Stampeders return to Grey Cup with 32-28 win over Edmonton Eskimos

The Stampeders will face the Toronto Argonauts next Sunday in Ottawa for the title

The Calgary Stampeders will get their shot at Grey Cup redemption.

Calgary advanced to the CFL’s championship game for a second straight year Sunday by downing the visiting Edmonton Eskimos 32-28 in the West Division final.

The Stampeders, whose 13-4-1 regular-season record was the league’s best, will face the Toronto Argonauts next Sunday in Ottawa for the title.

The Argonauts (9-9) beat the Saskatchewan Roughriders 25-21 in Sunday’s East Division final.

After posting a 15-2-1 record in 2016, Calgary lost last year’s Grey Cup in a massive upset. The Stampeders were beaten 39-33 in overtime by the Ottawa Redblacks (8-9-1).

“Last year was a success, but it didn’t mean a lot when you can’t finish,” Stampeder head coach Dave Dickenson said.

“Winning the West is not going to be enough. If we can’t finish the deal and get the job done against a great opponent, well-coached, it’s going to feel hollow again.”

The Stampeders appear in their fifth Grey Cup in a decade with previous wins in 2008 and 2014.

Calgary had lost three in a row heading into Sunday’s game, but the Stampeders recovered their winning form. The defence held the CFL’s No. 1 offence to 18 points for three quarters.

Calgary’s ground game clicked with running backs Jerome Messam and Roy Finch each scoring a touchdown and combining for 152 rushing yards.

Finch, a finalist for the CFL’s best special teams player this year, totalled 233 yards in returns, receiving and rushing.

Quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell threw a touchdown pass to Marquay McDaniel.

Mitchell, who has played through an undisclosed injury in his throwing arm for much of the season, completed 20-of-32 passes for 228 yards.

It was a harder road to the championship game in 2017 for the Stampeders and their quarterback.

“It means the world to me,” Mitchell said. “It’s what I play this game for. I expect to be back there every single year and do what I can to make sure I lead my team to the Grey Cup every single year.

“We did what we did in the regular season, but obviously coming into that three-game losing streak we had a little bit of desperation going into this game, and doubt from a lot of people.”

Quarterback Mike Reilly, C.J. Gable and Derel Walker scored touchdowns for the Eskimos, who finished third in the division at 12-6.

Reilly, the West nominee for the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player award, was 23 for 38 in passing for 348 yards.

Kicker Sean Whyte missed field-goal tries from 42 and 30 yards, but made them from 34 and 20 yards.

Trailing by a converted touchdown, the Eskimos chose to kick a 20-yard field goal with one minute 43 seconds remaining instead of gambling on third and four.

Calgary punted with 24 seconds remaining. Edmonton’s Jamill Smith fumbled the ball on the return and the Stampeders recovered to close out the win.

“We have faith in our whole football team that the defence was going to make the stop, the special teams were going to get the ball back for us and the offence would do their job and go down and score,” Edmonton head coach Jason Maas said.

“Ultimately it didn’t turn out that way.”

Messam stretched over the goal-line to finish a 14-yard carry for a 30-15 lead in the third quarter.

The Eskimos scored on their first two possessions of the game, but the Stampeders countered with three straight touchdowns in the second quarter for a 22-15 halftime lead.

What was a gentle breeze at kickoff accelerated to swirling gusts over 30 kilometres per hour in the second half at McMahon Stadium, where the announced attendance was 30,116.

The wind altered the trajectory of Whyte’s 30-yard attempt in the third quarter as the ball struck the upright and landed dead.

Finch dipsy doodled 50 yards to the end zone and Messam’s three-yard carry added a two-point convert with 22 seconds to go in the first half.

Marken Michel capped a 41-yard drive taking the hand off from Mitchell and scampering 13 yards to score at 11:54. Calgary scored on the first drive of second quarter when Mitchell threw a 10-yard pass to McDaniel.

Reilly connected with an uncovered Walker for a 69-yard touchdown at 8:44 of the first quarter. On a third-down gamble, Gable punched the ball in from eight yards to score on Edmonton’s first drive.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Drugs, stolen bike and cheques seized during RCMP search in Castlegar

Two men were taken into custody following the search warrant

Morning start: This is the fastest growing city in the Kootenays

Here is your Kootenays’ morning start for Monday, May 25

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Mountain Pineapple defers application for new cannabis store in Rossland

The application was originally going to be reviewed by city council on May 19

Morning start: Rossland is named after this person

Here is your Kootenays’ morning start for Friday, May 22

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

COVID-19: B.C. park reservations surge as campgrounds reopen

Keep trying, many sites not reservable, George Heyman says

B.C. residents can now reserve a provincial campsite for a stay starting June 1

Campsite reservations will only be available to British Columbians

Cullen commission into money laundering in British Columbia resumes today

Inquiry was called amid growing concern that illegal cash was helping fuel real estate, luxury car and gambling

Bike shops busier than ever, but owners worry about stock supply issues

Uptick in cyclists brings new challenges for shops

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Most Read