Stampeders, Redblacks Prevail To Advance To Canada’s Grey Cup

The Ottawa Redblacks are heading back to the Grey Cup where they will face the Calgary Stampeders, 2014 Grey Cup champions after both teams won their semifinals on Sunday. The Redblacks survived a late scare to defeat the defending champion Edmonton Eskimos 35-23 while Calgary dismantled the BC Lions 45-13.

Ottawa Redblacks 35 – Edmonton Eskimos 23

Ottawa RedBlacks' Greg Ellingson (82) makes dodges the Edmonton Eskimos' defenders J.C. Sherritt (47) and Phillip Hunt (54) to deliver a touchdown during first half CFL eastern final action, in Ottawa on Sunday, November 20, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Ottawa RedBlacks’ Greg Ellingson (82) dodges the Edmonton Eskimos’ defenders J.C. Sherritt (47) and Phillip Hunt (54) to deliver a touchdown during first half CFL eastern final action, in Ottawa on Sunday, November 20, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Playing in front of 24, 248 fans at TD Place in Ottawa, the Redblacks overcame a furious snowstorm and a late-game Eskimos comeback behind the running of Kienan La France. LaFrance rushed for 157 yards in the slippery conditions and scored the game-sealing touchdown late in the contest after replacing starter Mossis Madu in the first quarter.

Henry Burris threw first-half touchdown passes to Khalil Paden and Greg Ellingson while Ray Early kicked two field goals in place of the injured Chris Milo. Burris also threw an interception, finishing with 246 yards on 15-of-26 passing.

Mike Reilly threw three touchdown passes for the Eskimos, including two to Adarius Bowman, in a furious comeback effort by the visiting Eskimos, ending up with 340 yards on 20-of-41 passing with no turnovers.

Ottawa took advantage of the treacherous conditions and jumped out to a 17-3 halftime lead on touchdowns by Ellingson and Ken Paden. Early kicked a 36 yard field goal in the driving snow to open the scoring.

The Redblacks then extended the lead to 25-3 midway through the third quarter after Tristan Jackson returned an Eskimo punt 76 yards for a touchdown.

That’s when Reilly went to work connecting with Bowman on an 6 yard touchdown reception to narrow the gap to 25-10 to end the third. Then he found Chris Getzlaf and Bowman again sandwiching a Redblack field goal and suddenly Ottawa was clinging to a 28-23 lead with just over three minutes to go.

Henry Burris took charge marching Ottawa on a seven play 70 yard drive culminating with LaFrance scampering into the end zone from 20 yards out and Early added the PAT to increase the lead to 35-23 with less than a minute to go.

Reilly was not done yet though completing two 35 yard passes to Brandon Zylstra and Walker to bring the ball to Ottawa’s 19 yard line with 11 seconds left. That was it. Three straight incompletions ended the game and Ottawa was heading back to the Grey Cup.

Calgary Stampeders 42 – BC Lions 15

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The Calgary Stampeders dominated the BC Lions from the opening whistle taking a 35-0 halftime lead and cruising to a 42-15 easy win in the Western Conference final with 32,115 roaring fans looking on at McMahon Stadium in Calgary.

The Stampeders earned their second Grey Cup berth in three years with the win.

Quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell was sharp from the opening kickoff completing 21 of 28 passes for 365 yards and three touchdowns in the win. Meanwhile, DaVaris Daniels and Marquay McDaniel both had over 100 yards receiving on the day.

BC Lions signal caller Jonathon Jennings was 17 of 24 for 206 yards and a touchdown but was relieved in the third quarter without putting a point up on the board, by Travis Lulay who completed six of nine passes for 86 yards and another score.

Following an opening quarter which saw Calgary take an early 8-0 lead with the Lions playing even, the Stampeders exploded for 22 more points in the second with the offense generating two along with a field goal and the defense picking off Jennings for a pick six.

BC’s defense managed to keep Mitchell and the Calgary offense in check throughout the third quarter but only could muster one touchdown to close the gap to 32-7 entering the final stanza. Calgary added another touchdown on a Mitchell to Lemar Durant pass to move out to a 39-7 lead. Rene Paredes kicked a 34 yard field goal with less than three minutes left to give Calgary a 42-7 lead.

Jennings finally completed his first touchdown pass of the day to Chris Rainey with 1:50 remaining to close to 42-13. Calgary punter Rob Maver wisely took a safety on the ensuing series to round out the scoring.

 

 

Roger Kelly
Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.
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