Bombers sink Sankey

IAN BUSBY, CALGARY SUN

, Last Updated: 8:20 AM ET

WINNIPEG -- The talk heading in was whether it could be Sankey or Hanky, but it turned out to be a spanking.

With backup quarterback Ben Sankey going the distance, the Calgary Stampeders were whipped 27-13 by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers last night in front of 23,995 spectators at Canad Inns Stadium.

Head coach Tom Higgins sat No. 1 pivot Henry Burris because of some lingering soreness in the left shoulder he injured a month ago in Hamilton.

Higgins said the 'experiment' didn't work as Sankey made his first CFL start in more than five years.

"We played a second-team quarterback and he didn't play as well as we expected him to," said Higgins, adding Burris could have played if this were a playoff game.

"It was his turn. I told him to get ready and prepared and we put him out on the field."

Burris threw five touchdowns in beating the Bombers last weekend at McMahon Stadium, earning player of the week honurs.

Sankey didn't have same success, further proving that Burris is a strong candidate for CFL's most outstanding player.

The backup went 22-of-39 passing for 228 yards and one late touchdown pass to Brett Ralph, but it was a third-quarter fumble in a stretch of four straight two-and-outs that killed any chance of a comeback.

"It wasn't one of my best efforts," said Sankey, who was told at the morning meeting he would start.

"I thought we had a nice groove in the first half but when we really needed it in the third quarter, I just missed some throws. Getting stripped was disappointing because that gave them some momentum.

"Tip your hat off to the Winnipeg defence. They made some plays."

Charles Roberts ran for 154 yards on 16 carries but left with a quad injury shortly after scoring a fourth-quarter touchdown.

Kevin Glenn threw touchdown passes to Milt Stegall -- a CFL all-time best 144th of his career -- and Terrence Edwards as Winnipeg (9-6-1) snapped a two-game losing streak.

The Blue Bombers can now clinch first in the East Division with a win next weekend over the Argonauts in Toronto.

With the Calgary (7-8-1) loss, the Saskatchewan Roughriders clinch at least second spot in the West Division and will host a playoff game for the first time since 1988.

Roberts has his best outing of the season, gashing the Stampeders for four rushes of more than 20 yards each.

The Calgary defence didn't get much help from its offence and were worn out in the fourth quarter.

Stegall finished with six catches for 70 yards, leaving him 257 yards back of Stampeders great Allen Pitts for the all-time lead.


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