October 21, 2012
Stamps living and dying by last-second opposition field goals
By Ian Busby, QMI Agency
CALGARY - The final two weeks of the regular season won't change anything for the Calgary Stampeders in the standings.
There has to be a few people around the team thankful of that. Maybe they can take some time away from the pulse-raising finishes this team has become known for.
Among the many themes for the team in the 2012 season is another one that has developed.
In 25% of the Stamps games this season, they are watching as the opposition has lined up for a potential game-winning field-goal attempt.
Call it luck or whatever you want, but the Stamps have won three of them, the latest a 34-32 victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats Saturday night in the snow at McMahon Stadium.
"Those can be stressful," Stamps defensive end Charleston Hughes said.
"So many thoughts go through your head. You have to keep the faith, come off the ball, play hard and hope for the best."
Things have gone the Stamps' way the last three times this scenario has happened.
When Andy Fantuz had the ball slip off the tee Saturday night, the win clinched second place in the West Division for the Stamps.
If not for those three wins on failed last-second attempts -- the first two against the Edmonton Eskimos and kicker Grant Shaw -- the Stamps would be fighting for a playoff spot instead of being locked into their position.
Now, they head into Friday's meeting with the B.C. Lions (7 p.m., McMahon Stadium) with nothing, realistically, on the line.
The Stamps can't catch the Lions for first place, so it will just be for bragging rights.
The Stamps have lost twice to the Lions this season, so no doubt they would like a win just for confidence.
"Football is a game you play for pride, as well as for momentum," Stamps running back Jon Cornish said.
"In playoffs, momentum means a lot.
"Last year, we had a lot of momentum coming in and it would be good for us to have the same thing this year. With a few games going into it, that should help."
At this time last season, Drew Tate had just started his first game at quarterback for the Stamps as they rode into the post-season with three straight wins.
Now with two games left, Tate is working back from his shoulder surgery and Stamps head coach John Hufnagel said the No. 1 pivot will get some playing time over the next two weeks.
Whether that leads to Tate being the starter when playoffs begin will probably be determined by the QB himself.
Kevin Glenn did have five turnovers himself in the snow Saturday night, but the veteran has done enough for the Stamps to be hosting the West semifinal Nov. 11 when the playoffs open.
That gives Stamps supporters a chance to get themselves ready for what will likely be another heart-stopping finish.
On Twitter @SUNIanBusby
Four times this season, the Stamps have watched with baited breath as the opposition lined up for the winning field goal attempt. Three times, they came away with the win. You gotta to be good to be lucky, and lucky to be good. Here is how they break down:
— Week 2 at Toronto, 39-36 loss
With 1:01 left on the clock and the game tied, Argos pivot Ricky Ray took the ball and hit Andre Durie on a 36-yard reception to get into field-goal range. Cory Boyd moved the ball another six yards and Noel Prefontaine made a chip shot from 28 yards out.
— Week 9 vs Edmonton, 31-30 win
Kerry Joseph found Matt Carter with for a 24-yard gain with only 10 seconds remaining in the Labour Day Classic. Into a harsh wind, Grant Shaw put his 48-yard attempt wide left to the back of the endzone, but Stamps returner Larry Taylor brought it out to preserve the win.
— Week 10 at Edmonton, 20-18 win
Grant Shaw got a chance to redeem himself four days later, and this time his attempt was closer to the mark. However, once it bounced off the upright, the Stamps had a sweep of the Labour Day doubleheader. This attempt was from 42-yards out and Shaw had tons of leg.
— Week 17 vs Hamilton, 34-32 win
Stampeders fans have seen this movie before. Henry Burris fires a bullet to get his team within striking distance with the clock winding down. The Ticats had a 30-yard attempt from Luca Congi in the offing and it appeared Burris was ready for victory in his former home. Holder Andy Fantuz had the ball slip off the tee, and the Stamps held on for victory.