Bryant a hit with Stamps

Stamps receiver Romby Bryant scores kudos from teammates for hanging on to critical pass while...

Stamps receiver Romby Bryant scores kudos from teammates for hanging on to critical pass while getting crushed in Regina. (QMI Agency/Lyle Aspinall)

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:02 AM ET

CALGARY -- The Mississippi Missile landed a direct hit.

Romby Bryant absorbed it and gained a whole other level of respect from teammates for one simple fact.

The Calgary Stampeders receiver held onto the ball.

Tristan Jackson jumped up after delivering the clean shoulder to Bryant's chest, doubling him over, but the Saskatchewan Roughriders were essentially finished following the big-hit play Saturday night at Mosaic Stadium.

The first down gave the Stamps a chance to run the clock down and pin the Riders offence deep in what finished as a 22-18 victory for the visiting side.

"Da na na, da na na," said Stamps fellow receiver Nik Lewis, miming the TSN Sportscentre theme. "You are going to see that hit a lot. It's been replayed everywhere.

"It might be on billboards in Saskatchewan when we go back (in two weeks).

"When I saw it live, I thought it was pretty bad. I guess I was at the wrong angle. It looked worse on film. Romby is a tough guy. He took it.

"He got the breath knocked out of him and walked off the field. The main thing was he got the first down."

Jackson is nicknamed the Mississippi Missile for his explosiveness as a returner, but the Riders have also used the former Edmonton Eskimos player as a cornerback this CFL season.

He caught Bryant when he wasn't looking, but the receiver didn't expect him to be there.

Usually on that play, the wideout (Johnny Forzani) would race deep to clear the path for the crossing receiver.

Forzani instead ran a quick out pattern, which is what was designed on the play. By the time the sophomore Canadian finished his route, Jackson was already on a path of destruction.

Forzani can't be blamed for not blocking Jackson, but he still feels awful about it.

"It was like seeing your boy get hit by a car," Forzani said. "There was nothing I could do. I was standing there thinking, 'Oh gosh, Romby, no.'

"I could see the whole thing. I was helpless. When he held on, I was overtop him saying, 'You are a beast, bro.'

"I can't believe he held it. He's tough as heck for holding on. He didn't see it at all. I was ready to jump on the ball if it came loose."

When Bryant shook off the hit and went to the sidelines, he went over to apologize to Stamps head coach John Hufnagel for taking an injury time-out.

Bryant thought he had stopped the clock to help the Riders.

"I said this is the CFL, not the NFL," Hufnagel said. "He's a competitor. He got stung, but it won't be the last time."

Going through the team rundown and a film session Sunday, there was no way for Bryant to avoid seeing the hit even if he tried.

Even he was surprised that he held onto the ball, but he tried to downplay the significance of the play.

"He came out of nowhere," Bryant said. "It was a football play. Guys get hit every game. It's going to happen next week.

"It's part of football. People get hit.

"It's nothing new."

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