Two quarterbacks with something to prove spurred the Calgary Stampeders to a 41-21 win over the B.C. Lions on Friday.
With Kevin Glenn and Drew Tate staging an internal competition, Calgary’s offence wasn’t sitting back. The Stampeders built a 34-0 lead by early in the second quarter before the Lions responded.
Malik Jackson, Maurice Price, Nik Lewis and Corey Mace scored touchdowns for the hosts in front of an announced crowd of 27,014. Lewis reached 100 receptions and 10 touchdown catches for the season, which are career highs for the slotback.
Calgary defensive end Anwar Stewart had a big night with four of Calgary’s eight sacks, as well as a pass knockdown in the Lions’ red zone. Stampeder kicker Rene Paredes contributed four field goals in the win, which was Calgary’s first this season against the Lions after a pair of losses.
With 84 yards on the ground Friday, Calgary’s Jon Cornish is 46 away from Norm Kwong’s record for the most rushing yards in a single season by a Canadian running back (1,437).
B.C.’s Geroy Simon had a touchdown catch for the Lions in his first game back after sitting out three with a hamstring injury. Tim Brown ran a punt return back 55 yards for a major and Akeen Foster had a scoring catch for the Lions.
Reilly was sacked four times and completed just 60 per cent of his passes in the first half. But his touchdowns throws of three and eight yards to Foster and Simon respectively over the final three minutes of the opening half breathed life back into the Lions.
Brown’s punt runback for a major at 12:59 of the third quarter further ate into Calgary’s lead, but Paredes field goals from 37 and 46 yards in the fourth kept the hosts comfortably ahead.
On a frightening play in the fourth quarter, Price slid head-first into the sideline heater on B.C.’s side of the field when pushed out of bounds by Byron Parker. Price was able to walk to Calgary’s training facilities for treatment and left the game with over 100 receiving yards for the first time in his career.
A Paredes field goal from 22 yards at 8:13 of the second quarter, plus Calgary third-stringer Bo Levi Mitchell’s toss to Mace in the end zone at 1:43 padded Calgary’s early lead.
The Stamps were up 24-0 within 10 minutes of the opening kickoff on majors from Price, Jackson and Lewis. Glenn had the ball for Calgary’s first two drives of the game and Stamps were already up 17-0 when Tate got in.
His first series since July 7 was an adventure. Tate was picked off by B.C.’s Ryan Phillips, but got the ball back when teammate Dimitri Tsoumpas recovered Phillips’s fumble on the same play. Tate promptly threw the ball to Lewis for a 44-yard touchdown at the nine-minute mark.
Price ran a lateral pass from Glenn 53 yards to score at 5:10.
On B.C.’s first possession, Malik Jackson sacked Reilly, knocked the ball loose and fell on it in the end zone to score at 3:14. Paredes was good from 46 yards out on Calgary’s opening drive, engineered by Glenn.
The result meant nothing in the CFL standings. Both clubs went into the game knowing their immediate playoff fate.
The Lions (12-5) had already secured first place and the Stampeders (11-6) second in the CFL’s West Division with wins the previous week.
The Stampeders host the division semifinal Nov. 11 at Calgary’s McMahon Stadium. The victor heads to Vancouver to face the Lions in the West final Nov. 18.
Glenn completed 10 of 17 pass attempts for 173, which gave him over 4,000 passing yards for the season, and threw for a touchdown. Tate was 5-for-7 for 68 yards and a touchdown pass. He was intercepted once.
On the other side of the field, Lions backup Mike Reilly got his second career CFL start in Travis Lulay’s absence. Lulay has a sore shoulder and playing him Friday gained B.C. nothing, so the Lions rested him.
Reilly was 19-for-26 in passing for 261 yards and two touchdown passes, but he was sacked eight times. With almost a month until their next meaningful game, B.C.’s game lacked urgency and intensity in the first half.
Calgary’s concludes the regular season Friday in Edmonton after posting a 7-2 record at McMahon this season. The Lions host Saskatchewan next Saturday to close out.