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The Stampeders were victorious in their pre-season debut on Tuesday evening with a 23-18 triumph at McMahon Stadium over the visiting BC Lions.
“I’ve worked them quite hard for training camp,” said head coach Dave Dickenson as he addressed the media moments after the final whistle. “I felt like because we have the two games in the first week that I’m not going to get a ton of work here these next five days. So I worked them hard and I knew they were tired and I was certainly impressed that we had great effort. But I think we slowed up and I think you could tell that we took training camp and really worked them hard. That’s something for me to look at for next year but to come out with a win I still think is good.”
Second-year quarterback Andrew Buckley got the start for the Stamps, throwing for 59 yards and completing six of his eight attempts. Mitchell Gale took his turn under centre in the second quarter before giving way to Ricky Stanzi with fewer than five minutes to go in the third. Reigning CFL MOP Bo Levi Mitchell was given the night off.
“I think there’s probably a lot of areas to improve for all three of them,” Dickenson explained when asked about the play of his three pivots. “But there were some good passes there and they had good command of the huddle and didn’t take any time-counts. So there is still a lot of positives.”
Leading the way for Calgary on the defensive side of the ball, DB Patrick Levels recorded five tackles, defensive lineman Cordarro Law and linebacker Jameer Thurman each had two sacks and Joel Ross and Marvin Ross – of no relation – combined for two interceptions.
In terms of special-teams play, punter Rob Maver pinned the Lions inside their own 10-yard line on three separate occasions.
“The thing I was most disappointed with was the amount of penalties on special teams in the kicking game,” offered Dickenson, after witnessing his squad commit 12 infractions for a total of 104 yards. “But I think the effort was great and BC rallied on us but we were able to hold on. Winning is always a good thing.”
As for the visitors, who rotated in four quarterbacks throughout the evening, running back Josh Harris impressed by tallying nine rushes for 78 yards including a 38-yard trip to pay dirt. Maurice Morgan led to BC receiving corps with three grabs for 54 yards and a score of his own.
When the showdown came to a close, the Stampeders had won both the time of possession and turnover battles en route to their five-point triumph.
Next up for Calgary is their second and final pre-season meeting this upcoming Sunday, June 11 which goes against the Edmonton Eskimos at Commonwealth Stadium. The action gets underway live on TSN at 5 p.m. MT.