June 14, 2008
Familiar refrainEskimos head to Calgary for annual preseason beating
By JONATHAN HUNTINGTON, SUN MEDIA
CALGARY -- It has become a spring ritual for the Edmonton Eskimos to get pounded by the Calgary Stampeders in a preseason game.
For the third time in as many years, the Stamps hammered the Green and Gold last night in the first exhibition game of the season.
This time it was a 39-14 shellacking in front of an estimated 15,000 at McMahon Stadium. In the last three springs, Calgary has outscored Edmonton 95-20 in three pre-season tilts.
But this year's beat-down needs to be taken in context, as Edmonton left five starters in their defensive front seven at home - which partially explains why Calgary ran for 288 yards.
"We came down here and said we were going to evaluate and we left about three-quarters of our defensive line back home," said Edmonton head coach Danny Maciocia, who left D-linemen Fred Perry, Dario Romero and Adam Braidwood off the roster.
And on offence, No. 1 pivot Ricky Ray (healthy scratch) was dearly missed as Stefan LeFors didn't generate a point in six first-half drives.
LeFors did work with the first-string offensive line but didn't have the club's top two receivers - Jason Tucker and Kamau Peterson - at his disposal. Promising rookie receiver Kelly Campbell was also scratched with a quad injury.
In two quarters, the left-handed quarterback completed just six of 14 passes for 60 yards.
"We could have helped him out more with our receivers," said Maciocia. "But he had the ability to make things happen with his feet"
Jason Maas came off the bench to start the second half and looked much sharper, driving the team down the field to the doorstep of the Stamps end zone.
But that first drive of the third quarter ended when rookie Clarence Moore dropped a sure touchdown pass on a third-down gamble in the red zone.
The Stamps proceeded to march the length of the field for another major - this one a nine-yard touchdown run by third-string quarterback Barrick Nealy.
That made it 28-0 with four minutes left in the third quarter. Calgary had 421 total yards at that point compared to 158 for the visitors.
The Stamps built their 21-0 first half lead through two touchdowns (a Henry Burris nine-yard run and a Ken Simonton three-yard run), two Sandro DeAngelis field goals and a single.
All four pivots played for the Stamps - each taking a quarter - and each produced at least one scoring drive.
By the time Ben Sankey hit Chris Jackson for a 27-yard major late in the fourth quarter, Calgary had 550 total offensive yards to Edmonotn's paltry 176.
Rookie Tristan Jackson provided the only Edmonton highlight on the next play by returning a kickoff 92 yards for the club's first special teams return touchdown since 2005.
But other than that, there was very little positive news for the Green and Gold to discuss on their bus ride home late last night.
The make-shift defensive line - which included sophomores Michael-Jean Louis and Isaac Keys and rookies Tyler Clutts, Montez Murphy - was ineffective.
While the first-string offensive line protected the Edmonton quarterbacks, there was very little running attack.