Old-fashioned stompin'

IAN BUSBY

, Last Updated: 7:51 AM ET

As first tests go, the Calgary Stampeders passed with flying colours.

But new head coach John Hufnagel knows this is only pre-season and the opponent last night hardly brought their 'A' team to McMahon Stadium.

So Hufnagel's excitement was seriously tempered after his Stamps whipped the Edmonton Eskimos 39-14 last night in front of 20,219 spectators at McMahon Stadium.

"Our team responded well," Hufnagel said. "Some good things occurred on both sides of the ball. It's a good start, but we have a long ways to go.

"I was hoping to have more discipline as far as our penalties. We had only three penalties in the first half and that was good to see."

The Stamps put up points on their first three drives with the first-team offence in full force against the Eskimos, who left their No. 1 QB, top two receivers and majority of their defensive front at home.

Stamps quarterback Henry Burris came out firing, hitting Ken-Yon Rambo and Nik Lewis on a pair of nice completions each in the first quarter.

Burris turned it over to backup Dave Dickenson for the second quarter, and the Stamps jumped out to a 21-0 lead.

Barrick Nealy played the third quarter and into the fourth before Ben Sankey mopped up. Each QB was able to put a TD on the board.

"It feels good to come out and play well," said Burris, who was 6-of-7 passing for 97 yards and a rushing touchdown.

"You set some objectives and, for us at the quarterback position, we all moved the ball well and made good decisions. We did some good things but we have some work to do.

"There was some negatives. We had some penalties here and there. We want to fine-tune some things. We didn't do much exciting on offence, but they didn't do much on defence. We'll see them in a couple of weeks when we have to get ready to go there."

One of Joffrey Reynolds' potential backups, Ken Simonton, finished off a drive with a three-yard touchdown run that was aided by good work from right guard Dimitri Tsoumpas and tackle Jeff Pilon. The other prospective running back, Demetris Summers, played a strong game as well, with his longest being a 15-yarder.

"We have some great running backs," Pilon said. "I'm glad I'm not making that decision."

Dickenson didn't seem to care this was only a pre-season game as he dove headfirst past the marker during a scramble.

"That's just the way I play," Dickenson said. "I can't change it now. You can't teach an old dog new tricks. I didn't even think about it. I made a move, got underneath the guy and tried to get a first down."

He went 5-of-5 for 93 yards, which had to make the Stamps feel good that he is feeling good.

In the battle for the No. 3 pivot position, Nealy took the reins in the third quarter and brought the Stamps out of terrible field position for a long touchdown drive.

Nealy was helped by a couple of great rushes by sophomore Canadian Jon Cornish -- including one that the Kansas product broke for 24 yards -- but the lanky pivot showed great scrambling ability as well.

Nealy capped his first drive, which encompassed 94 yards over 11 plays, with an eight-yard Burris-esqe rush.

Sankey came in late in the fourth and also was able to move the offence to set up a touchdown pass, to prospect Chris Jackson.

"Pre-season is overrated but winning is a habit," Dickenson said. "We need to win these games, especially at home. We executed against whoever was out there and everyone out there is a professional athlete."


Videos

Photos