Calgary Stampeders clinch first in West with solid win over BC Lions

VANCOUVER – The Calgary Stampeders earned a week off with their 26-9 victory over the BC Lions on Saturday night to cap off the 2018 CFL regular season. The Stamps spoiled legendary Lions coach Wally Buono’s final home game of his storied career and sealed the 2018 regular season with a commanding victory.

Bo Levi Mitchell took care of business early and often, completing 20 passes for 278 yards and a touchdown to head into the post-season with momentum after some late-season troubles. The Lions, however, will have to regroup quickly before they kick off the playoffs next weekend in Hamilton after a poor showing.

Travis Lulay completed just 63 per cent of his passes and threw two picks in one half of work.

On the opening play of the game, Lulay found Cory Watson for a 35-yard completion, and after a 42-yard punt by Ty Long, the Stamps were pinned at their own five yard line. But Mitchell, playing in Calgary’s final regular season game for the first time, connected with Bakari Grant and William Langlais for two big plays to set up Rene Paredes for a 52 yard field goal.

After three productive catches for Bryan Burnham, B.C. seemed to be forming a solid response until Ciante Evans picked off Lulay to halt the drive. The Stamps made B.C. pay for the turnover, as they propelled up the field with a 42-yard reception by Juwan Brescacin. Calgary settled for a field goal and a 6-0 lead.

Following a quick two-and-out by the Lions, the Stampeders capped off the first quarter with a highlight-reel catch by Chris Matthews to set up a one-yard touchdown run by Don Jackson, putting Calgary up 12-0 after the opening quarter.

Following three punts to start the second quarter, the Stamps chipped their way up the field on a long drive filled with small but productive gains. Mitchell eventually found Markeith Ambles for a 10-yard touchdown catch to put Calgary up 19-0.

The Stamps added two more field goals in the final 40 seconds of the quarter to build a 25-0 lead at halftime.

At that point, Buono started to turn his focus to next week’s playoff game and took Lulay and other starters out of the game.

Neither team came close to scoring throughout the third quarter until an errant long snap on a Calgary punt bounced into the end zone and put two points on the board for the Lions.

The safety sparked the BC’s offence, which came out gunning after the score with their best drive of the game. Quarterback Jonathan Jennings connected with DeVier Posey for a 40-yard gain, and Cody Fajardofinished it off with a one-yard touchdown run to cut the lead to 25-9.

The Lions could not inch any closer, however, and the Stamps padded on a rouge for good measure to secure the win and the division title.

The Stampeders (13-6) earned a date with their couches next weekend to await the winner of Winnipeg and Saskatchewan’s playoff game. The Lions (9-9) will get ready to hit the road and face the Hamilton Tiger Cats in the cross-over playoff showdown.

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