Stampeders 30 Eskimos 7
CALGARY — Romby Bryant didn’t get into the end zone on Friday night, but he still got rave reviews from his coach.
The Calgary receiver caught nine balls for 211 yards to pace the Stampeders to a 30-7 win over the Edmonton Eskimos.
“He made some outstanding catches,” said Calgary coach and general manager John Hufnagel, who acquired Bryant from the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in a multi-player deal Sept. 20.
“He played with great effort and got some yards on his own. That’s what you need. We needed to utilize his speed and he’s getting more comfortable with the offence.”
Bryant hauled in three catches of more than 40 yards, including a 47-yard gain to set up a one-yard touchdown plunge by quarterback Henry Burris in the fourth quarter.
The six-foot-one, 191-pound Bryant also had a 46-yard catch later in the fourth to give the Stampeders a first down on the Edmonton 12-yard line.
“I was trying my hardest to get it in the house,” said Bryant, who was pleased nonetheless to see Joffrey Reynolds run for a four-yard score two plays later.
“I’m proud of them,” said Bryant of his teammates capitalizing with touchdowns. “I set’em up, they knock’em down.”
Reynolds finished the game with a pair of touchdown runs for the Stampeders (9-6-1), who clinched a playoff berth and took over sole possession of first place in the CFL’s West Division for the time being.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders (8-6-1) host the B.C. Lions (8-7) on Saturday afternoon.
Burris, who completed 22-of-33 passes for 346 yards, tossed a touchdown to Rob Cote and ran for another, while Burke Dales kicked a pair of singles.
All the Eskimos (7-9) could manage was a pair of field goals and a single from kicker Noel Prefontaine.
Edmonton quarterback Ricky Ray went 25-of-40 for 239 yards as the Eskimos finished the season with a 1-3 record against their provincial rivals.
“We have to clean up our mistakes,” said Ray. “We cannot keep any kind of rhythm and we have to make plays.”
The Eskimos put together a 12-play, 59-yard drive in the first quarter, but had to settle for Prefontaine’s 18-yard field goal.
After Dales kicked a 52-yard single early in the second, Prefontaine booted a field goal from 25 yards out to put Edmonton up 6-1.
“We had drives early in the game and we came away with field goals instead of touchdowns,” lamented Ray.
Burris then engineered an eight-play, 77-yard drive that culminated with a six-yard TD pass to Cote. On the drive, Bryant made a pair of catches for gains of 20 and 40 yards to get Calgary deep into Edmonton territory.
Dales added a 53-yard single to give the Stamps a 9-6 lead at halftime.
After the Edmonton offence went two-and-out to start the third quarter, the Stamps reeled off a seven-play, 75-yard drive capped off by a 13-yard touchdown run by Reynolds.
“This was a good overall team win, the type of win that you need at this point in the season,” said Reynolds, who credited the Calgary defence with keeping the Edmonton offence off balance.
Later in the third, the Eskimos then had to settle for a single after Prefontaine missed a 34-yard field goal.
Calgary put the game away in the fourth with touchdowns by Burris and Reynolds.
“We could not get any momentum on our side,” said Edmonton running back Arkee Whitlock, who had eight carries for 71 yards.
“They executed and we did not. That is the end of the story.”
NOTES: After going 7-2 at home in 2008, the Stamps finished with a 6-2-1 at McMahon Stadium in 2009. a Reynolds now has 50 career touchdowns (42 rushing, eight receiving) to move him past Willie Burden into sole possession of seventh spot on the all-time Stamps list.