Gettin' road work done

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:59 AM ET

REGINA -- After running smoothly for a stretch, there is a sputter and a cough.

Then it goes back to smooth sailing and there is nothing to worry about.

The Calgary Stampeders have to be feeling that way from a 27-19 pre-season win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders last night.

In about 30 minutes of action, the projected starters on both sides of the ball made nice plays, then had some hiccups, but generally got the job done.

The first-team offence played the entire first half in the hopes of getting in synch for the regular-season opener July 1.

Quarterback Henry Burris had a couple of miscues with his receivers, and one of those intended for veteran Ryan Thelwell ended up being an interception by Riders defensive back Eddie Davis.

"It was a good tuneup," said Burris, who went 17-of-22 passing for 175 yards. "We were trying a few new things, some worked good and some didn't. It was good to have some adversity and come back and make things happen."

Burris also had the heat on him during a second and long and was stripped by Riders defensive lineman Stevie Baggs. But there were many positive signs for the starting offence. Burris engineered a nine-play, 79-yard drive and Joffrey Reynolds capped it off with a 12-yard TD run.

Reynolds only had four carries last week, but he got into regular-season mode with nine carries for 50 yards.

After the Riders converted Burris' fumble into a quick Andy Fantuz touchdown pass, the Stamps pivot took the ball at midfield and drove down for a major strike to Jabari Arthur during the three-minute offence.

"One thing I like about this football team is usually we reload," said head coach John Hufnagel. "When we turn the ball over, usually positive things happen the next time out. That occurred this evening."

The starting offence left with a 17-14 halftime lead, but the starting defence stayed in longer.

In the battle to replace the released JoJuan Armour, rookie Tray Blackmon grabbed the lead, but it wasn't completely to do with his play.

Sophomore linebacker Lemarcus Rowell left the game in the first quarter after getting injured on punt coverage.

The defence was able to shut down Riders starting QB Steven Jyles, holding the former Eskimo to just 25 yards on 2-of-5 passing.

But when Darian Durant entered to start the second half, the No. 1 man in Regina put 14 points on the board before exiting.

The Stamps have some work to do on defence, but there are pieces to work with.

Keon Raymond moved over to halfback in place of Brandon Smith and did well in breaking up a couple of passes.

Defensive end Juwan Simpson returned a fumble for a touchdown to put the game out of reach.

"There was some nice plays by our young people," Hufnagel said. "They haven't disappointed."

EXTRA POINTS

In other action last night, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats lost 27-17 to the Toronto Argonauts and the Montreal Alouettes downed the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 31-27. The Edmonton Eskimos defeated the B.C. Lions 31-19.


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