Durant delivers

Darian Durant looked like anything but a first-year starting quarterback during Sunday’s West Division final.

Calgary Stampeder Markus Howell gets drilled by Saskatchewan Roughrider Leron Mitchell during the Roughriders’ 27-17 win in the CFL West Division final.

Roughriders 27 Stampeders 17

REGINA — Darian Durant looked like anything but a first-year starting quarterback during Sunday’s West Division final.

The Saskatchewan pivot threw for 204 yards and three touchdowns as the Roughriders advanced to the Grey Cup with a 27-17 win over the Calgary Stampeders at Mosaic Stadium.

Durant started four games for Saskatchewan last year and was the third-stringer in 2007 when Kerry Joseph quarterbacked the Roughriders to their first Grey Cup since 1989.

Saskatchewan will meet the Montreal Alouettes at Calgary’s McMahon Stadium next weekend. The Alouettes beat the B.C. Lions 56-18 in the East Division final earlier Sunday.

“After we won the Grey Cup I took a knee on the field and I told myself that when I had the opportunity I was going to make it back,” said Durant, who was 18-for-25. “I’m glad that we made it back but it’s not finished. We have to win it.”

The Stamps took an early 10-0 lead in the first Saskatchewan-hosted West final since 1976, but Durant got the Riders on the board when he connected with Chris Getzlaf for an eight-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter.

From there the momentum was squarely in Saskatchewan’s corner. Jason Armstead sparked the Riders’ offence with a 75-yard kickoff return to start the third quarter, which set up a touchdown catch by Andy Fantuz. Durant added another TD toss to Rob Bagg and kicker Luca Congi contributed field goals of 18 and 43 yards.

The Roughriders lost both meetings with the Alouettes this year. Montreal won 43-10 in Week 3 at Regina and 34-25 in Week 8 at home.

“It’s a dream matchup for me, and for our team,” said Saskatchewan head coach Ken Miller. “We played very well in Montreal in a loss, and it was at that point that Eddie Davis stood up in our locker-room and said we’re going to have an opportunity to play these people again.”

That opportunity will carry special meaning for Roughriders cornerback Omarr Morgan.

A 10-year CFL veteran without a Grey Cup appearance, Morgan played the first seven seasons of his career with Saskatchewan but signed as a free agent with the Edmonton Eskimos in 2007.

He returned to the Riders in 2008 after watching his former teammates win a Grey Cup without him.

“It’s unreal man. It’s hard to explain,” said Morgan. “I’ve got to take my hat off to my teammates. It’s a good group of guys to play with on and off the field. I know guys have been here before but it’s a first for me and it’s an unreal feeling.”

In the days leading up to the game, Durant and Stampeders quarterback Henry Burris both suggested the other team would be under more pressure. Sunday, Durant was proven right.

Roughriders middle linebacker Rey Williams led all players with 10 defensive tackles and three quarterback sacks. The Riders also intercepted Burris three times — two of those coming from James Patrick and the other from Davis.

Sandro DeAngelis got Calgary on the board with a 47-yard field goal in the first quarter and added a single on a missed field goal from the same distance in the third quarter.

Stampeders running back Joffrey Reynolds had 17 of his 90 rushing yards on a touchdown run in the second quarter and Burris hit Jermaine Copeland with a four-yard touchdown pass with 1:13 to play.

Burris finished the game completing 22-of-34 passes for 278 yards.

Just Posted

UPDATED: Economy and health care expected to be hot election topics

Premier Rachel Notley makes announcement on Tuesday morning

Cruel and sadistic: Central Alberta dog rescuers believe there are dog fighting rings in province

With the increased number of stolen dogs, some central Alberta rescuers are… Continue reading

Red Deer hospital expansion recognized in throne speech

Society for Hospital Expansion in Central Alberta calls for more details

Mixed Nuts revue presented Saturday to kick off first Carole Forhan Theatrical Scholarship

Broadway songs, comedy skits are part of the Red Deer Players production

Opinion: Let’s be heard ‘loud and clear’ during provincial election campaign

By David Marsden During the banquet for Sunday’s Boston Bruins alumni game,… Continue reading

Documentary on Colten Boushie case to open Toronto’s Hot Docs festival

TORONTO — A film examining the case of a young Indigenous man… Continue reading

Want to help bees? Plant flowering herbs

Herbs are among the most useful plants in nature. They can tantalize… Continue reading

UN: Gene editing for human reproduction is ‘irresponsible’

GENEVA — A panel convened by the World Health Organization said it… Continue reading

Photos: Three moose spotted in Red Deer Tuesday

Three moose were spotted in Red Deer Tuesday morning. Red Deer resident… Continue reading

Andreescu rockets to No. 24 in WTA Tour rankings after Indian Wells title

Canada’s Bianca Andreescu has rocketed to No. 24 in the WTA Tour… Continue reading

Canadian figure skaters looking to reach new heights at world championships

Nam Nguyen, Alaine Chartrand and Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro all have… Continue reading

Man linked to largest art heist in history freed from prison

HARTFORD, Conn. — A reputed Connecticut mobster who federal authorities believe is… Continue reading

Most Read