September 10, 2011
Stamps hail highlight-reel play
By IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency
EDMONTON - Right before halftime, Henry Burris scrambles away from pressure, throws up the Hail Mary and … touchdown.
Sound familiar? Nobody who has watched the Calgary Stampeders over the past several seasons can say they’ve never seen anything like Nik Lewis’ tip-drill buzzer-beating major.
In 2008, the Stamps were playing the Montreal Alouettes at home when they went for a Hail Mary just before halftime. That time, it was Teyo Johnson muscling the ball away from defenders for the TD. It was a turning point in the win over the CFL’s East Division leaders, and ultimately that victory helped propel the Stamps to a great second half.
After the Stamps lost 35-7 to the Edmonton Eskimos Monday in the Labour Day Classic at McMahon Stadium, there was plenty of talk from the Red & White’s locker-room about how it reminded them of 2008.
Of course, the main difference in that season’s Classic defeat was that Burris went down with an injury, but there was a bit of deja-vu Friday night as the Stamps bounced back.
We all know how they finished that season out.
This is by no means a guarantee that in Vancouver (also a dome, just like Olympic Stadium in 2008) the Stamps will again be hoisting the Grey Cup, but there is a sense we’ve seen this movie before.
There will be an interesting decision to be made this coming week by Stamps head coach John Hufnagel. Rookie kicker Rene Paredes has done an admirable job for the Stamps in taking over from Rob Maver in an emergency situation earlier this season, but now Maver is ready to return. Paredes helped his cause Friday, hitting on 39- and 46-yard field goals, but he missed from 44 yards out in Edmonton. Maver was a first-round pick in 2010, but he hasn’t shown the long-distance leg Paredes has, so Hufnagel has to decide which way to go … Maver, to his credit, has remained a huge cheerleader for the team. He laid down the gauntlet on Twitter a few hours before they kicked off at Commonwealth. “Revenge is best served on THEIR home turf,” Maver wrote … Looks like the early-season injury bug has returned for the Stampeders. With
LB Juwan Simpson still out with a knee injury, his replacement, LB Robert McCune, left with a knee injury, leaving rookie
LB Akwasi Antwi to take his place. When Antwi got hurt in the fourth quarter, defensive end Justin Phillips was forced to drop back …
WR Jabari Arthur also suffered a bruised thigh and left the game, leaving rookie
WR Anthony Parker to take his spot.
When RB Jerome Messam ends up as the Eskimos’ nominee for most outstanding Canadian, there’s a good chance his final play on the opening drive won’t be on the highlight reel to sway voters. With a perfect misdirection, the Esks running back was wide open for an easy touchdown pass, but he lost concentration and let the ball slip through his fingers. The play cost the home side four points … At least now, the Stampeders defence can say they’re doing their part to feed the hungry. The CFL has a program called Tackle Hunger where food is donated for every QB sack. When Stamps DL Charleston Hughes dropped Esks QB Ricky Ray to end the first quarter, it ended a team sackless streak that was nearly
10 quarters. Hughes had the last one before the drought, way back in Regina Aug. 12, when the Stamps beat up on the Roughriders 45-35.
Not that he was focused on one guy, but all of Ricky Ray’s completions in the first half went to WR Adarius Bowman. Way to spread around the offence … The Esks can attract a crowd. The attendance of 45,672 was the biggest in the CFL this season, which will hold probably until the Saskatchewan Roughriders and their fans take over Commonwealth Stadium. The 50/50 take-home was nearly $50,000 … Poor WR Romby Bryant. His one catch in the first half caught him where the sun doesn’t shine, and with the Stamps in hurry-up offence, he was made to stay on the field … Stamps RB Jon Cornish finally broke out with a 38-yard run in the third quarter, but he’s been a demon on special teams. With three tackles in this game along, the Canadian made his presence felt.