Stamps get zoned in

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:36 AM ET

You don't need to crunch the numbers to understand the Calgary Stampeders out-played the Saskatchewan Roughriders in Saturday's 53-36 win.

It was the most points scored by the Stamps since a 55-9 victory in Vancouver in 1998 and was the seventh-highest points total in team history.

But a closer look at the game summary suggests the Stamps out-coached the 'Riders, too.

With the game tied 20-20 at the half, Stampeders offensive co-ordinator Steve Buratto and quarterback Henry Burris put their heads together before the high-octane unit shifted gears, racking up 23 unanswered points in the third quarter.

The halftime adjustments revolved around having Burris handle the ball more, running bootlegs while also duping the 'Riders defence with some deceptive fake handoffs to Joffrey Reynolds.

"Henry went out and took full advantage of the fact they were trying to squeeze and take Joffrey away, so Henry hung onto the football," said head coach Tom Higgins. "Eventually they stopped squeezing and what that does is open things up for Joffrey again to pick it on up. It was as simple as that.

"There was an incredible calm in the locker-room and we just said, 'Here is what we are going to do.'

"Defensively, we just needed to start making some plays and we needed to make some two-and-outs and some turnovers, and then the barn door was left open for us."

Reynolds piled up the second-half totals, rushing for 80 yards on 10 second-half carries for a 110-yard night while also scoring a touchdown.

Burris also got into the act, taking off with the ball four times for 44 yards, including a 13-yard TD run.

Burris showed off another side of his arsenal in the second half, taking charge of the game with a composed approach he sometimes lacks.

"He was very confident and calm," Higgins said.

"I've been there before on the sidelines when a quarterback is in a zone, takes command of the game, and he took full command of that football game."

Special teams only had to punt once while also earning a first down on a direct snap to Brian Clark that set up another touchdown.

Burris gave the ball to backup Danny McManus in the fourth quarter and the veteran produced in his first regular-season appearance in Red and White.

The 41-year-old veteran of 17 CFL seasons completed three of five passes for 62 yards while also orchestrating a TD drive.

"It was as important for the rest of the football team as it was for Danny Mac to go on in and continue to move the football," Higgins said.

"He's done it before and we know what he can do, but he hasn't had the opportunity to do it with our guys. Now there's a comfort level. There are very few CFL teams in the position that we're in at quarterback with two people who can pull the trigger and are very much different in styles."

The 3-1 Stamps now find themselves in first place in the CFL West with a short week before facing the winless Tiger-Cats Friday in Hamilton. The Tabbies almost earned their first win of the season in Week 3 in Calgary before Sandro DeAngelis kicked the game-winner with the clock showing zeros.

"We got on a roll (against the 'Riders) but nobody's celebrating," Higgins warned.

"We've got a quick turnaround, we can't dwell on this too long. We're coming up against a team that is going to be very hungry. That said, you still have to savour it any time you win a football game in the fashion we did."


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