Stam­ped­ers get big scare

Not from Als, but from see­ing star RB Cor­nish go down af­ter hit

SundayXtra - - SPORTS FOOTBALL - By Donna Spencer

CAL­GARY — The CFL’s mar­quee player gave the Cal­gary Stam­ped­ers a real scare in their 29-8 win over the Mon­treal Alou­ettes to open the sea­son Satur­day.

Jon Cor­nish lay face down on the field in the fourth quar­ter af­ter the Stam­ped­ers run­ning back took a high, hard hit on the run from Alou­ettes line­backer Kyries He­bert.

It looked grim for the CFL’s leading rusher and most out­stand­ing player in 2013 when an am­bu­lance was sum­moned onto the field.

But an im­me­di­ate trip to the hospi­tal wasn’t re­quired as the 29-year- old from New West­min­ster, B.C., got up and walked to the club­house ac­com­pa­nied by med­i­cal staff.

“I was knocked out,” Cor­nish said fol­low­ing the game. “I’m go­ing to have to go through con­cus­sion pro­to­col 100 per cent.

“You’d ex­pect me to feel a lit­tle bit worse, but I’m pretty good. I can re­mem­ber what hap­pened be­fore and im­me­di­ately af­ter.”

What hap­pened a few min­utes be­fore that play was Cor­nish run­ning for an 18-yard touch­down off a di­rect snap to pad Cal­gary’s lead to 26-1.

The Stam­ped­ers posted the CFL’s best record last sea­son at 14- 4 and were quick out of the gates to start 2014.

An open­ing-day starter for the first time in his CFL ca­reer, quar­ter­back Bo Levi Mitchell was ef­fi­cient throw­ing for 313 yards, a pair of touch­downs and zero in­ter­cep­tions.

The Texan com­pleted 16 of 25 passes. He threw out of Cal­gary’s end zone to Mau­rice Price for a 102-touch­down pass in the open­ing quar­ter and tossed to Anthony Parker for an­other ma­jor in the fourth.

Rene Pare­des kicked a pair of field goals and punter Rob Maver con­trib­uted two punt sin­gles in front of an­nounced at­ten­dance of 26,135 at McMa­hon Sta­dium. Cor­nish had 67 yards on 14 car­ries be­fore leav­ing the game.

“I thought we played very phys­i­cal on both sides of the foot­ball and spe­cial teams, we played fast,” Stam­peder coach and gen­eral man­ager John Hufnagel said. “I think we took a first right step go­ing in the di­rec­tion we want to go. A lot of work to be done though.”

Mon­treal, 8-10 last sea­son, have large wrin­kles to iron out on both sides of the foot­ball.

Troy Smith’s sea­son de­but for the Alou­ettes marked the first time



since 1999 a quar­ter­back other than Anthony Calvillo was Mon­treal’s open­ing-day starter. The CFL’s all-time pass­ing leader re­tired in Jan­uary af­ter 16 sea­sons with the Alou­ettes.

Smith, a for­mer Heis­man Tro­phy win­ner with Ohio State, com­pleted 17 of 40 passes for 127 yards. He was sacked four times and in­ter­cepted once.

Sean Whyte’s punt sin­gle was Mon­treal’s only point un­til full­back Steven Lum­bala dove for a one-yard ma­jor on the fi­nal play of the game.

A gaffe by Mon­treal’s sec­ondary left Price open for his touch­down as the Als had two de­fend­ers on Cal­gary re­ceiver Jeff Fuller.

“I don’t feel good at all,” Smith said. “There’s a whole dif­fer­ent feel when you leave the field af­ter a week’s work of prepa­ra­tion and noth­ing works.

“You def­i­nitely have to look yourself in the mir­ror and you have to un­der­stand that things aren’t go­ing to go the ex­act ideal way that you want them to all the time.

“You’ve got to go back to the draw­ing board and ac­cept the Cal­gary Stam­ped­ers played a great game to­day. They game-planned and they paid also, and they made plays.”

For­mer NFL star re­ceiver Chad John­son had two catches for 20 yards in his CFL de­but.

“I’ve got a long way to go, man,” John­son said. “With this be­ing my first time ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a real live game with the bul­lets fly­ing, the level of com­pe­ti­tion is re­ally not that far off from the NFL and the speed of the game is equiv­a­lent.”

He­bert was slapped with a ma­jor foul and ejected for his hit on Cor­nish. Cal­gary par­layed Mon­treal’s 25-yard penalty into an­other touch­down as Mitchell threw to Parker in the end zone.

Cor­nish says he’s yet to be di­ag­nosed with a con­cus­sion in his ca­reer.

— The Cana­dian Press


Mon­treal Alou­ettes quar­ter­back Troy Smith heaves a pass as Cal­gary’s Charleston Hughes closes in.

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