Tricks a treat

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:53 AM ET

MONTREAL -- The Calgary Stampeders creativity in playcalling is starting to match that of its receiving corps' TD celebrations.

It's about time.

Both were on prominent display last night at Molson Stadium during a convincing 41-23 victory over the Montreal Alouettes.

Calgary head coach Tom Higgins showed plenty of guts in letting special teams co-ordinator Craig Dickenson try three trick plays, which were all executed perfectly -- although the first one was called back for a penalty.

They didn't rely on just that, though, as the offensive playbook was emptied to move the ball against the best defence in the CFL.

Two weeks ago, Higgins called a last-second victory over the Alouettes at McMahon Stadium "dramatical."

This one could be "creatical" as Higgins let offensive co-ordinator Steve Buratto and Dickenson use their wackiest designs against the Als.

"I've always told the players I'm not a gambler," Higgins said. "But if something presents itself and the odds are in your favour, we'll go with it.

"Craig did an excellent job. That was as well-coached of a game as I've seen in a long time."

The first fake came early when Sandro DeAngelis was lining up for a field goal. Holder Brett Ralph instead pitched the ball to a crossing Wes Cates, who rumbled 38 yards and dove into the endzone.

However, the Stamps were flagged for having an ineligible receiver for reasons Higgins described as too complicated to explain in one night.

The touchdown came off the board but the Stamps didn't stop there.

In the second quarter, Brian Clark took the direct snap on a punt and the linebacker showed some deft moves scampering 29 yards for a first down.

The play led to a field goal and, more importantly, kept the Als offence off the field for an extended period.

To open the second half, DeAngelis did a short kickoff and Cates recovered the ball.

Higgins was fired by the Eskimos in part for a punt fake gone wrong in Edmonton two years ago in the West Semifinal against Henry Burris and the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Calling three fakes in one game takes guts and it's clear Higgins has plenty, although he doesn't term it that way.

"We like to think the odds are 80-20 in our favour when we do that," Higgins said. "They just seemed to work for us."

All the plays caught the Als napping. One would expect the home side to get wise after one but Higgins saw something about the Als that made him think otherwise.

He put his confidence in Dickenson's designs and it paid off.

Buratto came up with great calls, himself. The Stamps used a reverse which Wes Cates ran for 64 yards in the third quarter.

Then they used a double reverse to spring Ken-Yon Rambo free for a 36-yard play on the next drive. Sprinkled throughout was a mix of spread formations and crossing routes.

"Steve did a beautiful job," Higgins said. "That was a well-coached game by all our co-ordinators. It was a good as it can get."

Finally, the Stamps coaching staff is as imaginative its receiving corps is with its touchdown celebrations and two beauties were used last night.

To honour Montreal's famous gentleman's clubs, Rambo rode the goalpost like a dancer.

Then Copeland straddled the endzone marker with the rest of his group behind him in a mock bobsled run.

The group went side to side to emulate turns and even put their heads down in unison.

Suddenly, the Stamps are playing like a team determined to reach the finish line first.


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