- Free Agency
THE CANADIAN PRESS
VANCOUVER — At long last, Kevin Glenn is going to get a chance to play in the Grey Cup.
Glenn threw for three touchdown passes as the Calgary Stampeders upset the B.C. Lions 34-29 in the CFL West final on Sunday before a disappointed crowd of 43,216 at B.C. Place Stadium.
The Stampeders, who finished second in the West Division behind B.C. during the regular season, will play the Toronto Argonauts in the CFL title game next Sunday at Rogers Centre.
The loss denied the Lions a second straight Grey Cup.
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» Images: CGY at BC
Glenn drew the starting quarterback assignment after Drew Tate fractured his forearm in last weekend’s West semifinal win over Saskatchewan, ending his season.
Glenn has now earned a Grey Cup berth for the first time in his well-travelled, 12-year CFL career.
“It means a lot to actually be able to actually get a team there and actually be playing in the game,” said Glenn.
He was denied the opportunity in 2007 after he led the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to victory in the East Final but, ironically, also suffered a fractured arm. That year’s Grey Cup, which the Bombers lost to the Saskatchewan Roughriders with Winnipeg backup quarterback Ryan Dinwiddie making his first start of the season, was also in Toronto.
Glenn, a 33-year-old Detroit native was not expected to play much this season after being acquired in an off-season trade from Hamilton as part of the package for former Calgary QB Henry Burris.
Instead, Glenn played most of the Stampeders’ games, because Tate suffered an early-season shoulder injury, and then was bypassed for the first playoff game.
Marquay McDaniel, Maurice Price and Romby Bryant caught Glenn’s touchdown passes. Backup quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell ran for another TD, while kicker Rene Paredes supplied the rest of Calgary’s points.
“The line gave me great protection and we were able to get behind their (defensive backs) and throw the ball deep and take some shots, and that’s what we’ll have to do when we get to Toronto,” said Glenn, who completed 15 of 24 pass attempts for 303 yards.
Lions defensive back Korey Banks, on an interception, and receiver Nick Moore on a last-minute reception, scored touchdowns for the hosts.
Paul McCallum provided B.C.’s other points by kicking five field goals.
“It’s a disappointing day,” said Lions quarterback Travis Lulay, who completed 33 of 46 passes for 274 yards. “You just hate to come up short in the big one. You know this was a game to have an opportunity to play for a championship, and Calgary earned it today.”
The game marked a rare time in the CFL’s modern era when two Canadian tailbacks started for their respective clubs. Calgary’s Jon Cornish led the league in rushing during the regular season, the first Canadian to do so since 1988. B.C.’s Andrew Harris had the most yards from scrimmage, becoming only the second Canadian to accomplish the feat since Terry Evanshen in 1967.
But it was Glenn who stole the show following an interception that Banks returned for a B.C. touchdown. Although Glenn is regarded as being slow afoot, the Lions did not register a sack.
“They came with a good scheme and they came with a good understanding of what we we’re doing and what we’re going to do and everything we did just didn’t work out,” said B.C. defensive tackle Khalif Mitchell.
After overthrowing McDaniel on Calgary’s first play from scrimmage, Glenn connected with him on a 68-yard touchdown pass.
McDaniel was left wide open in the middle of the field as a result of blown B.C. defensive coverage. The touchdown, which came just 59 seconds into the game, was the second-fastest in CFL playoff history.
“I think they didn’t cover down,” said Glenn. “They came with an all-out blitz, and they may have brought too many guys and not covered down with enough.”
“That was the momentum, I think, that we needed early in the game to push us over to the end.”
Banks drew the Lions even at 7-7 on his sensational 77-yard interception return. But despite enabling the Lions to pull within a point, following three McCallum field goals and lead just 17-16 at halftime, the Stamps never trailed again.
With just under six minutes gone in the third quarter, Glenn threw a 57-yard touchdown pass along the sideline to Bryant, the hero of Calgary’s last-minute semifinal victory over Saskatchewan.
The touchdown staked the Stamps to a 24-16 lead.
Later in the third, Calgary increased its lead to 31-16, on a 1-yard plunge from Mitchell, following a 42-yard pass to Price to put Calgary down to the one.
Mitchell was then unsuccessful on two attempted plunges. It looked like the Lions had stopped him a third time as he attempted
to dive over defenders with the ball. However, officials signalled a touchdown.
Kickers McCallum and Paredes produced the bulk of the fourth-quarter points by booting field goals before Moore scored on a two-yard toss from Lulay with 59 seconds left in the game. The touchdown pulled the Lions within five points.
But the wily Glenn then proceeded to run out the clock in preparation for his long-awaited chance to play in the Grey Cup.
Notes: Calgary played without linebacker Juwan Simpson, who suffered an ankle injury in the Western semifinal. … Banks gave the Stampeders bench the choke sign after he came out on the field and was restrained by officials as he drew closer to Calgary’s bench. … B.C. offensive guard Jesse Newman started in place of Dean Valli, who did not play because of a knee injury. Rookie offensive guard Matt Norman, who rejoined the team last week from teachers college at the University of Western Ontario, took Valli’s place in the lineup and served as a backup. Newman, who spent 13 games on the injured list with a knee injury of his own, is expected.