Stamps Scratch out a defensive win

IAN BUSBY

, Last Updated: 11:08 AM ET

They say good teams find ways to win, no matter how ugly it gets.

They don't get much uglier than this one.

Despite not getting an offensive first down in the fourth quarter, the Calgary Stampeders escaped with a 15-14 win last night over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in front of 36,753 spectators at McMahon Stadium.

Thank the defence.

After the Ticats chipped away with three singles to make it a one-point lead late, the visitors got the ball at midfield with less than a minute left.

But Stamps defensive back Keon Raymond caught Ticats pivot Quinton Porter for a sack to force a third down-and-long gamble

Dave Stala made a reception on the next down, but Raymond knocked him out of bounds just before the first-down marker to seal the win.

"It was either him or me, and I wasn't letting him get there," said Raymond, who finished with nine tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery.

The ending was sweet victory for the Stamps defence, which was on the field nearly the entire fourth quarter.

"I had a good sensation through my body," said defensive end Charleston Hughes, who had a key fourth-quarter sack to knock the Ticats out of field-goal range on another drive. "I didn't know whether to jump or start screaming. It was a great play.

"I believe it's every defensive player's dream to be on the field with 20 seconds left and a chance to win the game. We had to win it. We had everything on our back. We'll take that victory. All we could do was keep playing defence and keep giving the offence chances to get it right."

The win moves the Stamps to 8-5 and into sole possession of first place in the CFL's West Division.

Stamps pivot Henry Burris had a terrible night, going 14-for-30 passing for 132 yards and two interceptions.

On the other side, Porter managed to move the ball well, going 22-of-33 for 262 yards with a rushing touchdown and one pick.

But Porter also fumbled once in one of four turnovers made by the visitors.

The Stamps had 254 total yards and a meagre 13 total first downs on offence.

"It was a difficult night," said Stamps head coach John Hufnagel. "I like the fact our defence had to do something to preserve the win.

"Hamilton had the wind, and both times they had a chance to get into field position in the fourth quarter. Our defence made plays to push them out of field-goal range. It was a great effort."

The Stamps trailed 11-9 at halftime after sloppy play on both sides, but they managed a pair of field goals in the third quarter to take the lead.

Malik Jackson and Tim Johnson forced fumbles by the Ticats in the first 30 minutes, while Brandon Browner picked off Porter in the endzone to snuff out a drive.

But the Stamps offence couldn't keep the ball or sustain any drives.

You won't see the Stamps defence pointing fingers.

"Guaranteed there is somebody at home willing to play 70 snaps if we want to complain," Raymond added. "We had to make plays at the end."

IAN.BUSBY@SUNMEDIA.CA


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