Calgary gets piece of first place in CFL’s West

Stampeders 32 Eskimos 8 CALGARY — The Calgary Stampeders cooled Edmonton’s offence and grabbed a piece of first place in the CFL’s West Division with a 32-8 win Monday over the Eskimos

Edmonton Eskimos' quarterback Ricky Ray tries to break free of Calgary Stampeders' Jim Davis during first half CFL football action in Calgary

Stampeders 32 Eskimos 8

CALGARY — The Calgary Stampeders cooled Edmonton’s offence and grabbed a piece of first place in the CFL’s West Division with a 32-8 win Monday over the Eskimos

Calgary, Edmonton and the Saskatchewan Roughriders, who were 29-14 winners over Winnipeg on Sunday, were bunched at 5-4 atop the West.

“You’ve got to expect to win the game at home and do whatever it takes to make that happen and we did,” Calgary quarterback Henry Burris said. “In order for us to be in first place, we had to get this one.

“It was important for us to come out in front of a record crowd here at home in the regular season and put on a good show not only for them, but also for ourselves.”

With 5,000 added to McMahon Stadium for the Grey Cup on Nov. 29, the sellout crowd of 40,729 was the biggest for a Labour Day game in Calgary.

It’s a short recovery week for both clubs as they meet again Friday at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton (TSN, 10 p.m. ET) for their third of four meetings this season.

“It’s going to seem like 48 hours and we’re playing again,” Burris said.

After losing back-to-back games to open the season, the Stampeders have won four in a row and five of their last seven.

Edmonton was averaging 32 points a game in their previous five, but Calgary held the Esks to just two points and four rushing yards in the first half Monday.

“To go against an offence led by Ricky Ray and for them to only put up eight points, that’s remarkable output by our defence,” Burris said. “Those guys did a great job of getting them off the field.”

Jeremaine Copeland scored Calgary’s third touchdown with a spectacular one-handed catch. Joffrey Reynolds and Jon Cornish also scored majors and kicker Sandro DeAngelis contributed field goals from 10, 22 and 44 yards for the Stampeders.

Burris completed 19 of 27 passes for 285 yards and one touchdown and was intercepted once.

Edmonton’s Ricky Ray was 27-for-39 for 274 yards and one touchdown pass. Esks backup quarterback Jason Maas went in for one 13-yard throw.

Maurice Mann scored Edmonton’s lone touchdown late in the fourth quarter on a seven-yard reception.

“We could not run the ball,” lamented Edmonton coach Richie Hall. “Their execution was better than ours and made the most of their plays.

“They ran the football and controlled the lines of scrimmage.”

Calgary middle linebacker Tim Johnson, who signed with the Stamps on Aug. 22 and wears No. 0, led the defence with eight tackles Monday. He and DeVone Claybrooks were brought on board to strengthen Calgary’s defence against the run.

“I just got here,” Johnson said. “I think the guys around us are making plays. I really can’t tell. All I know is we’re fitting in and the defence is getting a little better.”

Reynolds finished with 116 yards on 21 carries and one touchdown.

Copeland’s touchdown catch with 46 seconds remaining lifted the Stamps to a 23-20 win over Toronto last week.

He continued to be a clutch player for the defending Grey Cup champions with 33- and 30-yard receptions to set up Calgary’s first field goal and touchdown.

His one-handed grab under pressure from Kelly Malveaux on a 21-yard throw from Burris made it 24-2 at 9:02 of the third quarter.

“I really couldn’t tell how good of a catch it was until I looked at my teammates’ faces in the end zone and they were going crazy so I knew it had to be pretty good,” Copeland said.

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