The Calgary Stampeders kicked off their 2005 season with a splash, possibly a tidal wave. Torrential rains played havoc with the Stamps and Saskatchewan Roughrider plans for Tuesday night as the nasty weather made playbooks seem irrelevant for the debut of the two teams this year.
Henry Burris returned to Calgary and faces high expectations as the Stamps retool for the New Year, his first play from scrimmage a surprise play that saw him flip the ball off to newcomer Jermaine Copeland who tossed the ball downfield to Nik Lewis catching the Rider secondary sleeping. Considering the state of the conditions it was possibly the perfect call, rather than feeling out the Riders defence the Stamps went right at them. Perhaps it serves as an announcement to the Stamp faithful that last years miscues won’t be repeated, the Stamps are going to go for it from the opening whistle and they did. With a TD reception before the folks could wipe off their seats, the Stamps were 7 up on the Green Riders.
From then on it was like a prize fight as each team slogged through the rain to put points on the board and showcase their talents for the coaches. With CFL training camps limited to two pre season games, the amount of time to impress your coach and secure employment for the year is limited.
Rocky Butler gave comfort to the Rider faithful engineering a 60 yard drive capped by a one yard dive into the end zone to take the lead in the third quarter, but in the end the Stamps would take the lead for good.
The horrid conditions resulted in the kicking game making a difference and Calgary’s Sandro DeAngelis had a heck of a baptism by fire as he nailed four field goals to ensure the Stamps would prevail 18-14 at McMahon Stadium.
The Stamps who are trying to erase the misery of last years debacle are off to a good start, with Burris back in Cowtown and Copeland joining the offence the Stamps have some threats for downfield success. The Riders who just missed heading for a Grey Cup berth last year will once again compete in the West, but the question now may be did they miss their chance at the prize last year. With a rejuvenated Stamps squad and some powerhouses in Edmonton and BC the Riders may be in tough this season.
One game into a preseason and every play seems to count. Not a bad way to kick off the 2005 season!