Stampeders down BC Lions to clinch playoff berth

VANCOUVER —  The Calgary Stampeders clinched a playoff berth for the 16th straight season after defeating the BC Lions 33-23.

With their win, the Stamps eliminated the Lions from playoff contention and now sit behind the Saskatchewan Roughriders for second place in the West Division by a pair of points.

Bo Levi Mitchell threw for 264 yards and three touchdowns, one of which was to Reggie Begelton who recorded 119 yards in his season debut.

Lions’ running back James Butler put on a show for the hometown crowd rushing for 89 yards. On the other sideline, Ka’Deem Carey led the Stamps’ backfield with 85 rushing yards and a touchdown.

Michel Reilly finished the contest with 340 passing yards and a touchdown.

» Stamps still striving for more
» Through the Lens: Calgary at BC
» Boxscore: Stamps, Lions by the numbers
» Watch: Cottoy makes incredible dive into the house 

Electing to start the game on defence, Dave Dickenson and the Stamps’ offence looked on from the sidelines as Reilly commanded a lengthy opening drive. Following a pass intended for Jevon Cottoy that was broken up by Raheem Wilson in the end zone, the Lions’ eight-play, 58-yard drive was forced to end in a field goal.

In Calgary’s first drive, it took no time at all for Begelton to get his hands on the ball with Mitchell finding him downfield for a 38-yard reception on the first play. Begelton hauled in another ball in the red zone for seven yards before Mitchell connected with Markeith Ambles in the end zone for six points.

BC’s second drive of the game mimicked that of their first with a 10-play, 51-yard drive ending on the foot of Nicholas Vogel who was good on his 39-yard attempt.

Following a Calgary turnover on downs, BC looked to capitalize on the opportunity.

Taking over on their own 47-yard line, it was all Reilly for a span of five plays, throwing for 37 yards and rushing for 12 yards. His efforts led the Lions down into Stamps’ territory. A defensive pass interference call on Richard Leonard in the end zone placed the Leos on the one-yard line. Nathan Rourke captured the lead for the Leos with a QB sneak.

On the ensuing Stamps’ possession, Mitchell continued to get the ball into the hands of Begelton who racked up 21 yards on a jet sweep before hauling in a 15-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 13. Facing a chance to take the lead, Rene Paredes missed the point-after-try wide left.

With zeros on the clock, Paredes sailed a 35-yard attempt through the uprights to put the Stamps up 16-13 at the half.

Receiving the ball to start the second half, the Stamps wasted no time moving the ball downfield.

On a pending BC offside flag, Mitchell took advantage of the free play as he aired it out to Kamar Jorden downfield for a 46-yard reception. Jorden’s 26 yards-after-catch had the Stamps knocking on the door to which Carey walked into the endzone to extend the Stamps’ lead.

Calgary’s defence came up with the first takeaway of the game following a sack by Lenord, Shawn Lemon stripped the ball from Reilly and was recovered by Isaac Adeyemi Berglund.

After Carey dropped a pass from Mitchell on second down, Paredes’ 44-yard field goal attempt extended the Stamps’ lead to 26-13.

Looking to respond, the Lions’ offence turned to the arm of Reilly who completed five straight passes to get the Orange and Black moving down the field with authority. After his sixth attempt for Bryan Burnham fell incomplete on second down, Vogel took the field. His 37-yard field goal widdled the Lions’ lead down to just 10 points.

BC further bit into the Stamps’ lead on their next possession.

After leading the Lions’ offence into Stamps’ territory, Reilly drew a roughing the passer flag but found Cotty for a 16-yard reception along the sideline. Cottoy tiptoed along the sidelines for an additional 12 yards and reached out for the pylon for the touchdown, making it a three-point game.

With a chance to take the lead following a stalled-out Stamps’ drive, Lucky Whitehead‘s 85-yard punt-return touchdown was wiped away by a pair of fouls on the return.

Following a BC two-and-out, Calgary looked to stop the bleeding and took to the air. Linking up with Begelton for 24 yards, the Stamps threatened to score. Mitchell found Malik Henry on the next play for an 18-yard touchdown which extended the Lions’ lead to 10 points.

With under a minute left to play and the Lions positioned in red zone, back-to-back incompletions prompt a third down. Reilly scrambled for the first but was brought down short of the line to gain which sealed the Stamps’ win.

Next up for the Stamps will be a Week 16 matchup at home against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers next Saturday at 7:00 p.m. ET. The Lions will welcome in the Edmonton Elks next Friday for a 10:30 p.m. ET kickoff.

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