July 2, 2009

Spotlight: Titus Ryan electrifies


CALGARY — Titus Ryan fielded a Damon Duval kickoff and returned it 104 yards for a touchdown. Not bad for a guy playing his first CFL game.

Calgary’s Ryan distinguished himself in a losing cause Wednesday, finishing with three catches for 44 yards in addition to 138 kickoff return yards in the Stampeders’ 40-27 loss to the Montreal Alouettes.

Ryan’s play, which came with Calgary trailing 20-0, was the first kickoff return for a touchdown by a Stampeder since J.R. Ruffin accomplished the feat during a 35-26 road loss to the Edmonton Eskimos on Sept. 8, 2006.

“We just needed it,” said Ryan, a six-foot, 190-pound receiver from Tuscaloosa, Ala. “Once I saw the hole I just made a break for it and just ran. I saw (Demetris) Summers following me and he had to make a good block and I just took it to the house.”

Ryan did have a rookie moment during the second quarter when he fumbled the ball after being hit hard by veteran Montreal defensive end Anwar Stewart.

“I knew better than to hold the ball like that,” Ryan said. “That was my mistake and that’s something I’m going to have to work on next week in practice.”

On the defensive side of the ball, rookie Stampeder Tray Blackmon led all players with seven tackles and added a forced fumble.

“I felt like I went out and I played hard and I gave great effort,” said the six-foot, 220-pound linebacker, who hails from LaGrange, Ga. “I had a couple plays I wish I could have back, maybe a couple errors out there. I wish I could have maybe ran harder to a play. We’ll just go back and try to work on those little things and try to get better.”

Also suiting up for their first CFL games for Calgary, Davanzo Tate and Justin Brown had six tackles each for the Stamps, while fellow rookie Tristan Black blocked a punt and finished with four tackles.

Not to be outdone, veteran Stampeder safety Wes Lysack chipped in with a touchdown-saving tackle and also blocked a punt in the second quarter which led to a touchdown by Jeremaine Copeland to get Calgary back in the game.

“Any time you can block a punt in a game, you usually give yourself an opportunity to win the game,” Lysack said. “Guys were able to finish those plays and it worked out good for us. It just wasn’t enough.”

The Stampeders went almost three seasons between blocked punts. Ruffin was the last Calgary player to block a punt back on July 29, 2006 during a 19-9 loss in Regina to the Saskatchewan Roughriders.