Ralph makes amends

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:27 AM ET

Growing up a Calgary Stampeders fan, Brett Ralph always dreamed of making a huge play at McMahon Stadium on Labour Day.

So when the Stampeders rookie saw the ball coming yesterday with the first down marker in sight, he was ready to pounce.

For the first time in his CFL career, the ball clanked off Ralph's hands to the turf, stalling a drive. The next time the Stamps got the ball, head coach Tom Higgins called Ralph's number again.

This time, there was no mistake. The 23-year-old made the catch and scampered to the endzone for a TD in yesterday's 25-23 loss to the Edmonton Eskimos.

Higgins was happy but not surprised.

"He's a good football player," Higgins said.

"I was pleased that he dropped the pass and we went right back to him and he got in sync."

The 61-yard touchdown was the longest of Ralph's short career. But the University of Alberta product gave credit to fellow receiver Jeremaine Copeland. Lining up on the same side as Copeland, Ralph found himself with more space than usual.

Quarterback Henry Burris was able to read the defence and get Ralph the ball. The receiver did the rest, outrunning a trio of defenders for his second career TD.

"I told Hank a few plays before that there was an opening," Ralph said. "He came to it and it was wide open. Copeland made a great block downfield to get me into the endzone.

"Playing on the same side of the field as Copeland, you get a lot of guys worrying about him. It was one of the positive things we can take from this."

Ralph was nervous about his first Labour Day Classic. His older brother, Brock, returned from the New York Jets in time to join the Esks and there were plenty of friends and family cheering him on.

And little brother shined. Brock Ralph only caught one pass for six yards. Brett snagged four passes for 81 yards and was a big reason the Stamps had the opportunity to tie the game at the end.


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