Stampeders sweep away Esks and other thoughts on the Labour Day rematch
The traditional wisdom says that it is very difficult to beat a team back-to-back in professional sports, especially in football.
In years past, you would typically pencil in a split for the Alberta clubs in the Labour Day game and the rematch a week later in Edmonton.
Lately however, the Stampeders have made hay in these games. They are now 8-2 in the annual home-and-home series under head coach Dave Dickenson after completing the 2019 season sweep of the Eskimos with a 33-17 win on Saturday night.
It was a night that was important in the standings of course, but it was a personal milestone for Bo Levi Mitchell, who went 25-of-40 for 254 yards with two touchdowns and a trio of interceptions. He became the winningest QB in Stampeder history, passing Henry Burris. Mitchell now sits at 72-16-2, good enough to be the league’s all-time winning percentage leader at .811, still ahead of Doug Flutie at .746.
Some other thoughts on a win that moves the Stamps into second place in the CFL West Division standings:
Amos seals the deal…again
DeShaun Amos made the defensive stop of the game in the Labour Day Classic on Monday, batting down a Trevor Harris offering on a third down at the goal line. This week he took a Logan Kilgore pass 71 yards to the end zone for a pick-six that demoralized the Eskimos and were the final points the Stamps would score on the night.
Amos is quickly making a name for himself in an inexperienced but dangerous defensive backfield. Tre Roberson, Robertson Daniel and Raheem Wilson are all capable of taking away the ball any time it’s thrown. Add that to the veteran savvy of Brandon Smith, who moved up another spot on the all-time tackles list and Jamar Wall – it’s a risky proposition to send the ball downfield.
Metchie uses his head….again
Royce Metchie was playfully called out last week after having the ball bounce off his face mask and land in the hands of an Eskimos receiver for a first down.
Metchie took another ball to the face Saturday, this time though it fell for an incompletion. I’m sure his teammates will totally let this one go. If you believe that, do I have some Sasky oceanfront property for you!
The punt cover team was spectacular in this game limiting the Eskimos to just 12 return yards off four Rob Maver boots. Maver’s best came when he nearly hit the sideline but the returner’s momentum caused him to carry the ball out at the three-yard line.
Normally, that would be the highlight of a kickers’ day. Not today though, as Maver would send a pass to Ante Milanovic-Litre who would gobble up yards after catch for a 25-yard gain on a third down punt fake at midfield.
Maver has just one incompletion in his career, a drop at the hands of former Stampeders’ fullback Rob Cote. This season, Maver is now 2-of-2 for 44 total yards.
Trevor Harris remains winless against the Stampederes in his career but maybe deserves less of the share of this loss than he would have because of coming out of the game in the second quarter citing an “upper body” injury. TSN cameras showed medical staff massaging his forearm several times in the game.
It was Logan Kilgore who had to finish the game. Kilgore started hot, completing his first eight passes, and added a rushing TD.
No word yet on the severity of Harris’ injury.
Begelton leads targets…again
Reggie Begelton had a tough day at the office collecting just seven of 15 targets for 88 yards and a touchdown. The day was made tougher by the officials who took away a catch in the third quarter that was clearly in his arms.
The catch was made at the Eskimos 21-yard line and because it was ruled incomplete. the Stamps were forced to kick a field goal rather than continuing to drive downfield.
The yardage total was enough to propel him to the top of the receiver yardage chart, 33 yards ahead of Derel Walker, and 68 ahead of Brandon Banks who was idle this week and now has a game in hand.
The Stampeders defence did what they have done almost all season long: shut down a high powered offense.
The Eskimos had the most offensive yards on the season coming in, but until the fourth quarter, the Stampeders were again holding the Esks at bay.
The Eskimos first touchdown came following an interception that started their drive on Calgary’s 22-yard line. The only other major score was in the fourth quarter in what was essentially garbage time. That drive was the Eskimos best of the day as it went for 83 yards ending with a Logan Kilgore dive with the pile for the TD.
A rare quiet night for Cory Greenwood, who collected just three tackles. He still leads the league with 78 total tackles. Jamar Wall led the way with a 10 spot.
Next up for the club is a matchup with the league-leading Hamilton Ticats in Calgary on Saturday September 14th.