Late game heroics give Stamps pre-season win over Esks
CALGARY — Brad Sinopoli made good on his limited playing time on Friday night.
The Peterborough, Ont. native threw the game game-tying touchdown and two-point conversion, paving the way for Rob Maver to complete the comeback with a last-second field goal, as the Stamps stole a victory from the Eskimos to close out the first week of pre-season action.
With the Ricky Ray era officially behind them, the Edmonton Eskimos sent out 25-year old Matt Nichols to start under centre.
Nichols put together an impressive first drive, connecting on two passes for 42 yards, including a 29-yard completion to receiver Cary Koch.
» By the Numbers: Fred Bennett – 2 INT, 1 TKL, Brad Sinopoli – 5/8, 55 YDS, 1 TD, 20 LG
Nichols, however, would run into trouble on his first series of the second quarter, as he was intercepted by Stampeders DB Fred Bennett.
On Calgary’s ensuing drive, tailback Jon Cornish would lead the Stamps downfield with a series of solid gains on the ground.
But the Calgary offence was unable to capitalize off their turnover, with Tate throwing an interception that would be returned for a touchdown by Burnett, increasing Edmonton’s lead to 8-0 with just over 10 minutes to go in the half.
Edmonton would add to their lead on their next possession, courtesy of a 45-yard field goal by Derek Schiavone.
Just prior to the three-minute warning, Kevin Glenn was inserted into the game in favour of Tate.
The 27-year old Tate connected on six of his 11 passes for 66 yards and an interception in his first outing of the new season.
After Edmonton kicker Derek Schiavone extended the Eskimos’ lead to 11 with a 45-yard field goal, Calgary kicker Rene Paredes answered back with a field goal of his own, getting the Stamps on the board from 35 yards out.
Paredes would tack on another field goal with 18 seconds remaining, cutting Edmonton’s lead to five at the half.
Though Nichols was replaced by Jeremiah Masoli midway through the second quarter, he was inserted back into the game to start the third.
But he continued to struggle throwing the ball, being intercepted for a second time by Bennett.
After both teams were unable to generate any traction offensively on consecutive drives, the Stamps inched within two points of Edmonton’s lead thanks to a 50-yard field goal by Maver.
The field goal clinic would continue into the fourth quarter, with Edmonton kicker Grant Shaw connecting on a 21-yard chip shot, extending his team’s lead to 14-9.
With Sinopoli in the game, the Stampeders embarked on one final drive, with two minutes remaining.
The 2010 Hec Crighton Trophy winner marched the Stamps downfield, capping off a 13-play, 79-yard drive with a five-yard TD strike to receiver Marquay McDaniel, bringing the Stamps within two.
On the two-point conversion, Sinopoli connected with McDaniel again, tying the game at 17.
After the Esks went two-and-out on the ensuing drive, the Stampeders special teams unit came up big, blocking a Schiavone punt.
Taking over from the Edmonton 25-yard line, the Stamps sent out Maver to complete the unlikely comeback.
One play later, Maver connected on a 30-yard field goal, giving the Stamps a 20-17 pre-season victory.