September 2, 2019


This day, of all days, is a day when special players do special things to etch themselves into the imagination of the fan base; embed themselves on the heart of a city; weave themselves into the fabric of a franchise.

Think Flutie.

Think Garcia.

Think Pitts.

Think A.J.

Think Nik.

Think Cornish.

Think Mitchell.

And 10 catches for 138 yards, a touchdown along with a two-point convert qualifies, under any degree of scrutiny, as special.

“I agree,’’ Bo Levi Mitchell is saying, standing on the McMahon Stadium carpet in bright late afternoon/early Labour Day evening sunshine. “And Reggie’s on his way.

“He’s got the ability to have a pretty damn high ceiling. The talent, the athleticism … those are beyond question.

“Now it’s about working on those Marquay McDaniel-type details. Being savvy in your routes, understanding coverages, knowing why and when I’m coming to you.

“When Reggie continues to add that to his game … man. Like that touchdown catch – his route didn’t look anything like the way he ran it at all. It was just him knowing: ‘Hey, I’m cover-zero. I’m the fastest guy on the field. If I can slip this guy (linebacker Monshadrik Hunter ) and get anywhere where I’m supposed to be, Bo will put the ball up for me to find.’

“And that’s what happened.

“When you don’t have to communicate that to a guy, well, you’re on your way to reaching a stage that’s pretty special.”

Forget Airbnb listings on Trivago or Expedia. Calgary’s got its own site, AirB&B – as in Begelton&Bo.

Back in the saddle after a nearly two-month injury-mandated layoff, Mitchell looked as if he’d never been away on Monday afternoon, tossing for 263 yards in a comprehensive 25-9 trimming of the Edmonton Eskimos.

His favourite target? Why, Reggie Begelton, who has over the past two starts, in collaboration first with Nick Arbuckle and now the reigning MOP, contributed 18 snares for a hefty 311 yards and five TDs to the cause.

“In order to become a star you have to have the resume,’’ says Begelton. “I’m just starting my resume.

“My biggest thing is that I want to keep it going. I want to keep the consistency going. I’m not the type of person to get complacent.

“This is my third year and my first Labour Day Classic. I know what this means to the city. So of course you want to play well on days like this, in games like this.

“I just care about doing my job. Not about stats. If I can do that, my job, and we continue to string together Ws, I’m a happy guy.

“And having Bo back feels good. Feels right.”

One of the key moments of a result that takes the Stamps to 6-4, undoubtedly, was Mitchell’s 14-yard alley-oop touchdown toss to Begelton to open up a two-score, 15-6 lead.

“I go against Reggie a lot in practice,” marvels SAM linebacker Jamar Wall. “And he’s always talking to me: ‘How can I do this better? How can I improve here.’ This is someone who works on his craft. You gotta love that.

“He’s a bigger guy, a stockier guy, but his speed is just … off the charts.

“Man, he’s like one of those those jets flying overhead before the game today, every Labour Day. Just … zoom!

“I love those jets.

“And I love Reggie.”

Indeed, if any one word could sum up the Calgary performance that has further congested the West Division waters, ‘comprehensive’ might best fit the bill.

The Stampeder defence tackled like a gang of demons and limited the league’s most prolific pitcher, Trevor Harris, averaging 348 yards passing per outing, to just 216 through the air, and only a single completion over 20 yards. Symbolic of their dogged defiance was the knock-down by DB DeShaun Amos of a third-down, end-zone pass intended for Ricky Collins with only 2:54 remaining that iced the outcome for the Stamps.

Receiving a shot at tailback, Ka’Deem Carey, meanwhile, shone, bulldozing and pinballing his way to 143 yards and a spiffy 8.3 average.

The special teams were solid.

And then, naturally enough, never to be underestimated are unique qualities that the return of Mitchell injects into the attack.

“Bo was very comfortable,’’ critiqued boss Dave Dickenson. “He got hit but he was able to keep making throws. I thought we were pretty balanced, though, which helped. The offensive line did a nice job. But it’s nice having him back in there.

“I think it’s key for him to mentally overcome a hurdle. There’s gonna be some rough patches. We’re not always going to play well. But you love his leadership and he gets it done at crunch-time.”

Calgary’s conquest coupled with Saskatchewan besting the front-running Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Saturday afternoon leaves four outfits within four points of each other.

“I think we’re excited, man,’’ says Mitchell. “It’s fun to make that chase instead of always running from guys nipping at your heels.

“You could see today, the guys are ready to do it.”

The rematch, if anyone needs reminding, goes Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium.

“A good team win,’’ said Dickenson. “I can’t say any of the three phases didn’t play well.

“But we all understand we’ll have to play better to win on Saturday.

“This is a building block. We’ll see what the next step is, though. Do you step back or do you keep climbing?”