Obstacle course

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:21 AM ET

Too many obstacles to overcome. Not enough time left on the clock.

That's the story of the Edmonton Eskimos' plunge to the basement of the West Division after losing 34-32 last night to the Calgary Stampeders at Commonwealth Stadium.

In exact order, the Green and Gold lost all-star receiver Jason Tucker before the game to a knee problem.

Then they lost linebackers A.J. Gass - the heart and soul of the defence - and Kenny Onatolu in the second quarter to disqualification from a wild fight.

And then on the final drive of the game, the Esks had to go without LB Shannon Garrett because of a below-the-belt injury that forced him to the emergency room.

That allowed the Stampeders to march 49 yards on nine plays in the final 1:38 to set up Sandro DeAngelis to play hero - kicking a 34-yard field goal on the final play to win.

TOUGH ONE TO LOSE

"It is always tough to lose on the last play of the game," said Edmonton head coach Danny Maciocia.

"The two players being thrown out really hurt us because at the end (of the game) we are scrambling to line up players and then Garrett is not out there on the last series. We clearly need him out there."

But that winning drive for Calgary would have been so much different if Edmonton had been able to score a touchdown on either one of two quarterback sneaks from inside the three-yard line late in the fourth quarter.

On the first sneak, backup quarterback Stefan LeFors got to the one-yard line. But on the second sneak, the Esks actually lost a yard - forcing Edmonton to kick a field goal for a momentary one-point lead.

"They were just waiting for it," said LeFors on the second attempt at scoring a TD on the sneak. "I felt the job was to go to the field side, so I went to the left and it felt like they just cut our linemens' legs out from underneath and went over top. I got stuck."

Added receiver Trevor Gaylor: "That was the difference in the game. Their (Calgary's) drive becomes completely different, the play calling becomes completely different when you have to score a touchdown (on the final drive)."

The Stampeders are now one point ahead of the Esks for third place in the West Division. Edmonton (2-3-1) has now dropped two in a row and will face a rejuvenated Hamilton club next weekend.

But the loss will overshadow great efforts by several players on offence, trying to fill the void left by Tucker.

Kamau Peterson stepped up with two touchdowns. He only had one major all last year.

Running back Tyler Ebell gave Edmonton an effective ground game for the first time in four games.

And T.J. Acree returned to the roster with a flourish, making six catches for 84 yards.

However, discipline remains a major problem for Edmonton, giving the Stamps new life several times during the game.

Edmonton had 114 yards in penalties, while Calgary had 182 yards in infractions.

DEANGELIS PLAYS HERO

In the end, all those obstacles allowed DeAngelis to sprint more than 50 yards in celebration after his winning kick.

"I feel good for coach (Tom) Higgins because he's taken a lot of flack," said DeAngelis.

"So to come to a place where they tried to get rid of him, it's a big win for him and this team.

"We can use this as a springboard for the rest of our season."

Edmonton is stuck trying to rebound - again.


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