CALGARY - In a game that almost nobody watched, almost nobody stood out.
Most fans were either scared off by soggy weather or glued to the TV set for the decisive game of the Stanley Cup final, but they didn't miss much as the the Calgary Stampeders seemed horribly out of synch in Wednesday's 24-0 exhibition loss to the B.C. Lions.
In fact, the loudest cheers at a mostly-empty McMahon Stadium were heard when the public address announcer provided updates from Rogers Arena in Vancouver, where the Boston Bruins sipped from Lord Stanley's shiny silver mug after a 4-0 victory over the Canucks.
We're still five-and-a-half months away from the Grey Cup game, but the Stamps certainly have some work to do after a pre-season showing that featured more punts than spectacular plays.
Starting quarterback Henry Burris completed his first three passes and then misfired on five in a row, exiting with 17 passing yards on eight attempts.
Defensive back Brandon Smith was victimized on B.C.'s first touchdown drive, letting Steven Black sneak behind him in the back of the endzone.
And the Stamps giftwrapped points for the Lions early in the second half, with Zac Carlson muffing a snap and the out-of-towners recovering the fumble on Calgary's 10-yard line. On the next play, Leos receiver Kamau Peterson was celebrating seven points.
Nick Moore also registered a major for the boys from B.C., who got touchdown passes from three different quarterbacks (Hey, at least there's some good news for sports fans on Canada's West Coast).
There were some highlights for the Stamps, too. Here's a handful of 'em ...
On just the third offensive play of the night, Stamps workhorse Joffrey Reynolds rumbled for 19 yards, showing no signs of slowing down as he shoots for a seventh consecutive 1,000-yard rushing campaign, while sophomore receiver Johnny Forzani made a team-leading three catches.
On the other side of the ball, rookie Demetrice Morley had a couple of first-half interceptions, strengthening his hold on the starting safety job. He should've had a hat-trick, but one slipped out of his hands. Along the defensive line, rookie rush-end Sam Scott created some havoc and registered two sacks. Second-year safety Eric Fraser also had an interception.
And finally, on special teams, a couple of Lions likely left the stadium with loose teeth. Charleston Hughes steamrolled Michael Smith on a punt return, while offensive lineman J'Michael Deane pancaked Kierrie Johnson after Rob Maver's second missed field goal. And Fraser, obviously ornery as his favourite NHL team squandered its shot to lift the Stanley Cup, drilled Anton McKenzie on a bone-rattling block.
The Stamps' second — and final — pre-season game is slated for next Friday against the Edmonton Eskimos at Commonwealth Stadium. The Red & White host the Toronto Argonauts for their regular-season opener on Canada Day at McMahon Stadium.