In a thrilling turn of events, the Calgary Stampeders displayed a stellar comeback on Monday, romping home with three touchdowns in the fourth quarter to defeat the Edmonton Elks 35-31.
With the Stampeders trailing by 15 points at the end of three quarters, their quarterback, Jake Maier, kindled the first spark of hope with a rushing touchdown. He then launched a touchdown pass to Reggie Begelton in the end zone, fuelling the much-needed momentum. In the closing seconds of the game, Dedrick Mills created history by scoring a game-winning touchdown on a four-yard carry. That play helped Calgary (4-8) snap a disheartening three-game skid.
Notwithstanding the loss, the Elks (2-10) have balanced records since Tre Ford, their Canadian quarterback, took the helm. Rematch for Alberta’s Canadian Football League clubs is slotted for Saturday in Edmonton.
Maier showcased impressive form, closing the game with 27 completions in 34 passes for 315 yards while being intercepted once. Similarly, Rene Paredes of Calgary demonstrated remarkable finesse by landing field goals from 15, 24, 32, and 48 yards distances. The game which was held at the smoky McMahon Stadium, witnessed Cody Grace contributing a punt single before an audience of 26,741.
Ford displayed notable athleticism, rushing for 135 yards on Monday, completing 14 of his 23 passes for 136 yards, and pitching a remarkable touchdown pass in the Labour Day game without an interception. Furthermore, Edmonton’s Steven Dunbar proved to be instrumental with a pair of touchdown receptions while, their third-string quarterback, Taylor Cornelius, secured a one-yard rushing touchdown.
However, the Elks found themselves on the backfoot as the game progressed into the fourth quarter, with the Stampeders narrowing the score to 28-13. Maier’s first touchdown of the game on a five-yard run, paired with a successful Paredes conversion, pulled Calgary within an eight-point deficit.
Despite Faithfull’s 46-yarder that extended the Elks’ lead to 11 points, a crucial pass interference call on Maier’s pass to Begelton turned the tide for Calgary. With just a three-point deficit to cover and a little over two minutes on the clock, the Stampeders successfully seized control of the game with Maier leading an 83-yard drive in 10 plays, aptly rounded off by Mills’ decisive touchdown run.
As the dust of the game settled, both teams reflected on their performance. While Calgary overcame early fumbles and untimely penalties, Edmonton wondered about the potential influence of Ford’s plays that were nullified by penalties. As they gear up for a rematch, the outcome will undoubtedly hinge on a mixture of refined strategies and raw power.
The game endured in spite of the high-risk air quality index, measured at nine out of 10 due to forest fire smoke. CFL’s threshold for a game to proceed had been previously communicated as seven, given the air quality was not projected to deteriorate. Despite a sustained AQI of nine well into the game, the match continued uninterrupted. Both teams will undoubtedly anticipate better playing conditions for their upcoming clash this Saturday.