CALGARY-- The Calgary Stampeders kept several winning streaks alive with a 26-22 comeback victory Friday night over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at McMahon Stadium.
The result extends the Stamps’ current in-season win streak to four games. That’s the longest active run of success and Calgary’s second four-game winning streak this season.
The Red and White also stretches its home winning streak to 10 games and its home-field run of victories at the expense of the Ticats to nine.
The Stamps erased a nine-point third-quarter deficit thanks to Rene Paredes’ third and fourth field goals of the night and Bo Levi Mitchell’s game-winning 15-yard touchdown pass to Marquay McDaniel with 1:18 left in the game.
“It was a hard-fought battle,” said Stampeders head coach and general manager John Hufnagel, who was celebrating his 62nd birthday Friday. “We knew coming in that it was going to be a game most likely decided very late. Fortunately, we made enough plays at the end to squeak out a victory.”
McDaniel’s game-winner was set up by a successful third-down conversion. Facing a third-and-six from its own 42 with a little more than two minutes to play, the Stamps went for it and Mitchell connected with Brad Sinopoli for a 32-yard play.
“Basically, because we didn’t have a timeout, and also because we had decent field position, I just thought (going for it) would give our team the best chance to win the football game,” said Hufnagel. “If we punt the ball away, we may not get it back.”
Former Stamp Henry Burris reached the 50,000-yard mark in career passing with a 408-yard performance but couldn’t bring the Ticats to a win.
“Henry has had a fantastic career,” said Hufnagel. “He was a great player for the Calgary Stampeders and he’s continuing that with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.”
The Stamps struggled to apply pressure on Burris in the first 30 minutes but the defence erupted for five sacks in the second half including two by Charleston Hughes and one each by Cordarro Law, Deron Mayo and Juwan Simpson.
Hamilton scored a touchdown in each of the three quarters — on a 37-yard touchdown reception by Andy Fantuz, a six-yard scoring catch by Onrea Jones and a five-yard run by C.J. Gable — but was shut out by the Stamps in the final period.
“The defence has been great this whole season,” said Stampeders running back Jon Cornish, who on Friday night reached the 1,000-yard mark in rushing for the season. “I’m happy they play for us and I don’t have to play against them each week.”
After labouring offensively in the first quarter, the Stamps got a big play in the second as Mitchell hooked up with Maurice Price for an 80-yard catch-and-run touchdown.
Another key play came in the third quarter as the Stamps were successful on a fake punt, with Rob Maver throwing to running back Matt Walter for 31 yards. That extended a drive that ended with a 43-yard Paredes field goal.
The Stamps will be at home again next week as they take on the Toronto Argonauts on Saturday, Sept. 21. Kickoff is at 5:30 p.m.