Stegall steals the show

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 9:42 AM ET

It was supposed to be the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 75th anniversary game.

It ended up being the Milt Stegall Show.

The future Canadian Football Hall of Fame slotback caught only four passes yesterday, but they all went for touchdowns and covered a career-high 234 yards as the Bombers throttled the league-leading B.C. Lions 44-23 yesterday afternoon before 22,630 patrons at Canad Inns Stadium.

As Stegall came off the field after his fourth score -- a 101-yarder midway through the fourth quarter that sealed the deal -- Bombers safety Shawn Gallant and a few of his teammates got down on their knees and bowed down before the sensational slotback.

BOMBERS 44 LIONS 23

"I went and told him after that last touchdown, 'It's just been an honour to play with you and see you play football,'" linebacker Ryland Wickman said. "He's just an amazing athlete and a great person all around."

Stegall, 35, also had touchdown catches of 69, 54 and 10 yards. His previous career high was 233 yards, which he set against the Lions in 1999, and only one other time in his career -- on Oct. 6, 2002, against Saskatchewan -- had he caught four touchdown passes in a game.

Stegall also passed the 1,000-yard mark for the eighth time in his career, which leaves him tied for fourth on the CFL's all-time with Ray Elgaard and Don Narcisse. He's also only nine touchdowns shy of the CFL's all-time touchdown record of 137, which is held by George Reed and Mike Pringle.

The win keeps Winnipeg's super slim playoff hopes alive. The Bombers (5-10) still need to win their remaining three games and hope that Calgary loses all four of its contests and Ottawa loses two of its last three.

Winnipeg hosts the Toronto Argonauts on Sunday at 3 p.m.

"Somehow, some way, in the CFL it always seems like you always got a chance to get in there," Wickman said. "So hey, if we could keep winning ... you never know, crazier things have probably happened."

Lost in the Stegall hoopla was quarterback Kevin Glenn's performance. He completed 15 of 24 passes for 410 yards, a career-high five touchdowns and one interception.

Glenn said the entire team was inspired by the gathering of Bomber greats for the franchise's 75th anniversary celebration.

"The atmosphere that was going on this weekend had a lot to do with it, too," said Glenn, who had only one interception. "I'm not taking anything away from that. After we went to the 75th anniversary dinner and saw all those guys getting awards and getting cherished by the fans, it motivates you to see those guys.

"Just to rub elbows with them was great, and it just carried over into the game."

The Lions (11-3) took a 16-14 lead in the second quarter when Jon Ryan's punt was blocked by Nautyn McKay-Loescher and the ball went through the end zone for a safety.

Stegall, however, caught his second touchdown on the second-last play of the first half, and the Bombers led 21-16 at the break.

Charles Roberts' 64-yard catch and run on the second play of the third quarter set up Glenn's one-yard touchdown run, and the Bombers never looked back.

Lions third-string quarterback Buck Pierce, who was making his first career start, completed 12 of 22 passes for 133 yards before leaving in the third quarter with a sore knee.

Casey Printers replaced him and was 17-for-30 for 241 yards.

As for the B.C.'s scoring, offensive lineman Cory Mantyka recovered an Antonio Warren fumble in the end zone, Pierce had a one-yard plunge, and Warren added a two-yard run.

Winnipeg's Jamie Stoddard had a 13-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter and a two-point convert catch in the fourth, while Ryan added a punt single.


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