EDMONTON — A Labour Day rematch game that saw much of the hype go to the quarterbacks turned into a defensive battle instead.
Bo Levi Mitchell made his return from a fractured fibula, but it was the Stamps’ defence that got them a much-needed second win of the season, in a 32-16 triumph over the host Edmonton Elks.
Mitchell didn’t look his usual, accurate self in his first game back, making 22 of 41 passes for 276 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
After steering the Elks’ offence through its best game of the season last week, Trevor Harris made 17 of 25 passes for 221 yards with an interception. Edmonton drops to 2-2 with the loss.
Calgary (2-4) was led by an impressive showing from its defensive line, which sacked Harris seven times, led by Stefen Banks‘ four-sack outing. The normally ferocious Elks’ d-line was only able to get to Mitchell once on the night.
The return of Mitchell and the strong showing by Edmonton’s offence in Calgary on Labour Day didn’t translate to much offensive momentum in the first half. The game’s opening 30 minutes were all about defence and each team’s kickers.
Sean Whyte opened the scoring for the Labour Day rematch with a 30-yard field goal at 8:20 of the first quarter. Rene Paredes responded with a 42-yarder at 13:10, with Whyte opening the second quarter with a field goal from 41-yards out.
Paredes’ 46-yard shot tied the game 6-6 at 7:57 of the second quarter and the veteran Calgary kicker added another field goal, this one from 44 yards out at 13:44, giving his team a 9-6 halftime lead, while bringing a slow moving and penalty-riddled first half to a close. Edmonton was flagged eight times for 60 yards and Calgary took seven penalties for 70 yards.
The game picked up in the second half. It started with Calgary DB Richard Leonard’s interception of Harris. Calgary turned that into a six-play, 49-yard march downfield, culminating in backup Jake Maier forcing his way into the end zone from two yards out. Paredes’ convert and a 35-yard field goal later in the third put Calgary up 19-6.
With Edmonton’s offence still searching for its rhythm, the Elks’ defence made a big contribution to the game. Defensive back Trumaine Washington read a Mitchell pass perfectly, pulling in the interception and running it 47 yards, all the way back to the house, propelling his team back into the game. Whyte’s convert went through 59 seconds into the fourth quarter, making it a 19-16 Calgary lead.
Washington thought he had forced a fumble on Mitchell on Calgary’s subsequent drive, but the command centre determined the play was an incomplete pass. That ruling allowed Parades to line up and connect from 43 yards out at 6:23 of the fourth to put the Stamps up six.
With Edmonton desperate to move the ball upfield in the game’s final two minutes, Banks picked up his fourth sack of the night on Harris, which got the Stamps’ offence back on the field. The unflappable Paredes’ 41-yard field goal made it a two-score game with 56 seconds to play. Shawn Lemon, an Elk for the duration of training camp this year, forced a fumble on Harris to close the game out.
With the ball back in the game’s dying seconds, Mitchell aired out a lengthy TD pass to Kamar Jorden with 10 seconds left on the clock.
Next up for the Stampeders is a trip to Hamilton to face the Tiger-Cats on Friday. The Elks will host the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Saturday.