July 8, 2005
A special deliveryStamps secure first win
By DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun
WINNIPEG -- The Stampeders needed a special effort on special teams last night and Nik Lewis provided it, scoring the game's only touchdown when the offence couldn't.
Lewis launched himself over Winnipeg Blue Bombers blocker Shawn Gallant, got his hand on Jon Ryan's punt, recovered the loose ball and darted 10 yards into the endzone to open a 7-0 lead just two minutes into the game.
The Stampeders prevailed for a 21-15 win, evening their CFL record to 1-1.
"Hey, I'm trying to go (Continental Basketball Association) in the off-season," Lewis kiddingly boasted of his jumping prowess. "I can dunk.
"I popped right over (him) and made the play."
Rookie placekicker Sandro DeAngelis provided the rest of the offence, booting field goals of 21, 27, 39, 41 yards. DeAngelis is now a perfect 7-of-7 this season off the tee.
Stamps starting quarterback Henry Burris wasn't as precise.
The No. 1 pivot completed 16 of 33 passes while also serving up an interception to Bombers DB Justin Coleman.
The Stampeders had a couple of first-quarter drives end on dropped balls and wayward throws.
A six-play drive in the first quarter using running back Joffrey Reynolds -- who picked up 36 yards on three carries and rushed for 85 yards on 16 carries on the night -- stalled at the Bombers 12 when Ken-Yon Rambo stumbled and fell down at the goal-line as the ball whizzed past him.
Working into a brisk wind in the second quarter, a 24-yard reception by Lewis drove the ball into Winnipeg territory.
But the drive died on a Burris pass thrown behind Rambo.
Another second-quarter series sputtered when Jeremaine Copeland failed to grab a ball that hit him in the hands while running across the middle.
The pivot said the timing will come.
"It's stuff that we're working through," said Burris, a free agent acquired in the off-season expected to rack up huge numbers.
"We just shot ourselves in the foot in too many situations tonight and we have to not continue it. We were up and down, up and down. It wasn't as consistent as we wanted it to be but we did what it took down the stretch to get the victory."
Lewis finished with five receptions for 96 yards and said the Stamps lacked touch.
"I wouldn't say we struggled, we just didn't finish," Lewis said.
Despite the lack of production, the offence protected the football with Burris throwing just one pick after the team committed five turnovers in a season-opening loss to Toronto last week.
The Stampeders defence, powered by a persistent pass rush from linebacker John Grace, sacked Bombers starter Tee Martin three times in the opening 30 minutes.
Brian Clark was also unstoppable, twice tackling Bombers running back Charles Roberts in the backfield.
Head coach Tom Higgins liked what he saw from the defence.
"Different players came up at different times and we went in ebbs and flows and all of the sudden we were in for a tough football game," Higgins said.
"Winnipeg played a tough football game and the wind really was a factor."
Troy Westwood kicked field goals of 37, 44 and 47 yards while also booting a 50-yard single.
Bombers punter Jon Ryan conceded a safety punting into the wind in the first quarter while also connecting on singles of 78 and 80 yards with the wind.