Stampeders 35 Eskimos 34
EDMONTON — Once again, the rival Edmonton Eskimos and Calgary Stampeders went down to the wire at Commonwealth Stadium. This time, it was the Stampeders that came out on top.
Jeremaine Copeland reeled in his second touchdown of the game with just 22 seconds to play as the Stampeders came from behind to beat the Eskimos 35-34 on Friday.
The last time the two teams met in Edmonton on Aug. 13, Fred Stamps caught a pass with just three seconds left to give Edmonton a 38-35 win.
This time around it was Edmonton leading 34-28 in the final minute of play before Calgary quarterback Henry Burris engineered a long 84-yard drive to earn the one-point victory, finished off with an 18-yard toss to Copeland.
“It was almost like a case of deja vu to have another game come down to the end here,” Burris said. “It was nice to have a chance to make amends for the last time. We had confidence the defence was going to be able to get the ball back. And when we did we made up our minds to do whatever it would take to make sure we won it this time.”
It was the third win in a row for the Stamps (6-4) who broke a three-way deadlock to take sole possession of first place in the CFL’s West Division.
It wasn’t perfect but head coach John Hufnagel will take it.
“It was a very sloppy game that we played and we can’t hide that fact,” he said. “What I do like is that it was the Monday-Friday game. It could have been very easy for our football team to say at the 58-minute mark, well we just didn’t get it done tonight. But their will to win was very strong tonight. They made some exceptional plays at the end to win it.”
The Stampeders swept the home-and-home series with the rival Eskimos after a 32-8 win in Calgary on Labour Day.
“These last two games hurt,” said Edmonton quarterback Ricky Ray. “They were big games against our biggest rival. To lose both is a tough thing. We just have to come back strong because we have two more big games coming up. We have to try and put these games behind us and come back.”
The Eskimos (5-5) slipped into a second place tie with Saskatchewan in the West with the loss.
“We just didn’t get it done in the fourth quarter,” said Eskimos head coach Richie Hall. “We had a two-score lead and we couldn’t close it out. It’s disappointing.”
The Edmonton secondary, who didn’t record an interception in the first seven games of the season, came up big again just minutes later as T.J. Hill picked off Burris and then dished the ball off to Maurice Lloyd, who rambled 32 yards to the Calgary seven. It eventually led to a one-yard push into the end zone by Matthieu Bertrand and a 24-17 Eskimos lead five minutes into the third. The Eskimos kept coming midway through the quarter as Tristan Jackson broke several tackles for a 63-yard punt return to the Calgary 31, leading to another Prefontaine field goal and a 10-point advantage.
Calgary quickly responded with a DeAngelis field goal set up by a 45-yard passing strike to Copeland.
The Eskimos caught a massive break on the final play of the third quarter as Ryan bobbled yet another punt and the ball bounced off a helmet and into the waiting arms of Kai Ellis who sprinted 40 yards for the special teams touchdown and a 34-20 Edmonton lead.
Calgary got a point on a missed 42-yard field goal attempt and then closed to within six points midway through the fourth on a four-yard TD run by Burris to put Calgary within range for their late stage comeback.
Calgary suits up again next Friday in Hamilton while the Eskimos next see action next Sunday in Saskatchewan.