CALGARY — The Calgary Stampeders are not ready to call it a season.
The Stamps overcame a 13-point deficit on their way to an eventual 26-19 win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Friday night at McMahon Stadium.
Saskatchewan pulled away 13-0 before Calgary found a way to put five points on the board late in the first half before eventually scoring 21 more in the second to keep their hopes of a playoff berth alive.
The win moved the Stamps to 5-11 and within two points of the Riders for third place in the West Division with two more games left to play for Calgary and one for Saskatchewan.
Quarterback Jake Maier was pivotal in the comeback effort and completed 17 of 29 for 184 yards and a major to receiver Floyd Allen. Running back Ka’Deem Carey had 77 total yards and backup pivot Tommy Stevens added a touchdown on the ground in the winning effort for Calgary.
The momentum changer in the game for Dave Dickenson’s team was a pick six by linebacker Cameron Judge in the third quarter who took a pass by the Riders Jake Dolegala to the end zone to put the home team ahead for the first time in the game.
Dolegala finished 23 of 33 for 272 yards and the interception while running back Jamal Morrow added 86 yards and a major as the Riders couldn’t close out a win that would have clinched a spot in the post-season.
Receiver Shawn Bane Jr. had seven catches for 103 yards and Samuel Emilus added 57 more on four reception for a now 6-11 Saskatchewan team.
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Teams traded punts early in the game as both offences struggled to find a rhythm. It looked like Saskatchewan would be the first to break the stalemate but a great defensive play by defensive back Branden Dozier on a pass breakup forced the visitors to kick the ball back to Calgary one more time.
Jason Shivers’ defence returned the favour with a play of their own when defensive lineman Pete Robertson broke contain on his way to the backfield for a sack on Maier that put the Stamps behind the sticks and forced a two-and-out.
Calgary also didn’t allow a first down to the Green and White on their next drive when defensive lineman Isaac Adeyemi-Berglund stayed on his pass rushing lane and eventually got to Dolegala for a sack as the pivot couldn’t find an open target down the field.
It was only in the second quarter that the Roughriders found a way to put points on the board. Kicker Ryan Meskell split the uprights from 34 yards out to make it 3-0 in favour of the visitors early in the second.
Two possessions later Saskatchewan was back at it with their offence driving down the field. Morrow got things going with a first-down run over the middle and Dolegala found a rhythm with short passes to move all the way to Calgary’s 13-yard line. From there it was No. 25 juking his way into the end zone to extend the lead to 10-0 with 6:49 left in the half.
Dolegala got his team in position to score again later in the quarter with a rainbow throw to receiver Shawn Bane Jr. who caught it over the shoulder for 42 yards. The drive stalled in Calgary territory and Meskell converted his second field goal of the night to make it 13-0.
The Stamps got their first points when punter Adam Korsak took the safety going out of the end zone instead of kicking it away deep down his own territory, pushing the score to 13-2 with 1:05 to go in the second quarter.
Calgary made use of the time with Maier moving the team close enough for a field goal attempt by Rene Paredes. The veteran converted to make it 13-5 going into halftime.
The Riders added three more points with Meskell in their opening drive of the second half.
Two possessions later Mario Alford fumbled the ball on a punt return and gave the Stamps a chance to start the drive in the red zone. Maier made the most of it by finding Allen close to the goal line and the receiver punched it in for Calgary’s first major of the night. The extra point by Paredes made it 16-12 halfway through the third quarter.
Saskatchewan was driving down the field looking to extend their lead once more but a third-and-two run with Morrow was stuffed by Calgary’s defence for a turnover on downs. The play set up a chain of events that eventually gave the Stamps the lead. Maier and the offence went two-and-out and punted the ball back to the Riders. Dolegala then took the field and was immediately picked off by Judge who returned it for a score to make it 19-16 with the point after by Paredes.
The pivot rebounded by driving his team into field goal range. Dolegala completed three passes for 39 yards and Meskell tied the game with 14:21 to go.
Maier threw a strike to receiver Marken Michel to kickstart a scoring drive halfway through the fourth. Running back Peyton Logan then added 17 more yards on a catch over the middle to move across midfield. That was when Maier uncorked a dot to the left to receiver Luther Hakunavanhu all the way to Saskatchewan’s one-yard line. Stevens punched it in to get six more points on the board and Paredes made it 26-19 with just over five minutes on the clock.
Dolegala converted a crucial third down on the next possession for the visitors with a short pass to Morrow to keep their chances of tying the game alive. Brent Monson’s defence stopped a third-and-six a few plays later though to get the offence back on the field with a chance to end the game.
The Riders forced a quick two-and-out to get another shot at scoring but the Stamps stopped a third-and-15 to secure the victory.
It was Maier’s fourth win in five games against the Roughriders. The Stamps have two more games to play while the Riders play their last match next week.
Calgary travels to BC to face the Lions on Friday, October 20, while the Riders return home to host the Toronto Argonauts on Friday, October 21, in Week 20 action.