CFL: Stampeders win a thriller over Roughriders to close out Week 6

REGINA — The Calgary Stampeders and the Saskatchewan Roughriders have quickly become experts at providing the ingredients for an instant classic.

This time it was Stamps that eked out a thrilling narrow win, with kicker Rene Parades sending a 50-yard walkoff field goal through the uprights to cement a 33-31 triumph over the Riders at Mosaic Stadium.

The field goal managed to top a night that saw two return touchdowns from Saskatchewan’s Mario Alford and a Hail Mary miracle touchdown reception from Riders’ receiver Tevin Jones that had the masses at Mosaic convinced their team had fought its way to another win this season. On Saturday night, it was the Stamps that avenged their overtime loss to the Riders in Week 3.

The bad news ran deeper than just the loss for the Riders. Trevor Harris suffered a leg injury that required him to leave the game. Mason Fine made 6-8 passes for 122 yards and two touchdowns in quick relief of Harris. Jake Maier made 26-37 passes for 315 yards, two touchdowns with an interception for the Stamps, who had lost two in a row.

The Riders got things going on special teams to open the scoring. Mario Alford took a Cody Grace punt back 67 yards, showing great patience as he neared the end zone by waiting for blockers to allow him to keep his run alive. The reigning Most Outstanding Special Teams Player in 2022 showed why he won the award, as he tightroped the sideline to stay in bounds and hurled himself into the end zone. Brett Lauther‘s convert made it a 7-0 game at 5:12.

Maier and the Stamps had a chance to tie the game late in the first quarter. After connecting with Luther Hakunavanhu for a 48-yard gain to get to the Riders’ 22-yard line, Maier was unable to connect with Reggie Begelton in the end zone. Rene Paredes’ 28-yard field goal made it a 7-3 game with five seconds left in the opening quarter.

After Lauther hit a 36-yard field goal at 3:03 of the second quarter to push the Saskatchewan lead back to seven, Paredes responded with a 51-yard field goal at the five-minute mark to inch his team closer to the Riders. Maier, with his offence in a good rhythm in the game’s early going, did his part to produce next.

Maier led an 11-play, 92-yard drive that he finished off by finding Tommylee Lewis for a seven-yard touchdown connection; the receiver’s first in the CFL. Paredes’ convert went through at 12:23 and put the Stamps in front for the first time in the game, at 13-10.

Photo: Matt Smith/

The Stamps’ offence continued to hum along, as Maier led his crew on another touchdown drive to close out the half. Fuelled by a turnover forced by defensive lineman James Vaughters and recovered by fellow d-lineman Mike Rose, Maier needed seven plays to cover the 43 yards to get back to the end zone. He found Luther Hakunavanhu open in the end zone for his second TD toss of the game. Paredes’ extra point with four seconds left on the clock gave the guests at Mosaic a 20-10 halftime lead.

The Stamps thought they had opened up a bigger lead early in the third quarter when Lewis reached the end zone on a return, only to have it called back on an illegal block. As the night began to take the form of a back-and-forth slugfest, Alford and the Riders swung back with a special teams effort of their own.

Alford took another Stamps punt all the way back at 8:11 of the third quarter. The 92-yard return was flawless, as he went untouched to the end zone. The confident returner also fulfilled a prediction from his halftime interview. With his team trailing and the Stamps with momentum, he told TSN’s Brit Dort that he’d score again in the game.

“It’s all good, I’m going to bounce back,” he said. “I’m going to put some more points on the board.”

Sure enough, he walked his talk into the end zone for the second time in the game. Lauther’s convert made it a 20-17 Calgary lead that stretched into the fourth quarter.

In need of a big play, the Riders’ defence pulled in the first interception of the game. Deontai Williams slid in to make the play after a Maier pass had bounced off of Jeremy Clark‘s chest. With the Riders facing second-and-17, Harris ran in search of the first down. He twisted his leg as he was taken down and required immediate attention afterward.

The veteran QB was carted off of the field to a standing ovation from the fans at Mosaic Stadium. Fine took over at quarterback.

The drive ended with the team turning to Lauther for a 54-yard field goal attempt to tie, but the veteran kicker was slightly wide on it. Stamps rookie Clark Barnes provided a huge missed field goal return, getting the Stamps’ 86 yards downfield, to the Riders’ 24-yard line. Dedrick Mills made good use of the short field, running the ball in for his first touchdown of the night. Paredes’ convert pushed the Calgary lead back to 10, at 27-17, with under five minutes to play.

Photo: Matt Smith/

With their backs against the wall, the Riders shows they had some fight in them. Fine led the Riders down the field and got some spectacular work from running back Jamal Morrow, who hurdled a defender on one play, then ran the ball into the end zone to finish the six-play, 61-yard drive with a six-yard run. Lauther’s convert cut the Stamps’ lead to four, at 27-23 with under three minutes to go.

In need of a big play, Maier came up with one. He scrambled and found Begelton wide open for a 39-yard catch. The drive ended with a Paredes 34-yard field goal that doubled the Stamps’ lead to six with 95 seconds to play. The Stamps wisely kicked away from Alford, going to Frankie Hickson, who got the Riders to their 29-yard line. A penalty pushed the Riders up 15 yards, setting them up at their own 54-yard line.

The Stamps’ defensive line came through for them, getting to Fine twice to leave the Riders in third-and-24 at their own 40. It was all the Riders needed. Fine’s desperation pass bounced off of two Stamps’ defenders and into Jones’ hands. He ran the ball in for a 69-yard touchdown that left Mosaic Stadium shaking. Lauther’s convert put the Riders up 31-30 with 42 seconds left.

Working against the clock, Maier looked deep to Marken Michel but threw the ball out of bounds at the sideline. On second down, he found Hakunavanhu to keep the drive alive, getting to the Riders’ 51-yard line. With seven seconds to play, Maier found Tre Odoms-Dukes to get to the Riders’ 43-yard line, which set up Parades for his 50-yard game-winning attempt. The veteran kicker nailed it, sucking the air out of the packed stadium and capping a wild night.

The Riders are in action again on Saturday, July 22 when they head to BC Place to face the Lions. The Stamps host the Ottawa REDBLACKS on Sunday, July 23.

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