HAMILTON – The Stampeders scored early and were able to hold off a late Tiger-Cats rally, as they earned a hard-fought 30-20 win on Saturday afternoon at Ron Joyce Stadium in Hamilton.
With numerous injuries on the offensive side of the ball, including at running back, the Stampeders handed the ball to Hugh Charles in Week 8.
Charles was solid in his Stampeders debut, carrying the ball 14 times for 102 yards. QB Bo Levi Mitchell, meanwhile, completed 19 of his 27 passes for 244 yards, a TD and an interception.
The Ticats were led by the performance of Dan LeFevour who passed for 272 yards and added 42 rushing yards before being forced out of the game with a suspected knee injury. Jeremiah Masoli finished the game behind centre for the Ticats.
To begin the game, the Ticats received the ball and were unable to sustain a meaningful drive with Calgary forcing a punt.
It didn’t take very long for the Calgary offence to find their rhythm.
Following a quick opening-game drive by the Ticats, Mitchell looked to get his new running back Hugh Charles a few touches, hoping to get him involved in the action early on.
Charles, suiting up for his third team this season, registered 25 yards on three carries on the Stamps’ first drive of the game, but he wasn’t the only player wearing red and black to enjoy success on the ground.
On the tenth play of the drive, with the pocket collapsing, Mitchell found a hole and scampered into the endzone from 14 yards out for the major to open the scoring.
The touchdown capped off a 10-play, 72-yard drive that spanned just under five minutes.
After seeing their opponents put a 10-play drive together, LeFevour and the Ticats offence showed off a little flair and their big play potential on their ensuing possession.
Erik Harris, typically a linebacker, was placed on the line acting as a tight end.
When LeFevour received the ball in a shotgun formation, he rolled out to his right and stopped on a dime and looked to his left side where he found a wide-open Harris, resulting in a 55-yard touchdown pass to tie the game up.
Looking to answer after witnessing the Ticats’ big play, Mitchell quickly completed four consecutive passes, setting up a second and four on Hamilton’s 12 yard line.
Mitchell then found Jeff Fuller in the end zone with what seemed like a touchdown reception, but the ball came loose and the Stampeders had to settle for a 19-yard field goal by Rene Paredes, giving them a 10-7 lead heading into the second frame.
In the Ticats’ first possession of the second quarter, LeFevour was under pressure and tried to connect with receiver Bakari Grant.
However, Stampeders DB Josh Bell tipped the ball and linebacker Keon Raymond picked it off, for his second interception of the season.
After the pick, the Ticats defence was able to bail out the offence and force a Calgary punt.
After another forced punt by the Ticats defence, the offence came out starting deep in their own end. As a result of a penalty on the return, the offence began its drive on the seven-yard line.
LeFevour connected on first down passes to Brandon Banks and Andy Fantuz to get the Ticats in more favoruable field position. After stalling, they set themselves up for a 47-yard field goal try by Justin Medlock, but the kick sailed wide.
Following the missed opportunity by the Ticats, the Stampeders didn’t take long to counter.
On the very next play, Mitchell completed a 74-yard pass to receiver Joe West along the sidelines and then hooked up with Fuller for the major one play later to extend the Stampeders’ lead to 10.
At the half, the Stampeders took the 17-7 advantage into the locker room.
In the opening half, both quarterbacks were able to record very efficient numbers.
Mitchell passed for 202 yards and a touchdown, while his counterpart LeFevour, passed for 194 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Calgary got first poke with the ball to start the second half.
After second half adjustments it seemed that both defences had the upper hand coming out for the third quarter. Following a Calgary punt it was Hamilton’s turn to try and swing momentum in their favour.
The Ticats began to move up-field after a pair of catches for first downs, until Mossis Madu tackled hard and fumbled the ball, allowing Bell to recover for the Stamps.
Give me the ball
Recently added to the roster, Hugh Charles became the seventh back used this season by the Stampeders and found success by rushing for over 100 yards in the game.
Calgary was able to convert the turnover into three points, after Parades kicked a 39-yard field goal to extend their lead to 13.
Hamilton, knowing they needed to respond, was able to do so thanks to a Justin Medlock 52-yard field goal (the longest made this season in the CFL) to cut the lead to 10.
Later in the quarter with three mintues to go, Harris was able to add to his touchdown earlier in the game by intercepting a Mitchell pass, igniting the Ticats.
As the third quarter ended, the score was 20-10 but the Ticats were driving and started the fourth on the Calgary 21 yard line.
To start the fourth, LeFevour found an open Bakari Grant for the 21-yard major, his first score of the season.
As Hamilton started gaining momentum, their defence once again rose to the occasion. On the very next series for Calgary, Hamilton caused them to go for a quick two and out, giving LeFevour another opportunity to tie the game or take the lead.
But it wasn’t meant to be for the Ticats. A quick two and out occurred, but on the drive, LeFevour was injured on a second down play and did not return.
On the ensuing punt, Sederrik Cunningham was able to turn it up-field and return it all the way to Hamilton’s 35 yard line.
The Ticat offence caused a quick two-and-out, but still allowed a Paredes 38-yard field goal to extend the lead to 23-17.
With Masoli under centre, he led the Ticats on a drive that resulted in another Medlock field goal, this time from 32 yards away to make it a three point game.
With under two minutes to go and Hamilton with the ball, Masoli threw an interception to Jamar Wall putting the game in the hands of Mitchell. The Stamps would eventually put the game on ice thanks to a two-yard touchdown run by backup QB Drew Tate.
Looking ahead to Week 9, Calgary continues it’s two-game road trip as they visit Ottawa on Sunday afternoon, while the Tiger-Cats will have time to rest and focus their attention to the Labour Day Classic against their rivals, the Toronto Argonauts.