Calgary Stampeders defeat REDBLACKS for 1st win over 2023 season

OTTAWA — The Calgary Stampeders secured their first win of 2023 on Thursday night as they defeated the Ottawa REDBLACKS 26-15 at TD Place.

With the win Calgary improved to 1-1 on the season, while the REDBLACKS fell to 0-2.

Stampeders quarterback Jake Maier scored a touchdown on the ground as did his running back Dedrick Mills, who started the contest in place of an injured Ka’Deem Carey. Defensive back Branden Dozier also had a touchdown after scooping up a REDBLACKS fumble and running it into the end zone.

Brandin Dandridge scored the lone touchdown for Ottawa in the loss, returning a punt 79 yards to the house. Both Nick Arbuckle and Tyrie Adams saw action at quarterback for the REDBLACKS.

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The REDBLACKS started the game with the ball in their hands and Nick Arbuckle and co. started moving the chains down the field.  Justin Hardy was getting involved in the game early with three plays on the drive, gains of 13, 10, and five yards, respectively, as the REDBLACKS began inching closer to the Calgary end zone.

On the Stamps’ seven yard line, Calgary was called for an offside penalty, pushing Arbuckle and his offence half the distance to the goal. Arbuckle looked for Nate Behar near the goal line from the four, but threw his first incompletion of the contest. Behar was the target once again on their next attempt, but it was incomplete bringing up third down. Ottawa decided to go for it on third, but Titus Wall was in coverage on Behar and knocked the ball away for the first turnover of the contest.

Defences stood strong on the ensuing drives with both teams trading punts. A single was scored on Richie Leone‘s punt, giving the REDBLACKS a 1-0 lead late in the first frame.

It appeared that the first touchdown of the contest was scored by Malik Henry on the first play of the next Calgary drive. However, an offensive pass interference penalty called on Henry, as he pushed off the defender in coverage, negated the score. A few plays later, Calgary did score their first touchdown as Dedrick Mills, who was filling in for an injured Ka’Deem Carey, rushed in for the three-yard score. Tre Odoms-Dukes hauled in the two-point convert, giving Calgary a 8-1 lead just as the opening 15 minutes expired.

On second and one in the second quarter, REDBLACKS quarterback Tyrie Adams came into the game on short yardage looking for the first down, but instead the ball popped loose. Branden Dozier scooped it up and ran it into the end zone for the score. With Paredes’ completed convert, the Stampeders took a 15-1 lead with about 10 minutes left in the first half.

Ottawa’s ensuing drive was a two-and-out, forcing Leone to punt the ball away. Peyton Logan caught the punt but Alonzo Addae ripped the ball away from the Stampeders returner and Adam Auclair jumped on the loose ball, bringing Arbuckle and co. right back onto the field at the Calgary 11 yard line.

The REDBLACKS scored a field goal from the turnover, as Lewis Ward split the uprights with a 13-yard attempt. That score cut Calgary’s lead to 15-4 with six and a half minutes left in the quarter.

Auclair caught an interception inside the three minute warning, hauling in a pass that went off Reggie Begelton‘s hands. The momentum went right back into the Stampeders direction, however, as Micah Awe, who had tallied the first sack of the Stampeders’ season earlier in the half, picked off Arbuckle on the first throw of the REDBLACKS drive.

With a minute left in the half, Brandin Dandridge returned a punt for six, the team’s first major score of the 2023 campaign. The defensive back/returner ran it 79 yards down the field for the score and with the two-point convert complete to Hardy, the REDBLACKS cut Calgary’s lead to 15-12 with 44 seconds on the clock.

Adams finished off the first half at quarterback for the REDBLACKS and started the second in place of Arbuckle.

On the Stampeders’ second possession of the third quarter, Maier and co. began on their own 22 yard line and moved the chains deep into Ottawa territory. On the REDBLACKS’ eight yard line, Mills scampered to the two but was stopped in his tracks by Damon Webb. Maier then called his own number, pushing forward into the end zone for the touchdown. The nine-play, 88-yard drive was capped off with a Paredes convert, increasing the Stampeders lead to 22-12 with six minutes left in the quarter.

As the end of the third quarter was nearing, the fans at TD Place had something to cheer about as Adams aired it out 50 yards to Quan Bray for a chunk play to bring the REDBLACKS to the Stampeders’ side of mid field. After a three-yard gain from Behar, Adams looked for Acklin but the pass was incomplete. Head coach Bob Dyce challenged that there was pass interference on the play but it was unsuccessful.

That brought out Ward to try for a 45-yard field goal but his attempt was wide and the Stampeders held their 22-12 lead as the third frame came to a close.

Another point was added to the Stampeders lead (23-12) midway through the fourth quarter as Cody Grace‘s punt sailed into the end zone for the rouge.

Starting on their own 40-yard line, Adams and the REDBLACKS moved down the field and into Calgary territory on the ensuing drive. Once on the 13-yard line, Adams looked for Hardy in the back corner of the end zone but Jonathan Moxey was called for defensive pass interference. Head coach Dave Dickenson threw the challenge flag. The challenge was successful and it was determined there was no infraction on the play, bringing up second down.

Adams looked for Hardy again, this time on the other side of the end zone, but Kobe Williams was in coverage and knocked the ball out of his hands. Ward booted a 21-yard field goal, cutting Calgary’s lead 23-15 with just over four minutes left in the game.

Calgary added a field goal inside the three minute warning as Paredes connected on his 13-yard attempt, increasing their lead to 26-15.

Tre Roberson picked off Adams on the REDBLACKS’ ensuing drive, bringing Maier back onto the field to close out the game.

Next up for the REDBLACKS is a Week 3 bye while the Stampeders host the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Saturday night at McMahon Stadium.

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