Realty One



Saturday, June 18, 2016


VANCOUVER - Bakari Grant is slowly getting used to his new team.

Grant caught an eight-yard touchdown pass and Rene Parades hit a 36-yard field goal in the fourth quarter on Friday night to lift the Calgary Stampeders to a 31-21 pre-season victory over the B.C. Lions.

Grant is entering his sixth Canadian Football League season and first with the Stampeders. His catch came on a pass from Drew Tate to end the third quarter, giving the visiting team a 21-18 lead over the Lions.

B.C. started the game by efficiently marching down the field before capping the first offensive series of the game with a 21-yard touchdown pass from starting quarterback Jonathon Jennings to a wide open Bryan Burnham.

Jennings finished the first half with 16-of-21 passing for 176 yards and the touchdown before giving way to Travis Lulay to begin the third quarter.

Jennings and receiver Nick Moore, who re-joins the Lions after signing as a free agent in February, connected for five catches and 77 yards on seven targeted passes.

The Stampeders answered back later in the first quarter. Running back Jerome Messam managed to evade linebacker Adam Bighill and rumbled into the end zone on a screen pass from Bo Levi Mitchell.

Mitchell, who started at quarterback for the Stampeders, completed six passes on 12 attempts for 49 yards and a touchdown. Tate entered the game in the second half and completed 10 passes on 13 attempts.

Messam overpowered the B.C. defence in the running game, with 42 yards rushing on just five carries, averaging 8.4 yards per carry.

"We played much better. We took care of the ball,'' said Stampeders head coach Dave Dickenson.

"There's still a lot of mistakes out there but last week, six turnovers, not protecting our quarterback, you're not going to win many games like that.''

The Stampeders took an 11-8 lead late in the second quarter on a 52-yard field goal from Paredes.

After missing an earlier attempt from 56 yards out, Richie Leone tied the score for the Lions just before the end of the first half with a 31-yard field goal.

Lions head coach Wally Buono was critical of his team's effort compared to its first pre-season game - a 28-16 win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders - and used the return game on special teams to illustrate his point.

Lions kick returner Chris Rainey had just six total yards on three punts returns, and only 45 total yards on three kickoff returns. Calgary had four players - Roy Finch, Lache Seastrunk, Tory Harrison and Jamal Nixon - combine for 141 total yards on seven punt returns in the game.

"We didn't play with the same intensity on our special teams than we did last week and that affected field position and that hurt us. It's a three-point game until the end,'' said Buono.

"If you don't do what's important - and physicality on special teams is extremely important - and tonight we didn't have that. They had some good returns on us and we had very little returns. Our return game was non-existent.''

The Lions and Stampeders face each other again in the opening week of the CFL regular season at B.C. Place Stadium on June 25.

Notes: Attendance at B.C. Place Stadium was 17,630.

(Canadian Press)

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