Stamps well above passing grade

Calgary Stampeders Drew Tate celebrates after Jon Cornish scored a touchdown against the...

Calgary Stampeders Drew Tate celebrates after Jon Cornish scored a touchdown against the Saskatchewan Roughriders in Calgary on October 21, 2011. (AL CHAREST/QMI Agency)

WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:53 PM ET

Like a teacher taking attendance on the first day of class, Drew Tate was completing his role call.

Except instead of shouting out names, the Calgary Stampeders’ starting quarterback was tossing passes.

Johnny Forzani? Check.

Romby Bryant? Check.

Landan Talley? Check.

Jabari Arthur, Nik Lewis and Joffrey Reynolds? Check, check, check.

And that was just in the first quarter.

Before the dust settled in Friday’s 25-13 win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders at McMahon Stadium, Tate had completed passes to 10 different receivers in his first professional start, also hooking up with Jon Cornish, Rob Cote, Arjei Franklin and Larry Taylor through the air.

“We have good playmakers that can handle the balls real well and do things in space. It’s my job to get it to them,” Tate said. “I’m like a point guard in basketball — get it to them so they can score. That’s what I tried to do with our guys. Ten guys catching balls is pretty good.”

For the Stamps, it’s great.

For Montreal Alouettes defensive co-ordinator Tim Tibesar, who is preparing to host Tate’s team next Sunday at Molson Percival Stadium, it’s a nightmare.

“You can’t just hone in on one guy,” cautioned Forzani. “And if you do that, you’re going to get beaten by another guy. And we’ve got the guys to do it.”

Under the leadership of unseated starter Henry Burris, Calgary’s most diverse offensive outing was an Aug. 6 victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, when he connected with nine different targets.

Tate did one better in his first appearance as the Stamps’ go-to gunslinger. The only receiver that didn’t get his name on the stats-sheet against the Riders was rookie Anthony Parker, who is used primarily on special teams.

“If you know there’s a possibility you can get the ball, that makes you play that much more intensely,” Cornish said. “There are certain situations where you know you’re not going to get the ball, and that can be a little bit demoralizing. Knowing every play, there is a chance you might get the reception, I think that makes everybody’s spirits high.”

Spirits were certainly high after Friday’s win over Saskatchewan.

Tate completed 23-of-32 pass attempts for 250 yards against the Riders, while the Stamps also churned up 114 rushing yards.

Talley led the team with five receptions, while Lewis finished with four. Arthur, Cote, Forzani and Taylor also had multiple grabs.

“That was fun. I had fun,” Lewis said. “We’ve got a lot of weapons. We just need to keep putting together drives. Everybody is going to touch the ball, and everybody is going to be happy.”


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