EDMONTON — Five days after putting together a true Labour Day Classic, the Edmonton Elks and Calgary Stampeders didn’t disappoint in their rematch.
Rookie kicker Dean Faithfull‘s 42-yard field goal lifted the Elks to a dramatic 25-23 comeback win at Commonwealth Stadium.
Tre Ford made 14-22 passes for 173 yards and a touchdown while he threw a pair of interceptions. Ford added 82 rushing yards and a touchdown on eight carries. Stampeders’ quarterback Jake Maier was 21-29 for 210 yards and two touchdowns, as the Elks returned the favour from the OK Tire Labour Day Weekend Classic.
Elks’ running back Kevin Brown turned 15 carries into 143 rushing yards and added a touchdown, while Eugene Lewis led all receivers with 89 yards. The Stamps hurt themselves with eight penalties on the night for 156 yards and the Elks survived a four-turnover night, as they gained their first win this season against a West Division opponent.
» Depth Chart: EDM | CGY
» Ford navigates Stamps’ defence in win
» Through The Lens: Stamps at Elks
» Box Score: Elks, Stamps by the numbers
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The Elks — Brown specifically — gave the fans at Commonwealth Stadium something to cheer about early on. Brown took three consecutive handoffs for a total of 58 yards to get to the end zone just 4:48 into the first quarter. Faithfull’s convert made it a 7-0 game and got the Elks the start they wanted in the game.
The Stamps kept their focus and chipped into the lead with a 37-yard field goal from Rene Paredes at 12:16. They got a bigger result quickly after, as Maier capped a six-play, 50-yard drive with a three-yard toss to running back William Langlais, who made just his third catch of the season for the touchdown at 8:40. Paredes’ convert put the Stamps in front 9-7.
The Elks’ hopes appeared to take a hit late in the first half, as Cameron Judge connected with Ford and knocked the pivot to the turf. He slowly left the field with 1:28 left on the clock, as the Elks punted the ball away.
Maier and the Stamps’ offence used the final minute of the half to their full benefit. Maier put together an eight-play, 65-yard drive that he finished off with a 10-yard pass to Reggie Begelton, who pulled in his third touchdown of the season with just five seconds left on the clock. Paredes’ convert gave the Stamps a 17-7 halftime lead.
Ford returned to start the second half and promptly threw an interception to Brad Muhammad. The pick — Muhammad’s first of the season — set Calgary’s offence up on the Elks’ 26-yard line. Maier wasn’t able to get to the end zone, but Paredes’ 25-yard field goal gave the Stamps a 13-point lead at 2:59.
The Stamps continued to seem to have Ford’s number, as Tre Roberson snagged a second interception away from the quarterback at 9:10. That led to a Paredes 29 yarder that pushed the score to 23-7 at 12:57.
A pass interference call on Calgary’s Nick Taylor got Ford and the Elks’ offence some desperately needed yardage and momentum. The Elks got within the goal line as the fourth quarter started, which led to backup Taylor Cornelius lining up from the one-yard line and plunging in for the touchdown, giving the Elks and the crowd at Commonwealth some life with 14:46 in front of them. A failed two-point convert left the Stamps up by 10, 23-13, just 37 seconds into the quarter.
After being stymied by the Stamps’ defence for much of the night, Ford finally was able to figure them out when his team needed a play. He led a four-play, 78-yard drive that was highlighted with a 33-yard connection with Lewis, then a 32-yard touchdown pass to Dillon Mitchell. For the second time in the quarter, though, the convert didn’t come with the score, as Faithfull missed the extra point, leaving it 23-19 for the Stamps at 7:03.
Ford continued to get back to his scrambling, playmaking ways as the fourth progressed. He shook off a handful of incoming Stampeders to find Lewis for a 25-yard gain, then gained more on the ground thanks to a roughing the passer call on Calgary linebacker Micah Awe. That drive ended with Faithfull’s 40-yard field goal chipping further into the deficit, making it a 23-22 game at 10:02.
In a desperate third-and-one inside the final 2:30, Ford came through, exploding for a 24-yard gain on the ground to get the Elks to the Stamps’ 53-yard line. The Elks’ luck in short yardage ran out with 1:31 to play, as Brown was stuffed before he could get the two yards he needed. The Stamps took over at their own 46-yard line, capitalizing on their fourth forced turnover of the game.
The Stamps’ ensuing drive was a quick two-and-out, which gave the Elks the ball with 36 seconds left on the clock and a long field, starting their drive at their own 27. A pass interference call against the Stamps extended the Elks’ drive and moved them to Calgary’s 50-yard line with 14 seconds to play. Ford found Lewis for a 15-yard gain, getting Faithfull into position for a game-winning attempt. The Global kicker lined up from the 42-yard line as the clock ticked down and coolly brought his team its second consecutive win at home.
Up next for the Elks is a trip to Mosaic Stadium, where they’ll face the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Fri. Sept. 15. The Stamps head into a bye week and host the Montreal Alouettes on Sat. Sept. 23.