Bring on the Lions: Riders edge Stamps
REGINA – The Saskatchewan Roughriders earned their first home playoff win in 30 years Sunday with a 26-24 victory over the Calgary Stampeders in the CFL’s Western semifinal.
Kicker Luca Congi kicked six field goals and quarterback Kerry Joseph threw a touchdown pass to D.J. Flick on the second play of the game for the Roughriders, who hosted their first playoff game since 1988 but hadn’t won one in Regina in since 1976.
Saskatchewan moves onto the Western final next Sunday in Vancouver against division-winner B.C. Lions.
The Stampeders lost in the Western semifinal for the third straight season.
Trey Young scored off an interception in the first half. Calgary quarterback Henry Burris twice threw touchdown passes to Ken-Yon Rambo in the second half. Stamps kicker Sandro DeAngelis kicked one field goal.
In the Eastern Conference semifinal, Troy Westwood’s field goal gave Winnipeg a 24-22 win over the Montreal Alouettes. The Blue Bombers advance to Sunday’s Eastern final against the Toronto Argonauts.
The Grey Cup is in Toronto on Nov. 25.
Burris’s 16-yard pass to Rambo with 53 seconds left pulled Calgary with two points, but the Stamps weren’t able to get the ball back for a field-goal attempt.
Congi was named to the CFL’s West Division all-star squad last week, but was removed from it three days later in favour of Calgary’s Sandro DeAngelis after a tabulation error was discovered.
He made six of eight attempts Sunday and his sixth, a 10-yarder at 9:29 of the fourth quarter, was the difference.
DeAngelis didn’t get out onto the field for a field-goal attempt until late in the third quarter. He was good from 18 yards to pull the visitors within five points.
After a 7-for-13 first half, Burris threw his first touchdown pass early in the third quarter with a 39-yarder to Rambo.
The Stamps’ pivot was stopped on a third-and-one-yard attempt for a first down later in the quarter, which gave the ball to Saskatchewan on Calgary’s 38-yard line.
Calgary head coach Tom Higgins challenged the call, but the Roughriders kept the ball and Congi kicked his fifth field goal of the game from 37 yards.
Saskatchewan quarterback Kerry Joseph, the West’s nominee for the league’s MVP, found the holes in Calgary’s secondary to work the Roughriders into field-goal position, which drew chants of “M-V-P” from the ‘Rider faithful.
The Saskatchewan defence was superior in this game as they clamped down on Calgary’s receivers and held Calgary running back Joffrey Reynolds to a handful of yards.
The game had been long sold out, with 28,800 tickets sold within 30 minutes of a general call to buy on Oct. 29.< The temperature at kickoff in Regina was nine degrees and the skies were mostly sunny. The hard northwest wind gusting to 60 kilometres per hour across Mosaic Stadium died to barely a breeze by the fourth quarter. Congi took advantage of the wind behind him in the first quarter for field goals from 48 and 49 yards and was then wide on a 50-yard attempt. He had the wind against him in the second quarter but was good from 16 and 40 yards. The Stampeders' offence in the first half was limited to a touchdown off Dwaine Carpenter's interception in their end-zone. Carpenter ran the ball 74 yards out and tossed it over to Young, who finished the major with a 39-yard run. Burris worked the Stamps 50 yards downfield in the first quarter only to have his attempted touchdown pass to Rambo picked off by Eddie Davis in the end zone. Saskatchewan scored on the first play after the kickoff when Joseph connected with Flick on a 62-yard play for a touchdown. Joseph completed 23 of 35 passing attempts for 391 yards and one touchdown pass. He also rushed for 109 yards. Burris was 20-for-36 for 323 yards and two touchdown passes.
Bring on the Lions: Riders edge Stamps