Stamps in the zone

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:16 AM ET

With McMahon Stadium turned partially into a Green Zone, the Calgary Stampeders decided it was finally time to get going offensively.

About a third of the park was filled with Roughriders fans last night but they went home upset as the Stamps offence awoke from its three-game slumber to beat Saskatchewan 23-7.

The difference between this contest and the one in Regina a week ago was when quarterback Henry Burris led his group into the Roughies' zone, the Stamps capitalized with three touchdowns.

Burris hit David Allen on a five-yarder, Nik Lewis for 14 yards and running back Joffrey Reynolds ran in a score from six yards out as the Stamps dominated that phase of the game.

"Scoring touchdowns makes a big difference," said Reynolds, who finished with 93 yards along the ground and another 58 on two catches.

"We ran the ball well and caught it well. It was key for us. Henry made good decisions.

"Defensively, we did a good job to limit them to field goals."

Led by defensive back Coby Rhinehart, who had an interception and a sack, Calgary's defence pressured quarterback Kerry Joseph and shut down the Roughriders offence when it mattered.

Although their yardage was nearly the same as Calgary's, Saskatchewan settled for two Luka Congi field goals and a single as their only points.

Defensive lineman Rahim Abdullah set the tone on the second play from scrimmage, drilling Joseph to the turf and creating a fumble.

The Stamps also forced two turnovers on downs as the 'Riders came nowhere near the endzone.

"A solid effort," said head coach Tom Higgins. "I love the fact we were opportunistic and we were able to create turnovers.

"We scored early and that was a real relief for the team. They lined up and played within themselves.

"I truly believe the Roughriders are a good football team. They haven't found their groove yet and maybe we have something to do with that.

"Our defence came up big."

For the first time in weeks, the Stamps offence wasn't terrible inside the opponent's 25-yard line.

After the opening turnover, Burris led the team downfield and hooked up with Allen for an early lead.

The running back, who had missed six games with a knee injury, was held in check on returns but was pleased to make the touchdown grab on one of his only offensive plays.

"I'm happy to be healthy, happy to be back and happy to get a win," Allen said. "I wish I could have helped more but I'm happy with what I did."

Burris finished 21-of-33 passing for 255 yards but with two interceptions, neither of which ended up hurting the club.

With the win, the Stamps snap a three-game slide to get back to .500 at 4-4, while the 'Riders fall to 3-4.

The Stamps responded well to city-wide pressure for this game and now head into back-to-back meetings with the undefeated Montreal Alouettes.

"There's a very good group of young men in the locker-room who take pride in what they do," Higgins said. "They didn't panic but the challenge we had as coaches was to alleviate the pressure.

"We had a great week and it showed on the field."


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