Photo Scott Grant / CFLPhotoArchive.com
Photo Scott Grant / CFLPhotoArchive.com

Down three on their own 24 facing third and 10, Eskimos head coach Jason Maas trusted Trevor Harris to get a first down.

He didn’t. Calgary then added a field goal and Edmonton had the ball back with 33 seconds left. They got to the 18, but couldn’t find the end zone. And just like that, Harris suffered yet another defeat at the hands of the Calgary Stampeders, this time by a score of 24-18.

The Battle of Alberta win moves Calgary into a first place tie in the West with Winnipeg at 5-2 setting up a duel for sole possession next week.

The first half of the Week 8 finale was a defensive duel, as much as it was a flag fiesta.

It was a Stampeders penalty which called back a highlight reel Terry Williams punt return touchdown run after an illegal block. That would’ve opened the scoring in the first but instead it was a pair of Rene Paredes field goals that were responsible for the first six, and then nine points. There were only three of the 14 combined drives in the half which didn’t end in punts.

Edmonton had four straight two-and-outs as they stumbled into the halftime break.

They put up just 78 total yards of offence to Calgary’s 128, losing 48 total yards from¬† seven penalties.

Things heated up in a hurry after the slow start. The Stampeders entered the third on a seven quarter stretch without scoring a touchdown.

After a strong start to Nick Arbuckle’s role as the starting quarterback with Bo Levi Mitchell missing time nursing his pectoral, the offence slowed down from a points-scoring perspective. They looked abysmal and lucky to escape with the win in Ottawa last week, while posting two touchdowns on just 276 total yards of offence against Toronto in Week 6.

Then things changed in a hurry.

The Eskimos struck lightning on a Ricky Collins reception from Trevor Harris for the 83-yard score to square things up at nine after an earlier conceded safety.

Then Williams got redemption for the earlier called back punt return touchdown by taking the ensuing kickoff 103 yards right back, and the Stamps claimed a 15-9 lead.

But it wasn’t all flashy special teams. Williams opted to return a missed field goal deep in the end zone rather than conceding the points, before Martese Jackson fumbled the ensuing punt for the Eskimos as Calgary regained possession.

They made Jackson pay for the mistake as Arbuckle found Eric Rogers three plays later for a 25-yard score capping off the third. Arbuckle finished 19-of-28 for 189 yards and a touchdown.

But Harris went right back to work. A few plays after his 13 consecutive completion streak was snapped, he looked to Collins a second time for a 26-yard touchdown. The lead was trimmed to three later as Edmonton capitalized on a Williams kick return fumble which set them up in good field position.

Collins racked up 148 of Harris’ 373 passing yards and both touchdowns.

Whyte’s earlier missed field goal loomed larger as time wound down and the difference was three.

Edmonton’s offence got the ball back twice inside the final two minutes but couldn’t muster up the points they needed.

They’re up against Ottawa at home next week while Calgary takes on Winnipeg.

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Grant Deme
Grant Deme is a reporter and anchor in southwestern Ontario and a lifelong follower of the CFL.