Stampeders 24 Eskimos 21
CALGARY — Patience propelled the Calgary Stampeders to the CFL’s West Division final.
The defending Grey Cup champions outlasted the Edmonton Eskimos 24-21 Sunday.
The Stampeders headed into the second half without a touchdown in four quarters extending back into their regular-season finale in Saskatchewan.
But then receivers Arjei Franklin and Romby Bryant scored their first touchdowns for Calgary since their trade from Winnipeg on Sept. 20 in the third and fourth quarters respectively.
Calgary earned a rematch Sunday with the Saskatchewan Rouighriders (TSN, 2:30 p.m.) in the West final. The ’Riders defeated the visiting Stamps 30-14 last week to earn the post-season bye.
“They beat us last week soundly. Here’s our opportunity to go in and make wrongs a right now,” Calgary quarterback Henry Burris said.
The winner of that game advances to the Grey Cup in Calgary on Nov. 29.
Skyler Green countered for Edmonton with a 93-yard return for a touchdown and quarterback Ricky Ray also scored in the second half in front of 31,356 at McMahon Stadium.
Calgary kicker Sandro DeAngelis made field goals from 21, 20 and 15 yards and Edmonton counterpart Noel Prefontaine was good from nine and 36 yards and added a last-minute single as Calgary led 9-7 at halftime.
The Stampeders ended a three-game losing streak in division semifinals against the Esks dating back to 2005. Calgary went 4-1 against Edmonton this season.
“Our experience came through for us today and the fact you never say a champion is dead until he’s dead,” Burris said. “The guys are resilient in this locker-room.
“Guys continued to plug and get after it for 60 minutes. We knew it was going to be a tough battle. It’s hard to beat a team four times, trust me.”
Neither team turned the football over. Edmonton was working to get within field-goal range with four minutes to go, but two holding penalties kept them deep in their end and then DeVone Claybooks sacked Ray.
Calgary’s offence got back on the field to kill the clock and keep Ray on the sidelines.
“At some point in time we’ve got to step up and make a play in the fourth quarter,” Edmonton coach Ritchie Hall said. “They made the play and we didn’t make the play. Therefore, they’re still playing.”
Calgary running back Joffrey Reynolds, the West Division nominee for the league’s most outstanding player, rushed for 127 yards, which is the fourth-highest in a Stampeder playoff game.
Burris ran 63 yards, completed 19 passes on 32 attempts for 264 yards and threw two touchdown passes. Ray was 18-for-30 and 162 yards, but no TDs.
“We had a couple opportunities there for some deep throws that we just couldn’t connect on,” lamented Ray. “Those are big game-changing plays and we just missed on some of those opportunities.”