Stamps hold tough against scrappy Rid­ers

Edmonton Sun - - SPORTS - DANNY AUSTIN [email protected]­media.com @Dan­nyaustin_9

CAL­GARY — The Cal­gary Stam­ped­ers con­trol their own des­tiny.

Win their fi­nal three games, and the Stam­ped­ers will fin­ish in first place in the CFL’S West Di­vi­sion.

The Stamps (10-5) earned them­selves that op­por­tu­nity by sur­viv­ing a rough-and-tum­ble West Di­vi­sion clas­sic.

Up against a Saskatchew­an Roughrid­ers (10-5) team that was lead­ing the di­vi­sion com­ing into Fri­day night’s matchup, the Stam­ped­ers played like a team that had been pre­par­ing all week for a heavy­weight fight and came out with a 30-28 win.

The Stamps were with­out their top of­fen­sive line­man, Derek Dennis. His part­ner-in­crime on the o-line, Shane Bergman, was ruled out of the game at kick­off, too, although he even­tu­ally re­turned.

The Stamps also lost Tre Rober­son, ar­guably the best bound­ary cor­ner in the CFL, on their first drive, and had start­ing de­fen­sive end Chris Casher dis­qual­i­fied near the end of the first half.

Stamps run­ning back Ante Mi­lanovic-litre had the best game of his ca­reer, rush­ing for 43 yards. Hergy May­ala con­tin­ued his re­cent rise and had two touch­downs. Ja­mari Gil­bert filled in for Rober­son hero­ically — the whole de­fence was out­stand­ing, re­ally.

Cal­gary quar­ter­back Bo Levi Mitchell did ev­ery­thing that could have been asked of him, too, com­plet­ing 23-of-29 passes for 298 yards.

The Rid­ers opened the scor­ing with a punt-sin­gle on their open­ing drive. They eas­ily could have scored a touch­down two plays ear­lier, but QB Cody Fa­jardo over­threw to Shaq Evans in the end zone.

The Stam­ped­ers then marched down­field on their next drive and took the lead when Rene Pare­des hit the first of his three field goals.

On their en­su­ing kick­off, things got weird.

Pare­des’ kick­off went short, and Rid­ers re­turner mis­read the tra­jec­tory of the ball. It bounced off his hands and the Stam­ped­ers’ Ja­mari Gil­bert re­acted quickly, re­triev­ing the ball and tak­ing off down­field for a 28-yard touch­down, the first of his ca­reer.

The next time Cal­gary got the ball, Mitchell badly mis­judged a pass and threw an in­ter­cep­tion right into the hands of the Rid­ers’ Nick Mar­shall, who was gone as soon as he caught the ball for a 62-yard TD.

Nei­ther team had scored a touch­down, but it was 10-8 less than 10 min­utes into the game.

The Rid­ers then ben­e­fited from a ques­tion­able spear­ing penalty on Lorenzo Jerome and gave Wil­liam Pow­ell the ball on the next play to punch it in for a three-yard score.

The Rid­ers would add a field goal to make it 20-18 at half­time.

Af­ter half­time, the pace didn’t let up.

Mitchell found May­ala for their sec­ond touch­down connection of the game nine min­utes into the third quar­ter, and the teams pro­ceeded to ex­change field goals un­til Fa­jardo found Wil­liam Pow­ell for a 34-yard strike with 2:38 left on the clock.

Al CHAREST/POST­MEDIA

The Stam­ped­ers’ Terry Wil­liams is tack­led by the Roughrid­ers’ Der­rick Mon­crief last night in Cal­gary.

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