October 18, 2023

Something Special

The Stamps special-teams were sensational in their season-saving win last Friday.

Calgary collected a 26-19 victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders to put themselves in the driver’s seat of their own playoff destiny with two games remaining.

A large part of the win was their special-teams coverage units, who flew down the field all night corralling one of the top returners in the league, Mario Alford.

Special teams coordinator and assistant head coach Mark Kilam was impressed with his group.

“The guys did a nice job in coverage,” he said. “I always stress it’s all 12 of us together. Cody (Grace) set the tone by really controlling the game with his kick type and everybody else did a nice job.”

Rookie Stampeder Kelon Thomas was a beast in the victory. He had three straight special-teams tackles at one point and added a pass knock-down on defence as well. Kilam says it’s been a learning curve for the young rookie but he continues to get better each week.

“I was really proud of him,” Kilam said. “He got the helmet in the locker-room after the game. He’s a guy that was really as raw as he could be coming from junior football and he’s taken strides each and every week and has put work in. He had to learn some lessons the hard way but it was really nice to go out and watch him perform.”

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HIGHLIGHTS: Calgary 26, Saskatchewan 19
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Adarius Taylor, a veteran of six NFL seasons before signing with the Stamps a few weeks ago, forced a game-changing fumble on a punt return that led directly to Calgary’s first touchdown of the night. He received top marks for his performance in his Red and White debut, earning the highest score of the week from Pro Football Focus’ Top CFL Performers list with a grade of 91.5.

“First and foremost, Adarius Taylor is a pro,” explained Kilam. “He’s got 88 games of NFL experience. You can throw on some of his NFL film and he’s doing the exact same thing up here. Similar techniques, different rules, different field but the guy is a football player and he showed up on game day.”

With the win, the Stampeders need either one win in their last two games and the Riders to lose to Toronto this week in their final game of the season or they can win both games and make the playoffs as the third seed in the West.

Kilam says they have a good game plan in place to make sure they are successful.

“We’ve got to get after it,” he said. “We have a plan in place of what we want to do and the type of game we want to play. It’s building on the positives from last week and trying to eliminate some of the things we didn’t do as well and just go out and get after it.”

The Stamps take on the BC Lions in Vancouver Friday at 8 p.m. MTN.