September 4, 2023

Stamps get come-from-behind win against Elks in LD Classic

Brett Holmes/

CALGARY — The Calgary Stampeders came back from an 11-point deficit late in the fourth quarter to beat the Edmonton Elks 35-31 in the final game of the OK Tire Labour Day Weekend at McMahon Stadium on Monday.

A field goal by Elks’ kicker Dean Faithfull made it 31-20 with 5:29 left in the quarter before Jake Maier and the Stampeders stormed back with two touchdown drives, including a four-yard major by running back Dedrick Mills that made it 35-31 with 20 seconds left in the game.

Maier had a touchdown run and backup Tommy Stevens added another one in the winning effort for Calgary. Kicker Rene Paredes made all four of his field goals as the Stamps improved to 4-8.

The comeback spoiled an otherwise inspired night by Edmonton’s Tre Ford.

The pivot rushed for 135 yards and added a passing major as the Elks found success on the ground all game long. Receiver Steven Dunbar Jr. had two receiving touchdowns, one from Ford and one from fellow pass catcher Kyran Moore on a trick play.

Backup Taylor Cornelius added a score on a quarterback sneak as the Elks dropped to 2-10.

» Depth Chart: EDM | CGY
» Through the Lens: Elks at Stampeders
» Box Score: Elks at Stamps by the numbers
» Watch: Ford’s lightning speed sets up Elks touchdown
» Maier praises ‘big team effort’ as Stamps stop losing streak
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Paredes got the Stamps on the board first with a 15-yard field goal with the clock at 11:06. Their second scoring of the game also came with a boot, as punter Cody Grace kicked it 65 yards for a single and a 4-0 lead.

Ford and the Elks answered with a long drive highlighted by a 40-yard run by the young quarterback all the way to Calgary’s two-yard line. Cornelius finished the possession with a major on a quarterback sneak for Edmonton’s first lead of the game, 7-4.

Calgary got back in action with a huge return by Tommylee Lewis that set the offence up at the 34-yard line and Paredes tied the game with a 24-yard kick halfway through the second quarter.

Edmonton broke the tie with a single in their next drive to go ahead 8-7.

Lewis came down with an acrobatic interception and Dean Faithfull turned it into three more points for the visitors, 11-7 with the clock showing 3:19 left in the half.

Edmonton put together their best drive of the half – a 72-yard scoring march –  just before halftime. Ford connected with Eugene Lewis and Dillon Mitchell a couple times before Jarious Jackson opened his bag of tricks. The offensive coordinator called a play where Ford tossed it back to Moore who threw it into the end zone for a wide open Dunbar for the major. The Elks made it 18-7 with 30 seconds left after the extra point.


That was enough time for Calgary to move the ball into Paredes’ range for a 48-yard field goal that cut the lead to 18-10 going into halftime.

Brown and Ford moved the ball on the ground to open the second half for the Elks. Edmonton ran the ball five straight times for 41 yards to move across midfield before their pivot added another first down with a short pass to veteran Emmanuel Arceneaux. Two straight incompletions brought in Faithfull to stretch the lead to 21-10.

The Stampeders fought back with a long march of their own. Maier completed passes to Markeith Ambles and Luther Hakunavanhu to advance through to Edmonton’s territory and Ka’Deem Carey got them closer with two nifty runs to the six-yard line. An unnecessary roughness penalty pushed the home team back to the 21 but the quarterback found a way to turn that into a major. That was until a holding penalty negated the score and pushed the Stamps back even further, forcing Paredes to kick his fourth field goal of the game. The veteran split the uprights to stay perfect on the evening with 5:26 left in the third.

Ford showcased his speed once more in the next drive for the visitors. The National pivot dropped back for a pass but took off on a scramble for a 33-yard gain that got him over 100 yards rushing and ignited another scoring march. He capped off the eight-play 79-yard drive with a short touchdown pass to Dunbar to extend the lead for the Elks as the quarter ended.

Maier went to Marken Michel early in the fourth to get the Stampeders back into the game. The duo connected for 32 yards on two passes and Carey added 11 more to get their team into the red zone. Calgary’s pivot also converted a third-and-four to keep the drive alive and called his own number to run it in for the score. The point after made it 28-20 with 9:47 left in the fourth.

Faithfull made it a two-possession game again with a 46-yard field goal, but the Stampeders continued to battle and pushed the ball down the field with two pass-interference penalties to get a first-and-goal from the one-yard line. Stevens punched it in with a quarterback sneak and Hakunavanhu caught a pass in the end zone for the two-point conversion to make it 31-28 with under three minutes to go.

The Stamps forced a quick punt to get a chance to march for a tie or a lead and the home team made the most of it. Maier connected deep with receiver Reggie Begelton and running back Dedrick Mills inched it closer with a run through the middle. Calgary’s pivot then found Ambles at the four-yard line with the clock ticking down before handing it off to Mills for the winning score.

The rematch is set for Saturday, September 9, when the Stamps travel to Edmonton in Week 14.

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