Acting earns good

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 10:24 AM ET

Burke Dales put on quite a performance for the Commonwealth Stadium faithful, booming a few punts, catching a pass and ...

"He even gets high marks for acting," said Calgary Stampeders head coach Tom Higgins about his punter.

In a game where Dales would have made the three stars if the Stamps didn't lose 35-26 to the Edmonton Eskimos, the punter played probably his best game in Red and White and showed off his athletic ability in the process.

He was solely responsible for pinning the Eskimos deep in their own zone with punts of 68 and 50 yards to force two safety touches.

Then the Stamps executed an excellent fake punt as Dales rolled out for a perfect pass from linebacker Brian Clark and took it 11 yards for a first down, setting up a major.

But his best play may have come on another punt in the fourth quarter. Eskimos defender Randy Spencer ran into Dales' leg after he booted the ball and the 29-year-old went down, writhing in pain.

Spencer was flagged for a 15-yard penalty and Dales laughed off the hit when he reached the bench.

"I was thinking he's really, really, really hurt," said Higgins. "When he comes back, he said, 'I did get charley horsed.' The guy is taking acting lessons ... If you take a dive, you don't have to do that."

Either way, the move worked, even though Dales did think for a while he may have seriously been hurt.

"He missed my knee by about two inches," said the second-year Stamp.

"I probably doctored it up a little bit. It wasn't as serious as first thought. That's the difference between a five-yard penalty and having to punt the ball again.

"When you get into game-time emotions ... the rivalry is so intense, you want to everything in your power to help out your team. There probably was some acting on my part but you're not supposed to get close to the punter."

For a play, Dales didn't look much like a punter and more like the slotback he was in university. At Concordia, catching a pass for a first down wasn't that uncommon for Dales but this is his first pro reception.

"I've been asking those guys to give me one of those plays where I can get out and run," Dales said. "Something where I can get active ... For them to call that, it bodes well because they have confidence in me."

When Dales looked to be injured, there was a legitimate scare thrown into the Stamps. He punted seven times for a 52.1-yard average and had great hang time all game.


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