Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Calgary defense shines in 27-19 win over Saskatchewan

Tough defense early and timely defense late spelled defeat for the Green-and-White, as the Calgary Stampeders defeated the Saskatchewan Roughriders 27-19, in front of 29,107 fans at Mosaic Stadium in Regina.

Defense was present both ways to start the game. Saskatchewan's defenders made the first big play of the night, as Eddie Davis ended Calgary's first possession, with an interception of a Henry Burris pass at the Riders' 51 yard line early in the opening quarter. The Stamps' D responded, holding the Roughriders and getting the ball back. Burris then led his team deep into Riders territory on the ensuing possession as Calgary opened up the offense. Burris completed 7 straight passes to move the ball to the Saskatchewan 5, where Joffrey Reynolds ran it in for the opening score of the night, capping a 9 play, 79 yard drive. The convert by Sandro DeAngelis put the Stampeders up 7-0, with 7:37 remaining in the first quarter.

The Calgary lead grew to 10-0 with a 28 yard field goal from DeAngelis on the first play of the second quarter. Darian Durant then came in at quarterback to relieve starter Steven Jyles, and the Riders immediately started to move the ball. An impressive, quick-strike drive, capped by a 2-yard dive over the left side by Justin Beaver and a Luca Congi convert brought Saskatchewan to within 10-7 with 10:08 left in the half. On the first play after a Calgary turnover, Durant hit Andy Fantuz with a 34-yard touchdown pass. Congi's convert put the Riders on top 14-10 with 3:23 left. The Stampeders quickly regained the lead however, as Burris found Jabari Arthur from 5 yards out. With the DeAngelis convert inside the final minute, Calgary went to the dressing room with a 17-14 halftime lead.

Defense was the story to start the second half, with a DeAngelis 10 yard field goal at the end of a long drive with 1:36 left the only points, increasing the Stampeders lead to 20-14 through three-quarter time.

Calgary had the ball at their own 18 yard line to start the final quarter, but went backwards and conceded a safety touch on a punting situation to Saskatchewan 2:02 into the fourth, drawing the Riders within 4 points, at 20-16. A Congi 32 yard field goal with 4:30 left for saskatchewan cut the Stamps' lead to 20-19, but all hopes of a Riders comeback ended just a bit less than 2 minutes later. Calgary's Burke Dales drilled a 41 yard punt, that Saskatchewan's Casey McGahee couldn't find the handle on. Juwan Simpson recovered the fumble and ran it in from 5 yards out for the major score. DeAngelis added the convert and the Stampeders held on for the 27-19 win.

Calgary had 408 yards total offense on the night, with quarterback Henry Burris leading the way. Burris completed 17 of 22 passes for 175 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Jabari Arthur (receiving) and Joffrey Reynolds (rushing) added offensive touchdowns to the late defenseive score by Simpson on the fumbled punt. Darian Durant, Steve Jyles, Dalton Bell and Juan Joseph all saw action at quarterback for Saskatchewan, combining for 191 yards on 17-of-30 passing. Andy Fantuz caught 2 passes for 48 yards and a touchdown and Hugh Charles rushed 8 times for 52 yards, while Justin Beaver scored the only rushing touchdown of the night for the Riders, who amassed 258 yards of total offense. Each team turned the ball over 3 times. Tray Blackmon and Keon Raymond led the Stamps defense with 5 tackles each, while Chris McKenzie had 5 stops for Saskatchewan.

The Riders, who finish the preseason at 0-2-0, host the BC Lions on Friday, July 3rd, to open the 2009 regular season schedule. Calgary completed their preseason with a 2-0-0 record, and open defense of their Grey Cup title on Wednesday, July 1st, as they host Montreal.

You can catch all the exciting action of the Saskatchewan Roughriders versus BC Lions CFL regular season opener on http://www.620ckrm.com/ with kickoff set for 9:00pm EDT on Friday, July 3rd, with Rod Pedersen and Carm Carteri calling the play.

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