern Alberta wildfires had left the game in limbo, but the wind later changed direction and cleared the sky, delaying the 7 p.m. kickoff a half-hour.

After that, it was a night of firsts at McMahon.

Georgina Paull and Emily Clarke became the first female officials to work a CFL game (Click here for more).

It was the first battle as head coaches between brothers Dave and Craig Dickenson.

It was the first time the Stampeders played a game in May in franchise history.

And it was also the first time the Stamps and Riders had played a pre-season tilt at McMahon since 2010, the four most recent tune-up tilts taking place in Regina.

The win gave the Red & White their seventh straight pre-season win over the Riders, and 21st in the previous 27 pre-season outings held between the West Rivals in the last 47 years.

Grey Cup MVP Mitchell played the first two series of the game, the gunslinger coming out and showing off his accuracy early.

He hit Reggie Begelton for a 39-yard pass on his first toss, finding the same target for 26 more yards on his next throw, taking the Stamps down to the Riders 11-yard line.

Markeith Ambles then ran for three yards before being upended, followed by a Mitchell pass just above the fingertips of Juwan Brescacin at the back of the endzone, which brought Rene Paredes in for a field-goal boot.

After a quick Roughriders possession, Mitchell threw another precision toss – this time to Ambles for 19 yards – to start Calgary’s second possession.

Terry Williams had a short run before an incomplete Mitchell pass to Eric Rogers, bringing in Rob Maver for a long punt that pinned Saskatchewan deep in their zone.

After a three-and-out for Saskatchewan on the next series, Nick Arbuckle came in at QB and hooked up with Brescacin on a 38-yard throw to start a long possession.

Unable to score, a pass interference call gave Calgary a fresh set of downs. They were again stymied by the Roughriders defence, but an offside call gave them three more cracks, with Arbuckle running for the major.

Global player Oscar Hugo Silva missed the extra point but later got a single on a kickoff.

The second quarter was back and forth, before Arbuckle finished off a late six-play, 48-yard drive by hooking up with Griff Whalen with just 2:22 left to play in the half for the TD.

Saskatchewan’s Felix Menard-Briere missed a field-goal as time ran down but got a point.

The Roughriders were looking for the endzone in the third quarter to try and drag themselves back into it but Gump Hayes picked off a David Watford pass to end the threat.

Gabe Ferraro kicked a 26-yard field-goal later in the quarter to make it a 19-point lead for the homeside.

Cozart hooked up with David Braverman on a 14-yard pass in the final frame, the receiver then running for another 41 yards to start a five-play, 94-yard drive that was capped off by a three-yard TD run by Gerald Holmes.

Ferraro added a 32-yard field-goal before Anthony Gore picked off Ty Gangi with less than two minutes to play, running it back 34 yards for a major.

Next up, the Stamps hit the road for their final pre-season tilt, taking on the Lions in Vancouver Friday.