BC Lions' Bo Lokombo

Stamps send Lions packing from playoffs

The Calgary Stampeders stayed in the hunt for a second straight Grey Cup with a 35-9 win over the B.C. Lions in Sunday’s division semifinal. The defending champions travel north to Edmonton to meet the Eskimos next Sunday in the CFL’s West Division final. The winner books a berth in this year’s Grey Cup in Winnipeg.

CALGARY — The Calgary Stampeders stayed in the hunt for a second straight Grey Cup with a 35-9 win over the B.C. Lions in Sunday’s division semifinal.

The defending champions travel north to Edmonton to meet the Eskimos next Sunday in the CFL’s West Division final. The winner books a berth in this year’s Grey Cup in Winnipeg.

The provincial rivals tied for the best record in the CFL this season at 14-4, but Edmonton won their season series and thus the playoff bye.

“I think it’s going to be a whale of ball game,” Stampeder head coach John Hufnagel said.

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats edged the Toronto Argonauts 25-22 in the earlier East semifinal. Hamilton meets the Ottawa Redblacks in the East final next Sunday.

The Stampeders will play their seventh division final in eight seasons since Hufnagel became coach and general manager in 2008. He will step aside from coaching next season to make way for offensive co-ordinator Dave Dickenson and continue as GM.

So Sunday’s playoff game was Hufnagel’s last at McMahon Stadium on the Stampeder sidelines.

“We won and that’s a good thing,” Hufnagel said. “I’m very pleased we won the football game, that we can move on and try to earn the right to get to the Grey Cup.”

Stampeder quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell improved to a career 3-0 in CFL playoff starts. The West’s nominee for the league’s Most Outstanding Player award completed 15 of 24 pass attempts for 199 yards and threw a pair of touchdown passes to Eric Rogers.

Running back Jerome Messam ran for a touchdown and posted a combined 147 yards rushing and receiving. Defensive end Keon Raymond ran an interception in for a major in the opening quarter.

Anthony Parker caught a two-point convert throw and Rene Paredes kicked a field goal in front of an announced 26,306. Calgary punter Rob Maver added a pair of singles.

The Lions replied with a trio of Richie Leon field goals. B.C. did not score an offensive touchdown against Calgary this season.

Travis Lulay relieved starting quarterback Jonathon Jennings just before halftime when Jennings suffered broken collarbone. It was Lulay’s first game action since spraining his knee Sept. 3 in Montreal.

Lulay was 10-for-19 in passing for 119 yards, while Jennings went 4-for-7 for 56 yards. Jennings was sacked twice.

“I think the key was field position,” Lions head coach Jeff Tedford said. “I don’t know how many times we started inside our 15-yard line. It was incredible how field position, we could never get out of a hole.”

Kickoff was sunny and windy with a temperature of about 13 degrees. Calgary didn’t want their bid for a second straight Grey Cup to trip on the underdog Lions (7-11).

The Stampeder defence kept the Lions out of the end zone while the offence required a full quarter to get on track.

Hufnagel assisted his defence by winning a challenge on a pass interference call in the first quarter, which prevented the Lions from getting the ball on Calgary’s one-yard line.

B.C. settled for a field goal before Raymond picked off a Jennings pass and scored on a 38-yard return.

But Calgary’s victory was hard on their offensive line.

Injuries to centre Pierre Lavertu and left guard Shane Bergman in the first half had Spencer Wilson moving into the middle and defensive linemen Quinn Smith and Junior Turner rotating onto the offensive line. Smith has experience switching, but Turner had none.

“One thing we didn’t want to do was panic and ruin the game for ourselves,” Hufnagel said.

“Early on, we were struggling offensively. We were trying to hit some home runs and we wanted to stretch the field early. We didn’t connect. We didn’t throw really that much downfield after we suffered the injuries, because, you know, we’re just not going to do that.”

The coach didn’t have an immediate update on Bergman, who appeared to sustain an upper-body injury, or Lavertu, who limped to the sideline in the first quarter.

Wilson took over snapping the ball to Mitchell, who wasn’t sacked in the game despite the unorthodox changes on the offensive line.

“Junior has never practised at O-line,” Mitchell said. “To see that happen, I just kind of blocked it out of my mind and acted like it wasn’t even happening to be honest. If you do, you start thinking about protection too much and start getting your eyes down. Junior and Quinn did a hell of a job.”

Just Posted

Man from Olds killed in collision near Sundre

A 39-year-old man from Olds was killed in a collision near Sundre… Continue reading

Tips to keep crime at bay this Christmas

’Tis the season for joy and celebration, but the Christmas season can… Continue reading

Olympic ski run designer creates upgrades at Canyon Ski Resort

Jeff Ihaksi says free-style and alpine ski venues are Canada Winter Games-worthy

Updated: Collision expert backs version of crash of driver accused of manslaughter

Daniel Newsham accused of manslaughter in fatal 2016 collision

WATCH: More than 100 protest UN migration pact, carbon tax in Red Deer

Chants of “Trudeau must go” echoed through the streets of downtown Red… Continue reading

Tkachuk’s goal in 3rd gives Flames 2-1 win over Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Matthew Tkachuk scored the go-ahead goal midway through… Continue reading

Women use scent to lure wolf-dog that ran away from Calgary airport

EDMONTON — A woman from Alberta is thanking an unconventional strategy for… Continue reading

Suspect in Alberta, Saskatchewan bank robberies to get mental assessment

MEDICINE HAT, Alta. — A former Winnipeg broadcaster and journalism instructor accused… Continue reading

Trudeau to make it harder for future PM to reverse Senate reforms

OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau says his government hopes to make legal changes… Continue reading

No winning ticket for Friday night’s $60 million Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — There was no winning ticket for the $60 million jackpot… Continue reading

All evacuation orders lifted in deadly California wildfire

PARADISE, Calif. — All evacuation orders have been lifted in Paradise more… Continue reading

All aflutter about our feathered friends

Christmas Bird Count will be held Dec. 23

Baylor ties pervade rape case that sparked uproar

DALLAS — The Texas judge who approved a plea deal allowing a… Continue reading

Most Read