Turnover town

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:11 AM ET

CALGARY -- The Calgary Stampeders felt they let one get away.

Actually, they let five get away, which is the reason they fell short, 33-26, to Edmonton here in the Western semifinal yesterday.

The Stampeders turned the ball over six times, with three fumbles, two interceptions and once on downs.

Conversely, the Eskimos did not turn the ball over at all.

"When you put the ball on the ground that many times and have that many turnovers, you are going to lose every time," said Stampeders quarterback Henry Burris. "Guys were trying to make plays out there. Guys were trying hard, but you have to understand sometimes if a play is not out there to be made, take what you can get."

The turnover game began early for the Stampeders. Burris was intercepted by Eskimos safety Kelly Wiltshire on the Esks' one-yard line on the first offensive series of the game.

Later in the quarter, with the Stamps up 9-0, Terrence Wilkins fumbled a punt on his own 37-yard line, which was recovered by Eskimo Mathieu Bertrand.

"We did exactly what they did last week," said Burris, referring to the Stampeders 43-23 win the previous week against the Eskimos. "We gave them the game this week."

The generosity continued in the second half.

On their first possession, Burris fumbled on a third-and-one for a three-yard loss.

"We knew we had to stop turning the ball over, because that was the only reason they were in the game," said Burris. "On some of those long drives, instead of putting the ball on the ground and giving it to them, if we put the ball in the end zone, it's a different game."

Following a Sean Fleming field goal that cut the lead 23-15, the Stamps drove the ball down the field again. A 48-yard reception by Jeremaine Copeland gave the Stamps a first down on the Eskimos' 34. On the ensuing play, Joffrey Reynolds fumbled and Keyuo Craver jumped on it.

Later, with the game tied, Reynolds fumbled again. The Esks went on to score the winning touchdown when Jason Maas hit Jason Tucker in the end zone.

"We've said all year, it's not about the team that we are playing it's about us," said Burris. "We know if we execute and don't turn the ball over, everything will take care of itself. If we don't, then you get what happened tonight."

"The reason that we had a great run leading up to this game was because we won the turnover battle," said Stampeders head coach Tom Higgins. "It's hard to pinpoint why all of a sudden, when you can be so good, you were so sloppy. It's something that'll make for some sleepless night of some of our coaches and our athletes."


Videos

Photos