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Calgary Stampeders

Stampeders Knock the Rust off in First Preseason Game

The Calgary Stampeders were all business Saturday afternoon playing many of their regular season starters in their first preseason game.

The Calgary Stampeders ran over the BC Lions in a 30-6 thumping.

Saturday afternoon in Calgary brought fans and sunshine for the unofficial first game of the 2024 season. Calgary put out plenty of talent for this one, stating pivot Jake Maier among many other veteran starters.

The Dickenson approach to the start of this game was not so much to flush out the roster in the first half but to knock the rust off the starters. This gave tremendous opportunity for the Stamps to shine, particularly on defense as they were up against many rookies and backups in BC, including at the quarterback position.

Maier played until partway through the second quarter. He completed 7 of 12 passes for 98 yards and a touchdown. Some passes seemed to get away from Maier, overthrowing receivers on a few occasions. It’s the first game for everyone and extra time communicating with receivers will let the team sharpen up.

The lone passing touchdown for the Stamps came on a 35-yard dart to Marken Michel. Michel went down with the ball at the 5 yard line but the BC defensive backs stopped playing, letting Michel get up and jog in for 6.

Michel ended the day with 48 yards on 3 receptions and 7 targets. This will be Michel’s second season back in the CFL after four years bouncing around the NFL. He previously played for the Stamps in 2017 and 2018. In his 3 seasons in the CFL Michel has 122 receptions for 1,943 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Matt Shiltz came in after Maier. Shiltz completed 11 of 15 passes for 79 yards and had a massive 25 yard run on the third possession of the second half. While there is no indication Maier is at risk of losing the starting spot, Shiltz is a CFL veteran who can still perform if need be.

Calgary tested out three running backs, each of which did quite well. While Dedrick Mills sat out the three backups broke 30 yards each on 9 or less carries. LeVante Bellamy finished with 5.7 yards per carry gaining 34 yards on 6 carries. BJ Emmons scored 2 touchdowns, getting 39 yards on 9 carries. Peyton Logan picked up 36 yards on 9 carries.

First year Stampeder Cam Echols led the team with 5 receptions on 5 targets food for 69 yards. DeVontres Dukes had 2 catches for 25 yards on 3 targets and Reggie Begelton had 3 catches on 5 targets for 22 yards. Rookie Auden Tate made 2 catches on 4 targets for 16 yards while Tyson Middlemost and Peyton Logan each had 2 catches for less than 10 yards total.

Defense Wreaks Havoc

The Calgary defense was mostly starters in the first half. They caused all sorts of commotion on every BC quarterback to take the field in the first half. A combination of strong pressure on the line coupled with tight coverage and multiple broken up passes were a stellar combination. Jake Dolegala, the starting QB for BC on Saturday completed a painful 1 of 7 passes and Dakota Prukop went 4 for 9 for 56 yards.

The lone quarterback sack went to American rookie Clarence Hicks while fourth year Stampeder Titus Wall had 2 pass deflections. Of little statistical significance, but still seen involved in multiple plays, was fourth overall draft pick Ben Labrosse. Labrosse finished the day with 1 tackle but was involved in several coverage situations, causing incompletions.

The Stampeders have four different punt returners as they look to fill the spot. The largest return was by Cam Echols for 15 yards. Echols also had the best average of 14 yards per return on two returns.

A hurdle to team hopes to overcome is the tendency to leave points on the field. Last season Rene Parades led the CFL in field goals attempted and ranked fourth out of the five 18-game kickers last year for PAT attempts. Parades made 2/3 field goals while Campbell fair went 1/1 from 30. The four field goal attempts accompany a blundered play on 3rd down between Tommy Stevens and his running back inside the BC 10 which led to a turnover on downs.

author avatar
Matthew Harrison
Since my I attended my first Blue Bomber game at Canad Inns Stadium in the very early 2000s, I have been a passionate follower of the CFL. Watching from home week in and week out or spending an evening losing my voice at a game, I have always loved this league. This year I'll be covering the Calgary Stampeders and the Toronto Argonauts, two promising teams, each with a chip on their shoulder coming into 2024. Follow me here to stay up to date with what you need to know going into gameday.
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