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Stampeders pounce on Lions for 30-6 pre-season win

Calgary Stampeders quarterback Jake Maier (12) looks for a receiver during first half CFL preseason football action against the B.C. Lions in Calgary, Saturday, May 25, 2024. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh) Calgary Stampeders quarterback Jake Maier (12) looks for a receiver during first half CFL preseason football action against the B.C. Lions in Calgary, Saturday, May 25, 2024. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh)
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An early heads-up play by Marken Michel was all the Calgary Stampeders needed to propel them to a 30-6 pre-season win over the B.C. Lions at McMahon Stadium on Saturday.

Following a 30-minute lightning delay, starting quarterback Jake Maier engineered a nine-play, 72-yard drive that culminated with him tossing a 35-yard touchdown pass to Michel at 5:44 of the first quarter.

Michel made a diving catch to haul in a 30-yard pass from Maier at the B.C. five-yard line, before he quickly got up and ran untouched into the end zone.

“Marken’s made that catch diving over the middle a handful of times in camp already,” said Maier, who credited his receiver for his experience to know the play wasn’t dead.

“It’s not college, so you’ve got to be touched. Honestly, even if he was touched, he would have got up and sold it anyway, because he wants to score. That was big for us. It got us a touchdown on our first drive.”

A review was needed to determine that Michel wasn’t touched by either of the Lions’ defenders in the area when he hit the ground.

“I just didn’t feel any hands on me, so I was like, ‘Man, get up and get in the end zone’,” said Michel, who finished the game with three catches for 48 yards.

“Honestly, a lot of those guys that were out there today (for the Lions) are young and they’re coming from college. The rules in college are a little different. Once you hit the ground, you’re down. With that in mind, a lot of them might be thinking that. Once I hit the ground, they’re probably not thinking to touch me.”

B.J. Emmons had a pair of rushing touchdowns in the second half to put the game away for the Stamps, who will wrap up their pre-season schedule with a road game against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers next Friday.

“It feels great,” said Emmons, who had nine carries for 39 yards. “It’s just God doing everything that he can for me. It wasn’t easy getting here. It took a lot of trust from my teammates and my coaches to put me in this position.”

Rene Parades kicked a pair of field goals for the Stampeders, while his backup Campbell Fair also connected for one late in the game.

“We were the fresher team,” admitted Calgary coach Dave Dickenson. “We had a huge roster compared to them. I thought it should have been the case; we should have worn them down and we did.”

A total of five quarterbacks suited up for the Stamps. In addition to Maier, Matt Shiltz, Tommy Campbell, Logan Bonner and Kyle Vantrease all had a chance to show off their skills for Dickenson.

Fielding a roster primarily of rookies hoping to make an impression on head coach Rick Campbell, the Lions struggled offensively during the game and had to settle for a pair of field goals by Carl Meyer.

While Jake Dolegala started at quarterback for B.C., Dakota Prukop and Chase Brice also saw action under centre for the Lions.

The Lions had a chance to score a touchdown as time expired, but Brice fumbled the ball at the one-yard line and it was recovered by Stamps’ defensive lineman Cody Roscoe to end the game.

“I wish we could have got into the end zone a little bit, but a lot of stuff to work on,” said Brice, who played the second half and completed 10 of 16 passes for 128 yards. “I just bobbled it. Stuff happens.”

The Lions return home to Vancouver to host the Edmonton Elks in their final exhibition game next Friday.

Late in the first quarter, Calgary’s Kobe Williams made a nice defensive play by leaping into the air to knock down a pass thrown by Dolegala.

The Stamps had a pair of opportunities to build their lead early in the second quarter, but came away empty-handed on both occasions.

Facing a third-and-one situation on B.C.’s four-yard line, Stevens elected to keep the ball and was tackled for a one-yard loss resulting in a turnover on downs.

Then on Calgary’s next drive, a 44-yard field goal attempt by Paredes sailed wide to the right of the uprights.

After completing seven of 12 passes for 98 yards and a touchdown, Maier was pulled from the game partway through the second quarter.

He was replaced by Shiltz, who marched the Stamps down the field and into B.C. territory on his first two drives, which resulted in field goals by Paredes from 22 and 47 yards out.

Late in the first half, a pair of rookie B.C. receivers made nice catches to set up a 42-yard field goal by Meyer with no time remaining on the clock. Prukop fired a 19-yard strike to Jeff Sample before Stan Berryhill hauled in a 16-yard pass to set up the scoring play.

At 11:02 of the third quarter, Emmons capped off a five-play, 51-yard drive by scampering into the end zone for a five-yard touchdown. The rookie running back capped off his impressive run by doing a front flip over the goal line and into the end zone.

“God closes one door and he opens up another one, so I found the end zone and I was able to put points on the board for my team,” said Emmons, who first went to the right and had to break a tackle before he turned around and ran the other way for the score.

Emmons then put an explanation point on a seven-play, 53-yard drive by the Stamps — this time primarily engineered by quarterback Bonner — by running for a six-yard TD at 6:19 of the fourth quarter.

Meyer booted a 33-yard field goal at 9:51 before Fair split the uprights from 30 yards out with 1:56 remaining in the game.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 25, 2024.

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