Stampeders defence frustrates Harris, Redblacks as Calgary remains perfect

Ciante Evans swung momentum for the Calgary Stampeders at a critical time in a 24-14 win over the Ottawa Redblacks on Thursday.

His team up 10-7 in the fourth quarter, the Stampeder cornerback reversed Redblacks star receiver Diontae Spencer at the one-yard line with a punishing hit.

An inspired defensive line then stuffed Ottawa’s Dominique Davis attempting a one-yard plunge over the goal-line.

The Stampeders stopped taking penalties and started scoring at that point with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns en route to a third straight win to open the season.

“Ciante is not a big guy, but he’s just really fearless,” head coach Dave Dickenson said.

“I think the defence got fired up after seeing Ciante make that big hit to keep him out and we kept them out on third-and-one.”

Evans was not available post-game as he was on the trainer’s table dealing with what Dickenson said were rib and ankle issues.

Defensive tackle Micah Johnson confirmed Evans denying Spencer fired up the line on the subsequent third-and-goal.

“We felt like we really had a second chance and didn’t want that big play he just made go in vain,” Johnson said.

Eric Rogers and Kamar Jorden had touchdown catches, Don Jackson ran for a touchdown and Rene Paredes kicked a 22-yard field goal for the host team in front of an announced 23,454 at McMahon Stadium.

Greg Ellingson had a touchdown catch for Ottawa (1-1). Kicker Lewis Ward was good from 40 and 28 yards and Richie Leone added a 63-yard punt single.

Stampeder quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell surpassed a career 20,000 passing yards in the second quarter, making him the third Stampeder quarterback to do so after Henry Burris (32,191) and Doug Flutie (20,551).

Mitchell completed 19 of 35 pass attempts for 251 yards. He threw a pair of touchdown passes and was intercepted once.

Ottawa counterpart Trevor Harris was 13-for-29 for 135 yards and was picked off once before giving way to Dominique Davis in the fourth quarter. Davis threw a nine-yard pass to Ellingson to score late in the quarter.

“It’ll fester tonight,” Ottawa head coach Rick Campbell said. “It was there for the taking in the fourth quarter.

“That’s what it comes down to with good teams like Calgary is who makes plays in the fourth quarter coming down the home stretch. They did. We didn’t.”

The Redblacks and Stampeders had each produced more than 300 passing yards and 40 and 41 points respectively in their previous games.

But Thursday’s game was deadlocked 7-7 deep into the third quarter. The Stampeders took 150 yards in penalties to Ottawa’s 59.

“Normally we won’t win with that many penalties,” Dickenson said. “We just happened to make some huge plays stopping them and winning the turnover battle.”

Calgary’s coach said Redblacks linebacker Kyries Hebert should have been ejected from the game because of a high tackle on receiver DaVaris Daniels in the third quarter.

“That was an easy throw-out,” Dickenson said. “It’s the league talking about player safety and they should have thrown him out. End of the line.”

Ottawa led 6-0 in the second quarter on a pair of Ward field goals when Calgary defensive end Folarin Orimolade knocked down a Harris pass for Harris to grab on Ottawa’s 10-yard line.

Mitchell’s five-yard touchdown throw to Rogers in the end zone to cap the drive was the duo’s third touchdown in two games.

“Hats off to the entire defence the entire game,” Mitchell said.

Calgary has a bye week before travelling to Ottawa for a game July 12 The Redblacks are on the road July 6 against Montreal before the rematch at home.

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