Monday, November 9, 2009

Riders stop Stamps, win West

A solid effort from start to finish, including two touchdown passes from Darian Durant, led the Saskatchewan Roughriders to their first West Division title in 33 years, thanks to a 30-14 win over the Calgary Stampeders, in front of 30,945 fans at Mosaic Stadium in Regina, Saskatchewan Saturday night.

The Riders were off and running just 4:50 into the game, as Durant connected with Chris Getzlaf for a 9-yard touchdown pass. Luca Congi converted, putting Saskatchewan up 7-0.

Burke Dales nailed a 50-yard punt single 19 seconds into the second quarter for Calgary, making it a 7-1 game. The Riders took control from there. Congi kicked a 37-yard field goal with 3:39 gone and Louie Sakoda blasted a 90-yard kickoff single 11 seconds later, putting Saskatchewan on top 11-1. It was 18-1 with 8:58 remaining in the half, as Durant hit Rob Bagg from 25-yards out and Congi converted. Henry Burris stemmed the tide a bit for the Stampeders, as he snaked in from a yard out and Sandro DeAngelis converted, cutting the deficit to 18-8. Congi's second 37-yard field goal, with just 6 seconds left, put the Riders on top at the half 21-8.

Calgary knocked 6 points off the spread with a pair of DeAngelis field goals in the third quarter, the first from 22-yards with 6:04 left, the second from 24 yards with 2:19 left, leaving the Saskatchewan lead at 21-14 heading into the final 15 minutes.

It stayed a 7-point game until late in regulation, when the Riders would add 9 more points. The first two came as the Stamps, trapped deep in their own end, had Dales concede a safety touch with 2:44 left. Chris Czarka bulled into the endzone from a yard out with 1:07 to go and Congi converted. Calgary tried to respond, but were stopped at the 23 yard line as time expired, with Saskatchewan winning the game 30-14, capturing their first West Division title since 1976.

Darian Durant rebounded from a sub-par performance in Hamilton a week ago, going 24-of-36 passing for the Riders, good for 296 yards and 2 touchdowns, 1 each to Chris Getzlaf and Rob Bagg. Andy Fantuz caught 12 passes for 123 yards. Wes Cates ran 15 times for 54 yards, Chris Czarka scored the late touchdown on a 1-yard run. Luca Congi kicked 2 field goals and 3 converts, while Louie Sakoda had a kickoff single. For the Stampeders, Henry Burris was 15-of-25 passing for 221 yards, while throwing 1 interception. A Tate came in and completed 4-of-5 passes for 42 yards. Joffrey Reynolds rushed for 107 yards on 17 carries and Burris scored on a 1-yard sneak. Sandro DeAngelis kicked 2 field goals and 1 convert, and Burke Dales kicked a punt single. Calgary won the total yardage battle 417 to 408, but committed the night's only turnover.

Both teams finish the season at 10-7-1 for 21 points, but Saskatchewan wins the West crown after taking the season series against the Stamps with a 2-0-1 record. The Riders get a bye into the West final on Sunday, November 22nd and will await the winner of this Sunday's Edmonton vs. Calgary West Semi. Kickoff at Mosaic Stadium in Regina on the 22nd is set for 4:30p.m. EST. The live broadcast, with Rod Pedersen and Carm Carteri can be heard on 620 CKRM and the Rider Radio Network beginning at 3:30p.m. EST. The winner of that game plays in the Grey Cup Championshiop in Calgary on Sunday, November 29th at 6:30p.m. EST.

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