Stamps make statement with win over Lions

Quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell and the Calgary Stampeders may have the best record in the CFL, but it wasn’t until Friday that he thought his team played a full 60 minutes.

The result was overwhelming to the B.C. Lions, who offered little resistance as Mitchell threw for 340 yards and a pair of touchdowns in a 37-9 trouncing by the 6-1-1 Stampeders.

“This was our first complete game, and when we have a complete game we’re hard to beat,” Mitchell said.

“This was a good game by everybody but we’re not going to get overhyped. We’ve got to be 1-0 next week.”

Mitchell had a 21-game streak where he had thrown at least a touchdown pass stopped last week, but connected with Bakari Grant and Rob Cote for passing scores.

The win gave Calgary a three-point edge over the 5-3 Lions in the West Division standings. More importantly, the Stampeders also claimed the season series tiebreaker against the Lions, who handed Calgary its only loss in the season opener.

“We definitely wanted to come out and make a statement. We feel like we did that,” said Calgary tailback Jerome Messam, who scored one of the Stamps’ two rushing touchdowns.

“We let one slip away in Week 1, so we feel we should be 3-0 (against B.C.).”

B.C. introduced its special teams unit prior to kickoff and captain Jason Arakgi didn’t waste time claiming a league record for tackles, but that was the highlight for the Lions.

Arakgi recorded his 185th career special-teams tackle on the opening kickoff, giving him one more than Wade Miller, who is now president of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

However the Lions offence could only generate three field goals by Richie Leone while Calgary’s Mitchell operated the Stampeders offence with relative ease.

Defensively, the Stampeders were just as good as their quarterback. Calgary held the Lions to just three first downs in the second half and chased starting quarterback Jon Jennings, who was replaced by Travis Lulay.

Despite generating only nine first downs in the opening half, the Lions only trailed 17-9 at intermission. However, Lions returner Chris Rainey fumbled away the opening kickoff of the second half.

At no point did the Lions have anything resembling a response as Jennings had a streak of four straight games with at least 300 passing yards snapped. It was the first time this season the Lions were held without a touchdown, not surprising considering the B.C. offence only had the ball for 22:15.

“One thing about Calgary, they basically take the d-line out of the game,” said Lions defensive tackle Bryant Turner. “It’s so frustrating because no matter how hard you try you’re not making anything happen. They did exactly what they do. We had a bad night.

“Momentum is a huge thing. From the beginning of the game they had momentum. Before you know it we were down three touchdowns.”

The B.C. defence also had to deal with a potential season-ending injury to defensive back Steven Clarke, who suffered a suspected torn ACL in the second half. Clarke had been starting in place of T.J. Lee, who was lost for the year due to the same injury last month.

“It was a good win against a great opponent,” Calgary coach Dave Dickenson said. “But I still think B.C. will be there in the end. It just wasn’t their night. It’s just a good win at this point. Our team knows we need to be better but I like our work ethic.”

B.C. begins a two-game road trip in Ottawa Thursday. Calgary returns home to play host to Hamilton Aug. 28.

– CP

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