Stamps out to end Grey Cup los­ing streak

The Prince George Citizen - - Sports -

The num­bers ap­pear to be in the Cal­gary Stam­ped­ers’ favour ahead of Sun­day’s Grey Cup in Edmonton.

Whether that’s enough to end the team’s los­ing skid in the cham­pi­onship game re­mains to be seen.

The West Di­vi­sion cham­pion Stam­ped­ers led the CFL in vic­to­ries again this sea­son, were sec­ond in points scored and al­lowed the fewest points of all nine teams. How­ever, there is one statis­tic that will be a main talk­ing point all week and it has made this year’s Grey Cup a tough one to pre­dict.

De­spite win­ning the West in 2016 and 2017, Cal­gary is 0-2 in Grey Cup ap­pear­ances over those years.

“I can shrug it off, you guys can’t,” Stam­ped­ers quar­ter­back Bo Levi Mitchell told re­porters after the West fi­nal. “Y’all will bring it up and I un­der­stand that. It’s your job. This is a com­pletely dif­fer­ent team. It’s not a re­match of 2016. It’s not the same Ottawa Red­blacks.

“They’ve got a dif­fer­ent de­fence, dif­fer­ent de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor, dif­fer­ent quar­ter­back. The only thing the same is the two lo­gos.”

Ottawa sur­prised Cal­gary 39-33 in over­time in 2016 in Toronto. The Arg­onauts up­set the Stam­ped­ers 27-24 in last year’s cham­pi­onship at Ottawa.

“Pretty proud of our guys, three straight Cups,” said Cal­gary head coach Dave Dick­en­son. “Prob­lem is if you don’t win one, you don’t feel you’ve ac­com­plished any­thing. You look back and you re­ally have, but it’s not enough.”

The Stam­ped­ers came through at home on Sun­day with a 22-14 vic­tory over the Win­nipeg Blue Bombers. The Red­blacks, who led the East at 11-7, took the di­vi­sion crown with a 46-27 win over the vis­it­ing Hamil­ton Tiger-Cats.

“We be­lieve in our­selves and we knew what we were ca­pa­ble of,” said Ottawa re­ceiver Greg Elling­son. “And I think (Sun­day) we kind of showed every­body else, the doubters, that we are a force to be reck­oned with.”

It will be the fourth time that Ottawa and Cal­gary have met in the Grey Cup. The Stam­ped­ers beat the Ottawa Rough Riders 12-7 in 1948 and Ottawa took the 1968 game by a 24-21 score.

The Stam­ped­ers last won the Grey Cup in 2014 when they beat Hamil­ton 20-16.

Cal­gary swept the 2018 sea­son se­ries against the Red­blacks with a 24-14 win in Week 3 and a 27-3 rout in Week 5. Book­ies have in­stalled the Stam­ped­ers as early four-point favourites with an over-un­der of 53.5 points.

“Look at our ros­ter, there’s hardly any­body here that’s been here for two years,” Dick­en­son said. “There’s been so much turnover. We’ve done it with to­tally dif­fer­ent teams. We’re not the same team. We may have had more ex­plo­sive play­ers, but we’re still a damned good team.

“We’re more than ca­pa­ble of do­ing it. We’ve just got to go up there and do it.”

The CFL was ex­pected to an­nounce a de­ci­sion later Mon­day on the sta­tus of Red­blacks de­fen­sive back Jonathan Rose. He made con­tact with an of­fi­cial dur­ing a side­line scuf­fle on Sun­day.

The weather fore­cast looks rather ap­peal­ing for a late-Novem­ber date at Com­mon­wealth Sta­dium. A high of mi­nus-6 C is ex­pected with a slight chance of pre­cip­i­ta­tion.

CP PHOTO

Cal­gary Stam­ped­ers quar­ter­back Bo Levi Mitchell throws to a re­ceiver dur­ing the CFL West Fi­nal against the Win­nipeg Blue Bombers on Sun­day in Cal­gary.

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