Good bye for Stamps

They deserve plenty of credit for running back Joffrey Reynolds' success but breakdowns close to...

They deserve plenty of credit for running back Joffrey Reynolds' success but breakdowns close to the goal-line have cost the Stampeders at key moments. (Calgary Sun File/Kevin Udahl)

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:07 AM ET

The Calgary Stampeders bid adieu to McMahon Stadium yesterday and left feeling great, not only about a four-day break but about themselves as well.

With a 27-24 victory over the previously undefeated Montreal Alouettes Saturday, the team heads into a bye week and a mini-vacation of sorts.

Head coach Tom Higgins was all smiles in releasing his crew to various parts of North America until Friday, when preparation starts for the rematch in Montreal.

"They really deserve the break," said Higgins.

"What they did, which I was really proud of, was not make it a distraction during the game ... They weren't concentrating on leaving but focused on the game."

The Stamps moved to 5-4 with the victory off the foot of kicker Sandro DeAngelis, who kicked field goals of 52 and 53 yards to tie, then win, the thriller.

The victory guarantees the Stamps will be at least .500 at Labour Day but quarterback Henry Burris has grander ideas.

Although the offence struggled to score early against the Alouettes -- dropped passes hurt the team again -- Burris feels his group is now on a roll.

When big plays were needed in the fourth quarter, his receivers redeemed themselves.

Jeremaine Copeland caught a 24-yard touchdown pass to get within three and Elijah Thurmon made a crucial 20-yard reception to set up the winning field goal.

Thurmon, who had trouble holding onto the ball earlier in the game, leapt to grab the bullet from Burris, then was sent into a backflip by Montreal defensive back Davis Sanchez. Thurmon held onto the ball, which Burris said was a good sign.

"It's huge," Burris said about the momentum.

"For the guys, it's big for us to get our passing game going.

"When they started to stuff Joffrey (Reynolds), we had to come together and get something done.

"In the CFL, you're really only going as far as the passing game will take you. To be able to come through when they held the offensive line intact and make the plays to put us in a position to win, it was really big."

The Alouettes play in Toronto Saturday before facing the Stamps at Molson Stadium Aug. 24, while Calgary is in the middle of three straight home-and-homes.

They split the Roughriders games and, after the Montreal series, the Edmonton Eskimos are on deck with the Labour Day week matchups.

"We want to finish up the middle third of the season with a good record," said Higgins.

"People said if we went 3-3 in the middle third, because of who we are playing, that would be nice.

"We are 2-1 so far. Let's see if we can add to the ante. We play well in Montreal and we have a good feeling going into their stadium."

The Stamps' second bye comes in the final week of the season.

EXTRA POINTS: Stamps LB John Grace, who was scratched Saturday with a slight groin pull, will have to work hard to get back into the lineup. His replacement, Cornelius Anthony, picked up a sack and five tackles in the win over Montreal. Head coach Tom Higgins said Grace could have played if needed but the team wanted to give Anthony another chance. "It could be one of those things where one week somebody is in, the next week the other guy is in," Higgins said. "It was Cornelius' turn. John is not a complainer. When he was told, he didn't mope."


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