Rene Paredes kicks late field goal as Stampeders beat Eskimos
Calgary's Cornish, Edmonton's Sherritt set records as playoff picture more clear
One kick determined the playoff picture for the CFL.
Rene Paredes kicked a 44-yard field goal on the final play of the game as the Calgary Stampeders earned a 30-27 victory over the Edmonton Eskimos on Friday night.
Paredes went out to kick the field goal on the final play of the game and was wide, but the Eskimos had called a timeout and he got a chance to successfully kick it over.
The Stampeders will now face the Saskatchewan Roughriders in next weekend's West Division semifinal. With the loss, the Eskimos will now crossover to the East Division and take on the Toronto Argonauts in the East semi.
It was the fourth consecutive win for the Stampeders, who also won all four of their games against Edmonton this season, to finish with a 12-6 record.
"We feel good heading into the playoffs," said Calgary coach John Hufnagel.
"I think our team is going in the right direction. We need to play good football to keep going. We are playing winning football right now, but we can still get better and we need to get better."
It was a strange finish to the contest.
The Eskimos had a chance to take the lead with 1:24 remaining in the fourth on a 38-yard Grant Shaw field-goal attempt, but the snap was bobbled and the kick was into the backs of his linemen.
Edmonton looked to have gotten the ball back on the next play on a TJ Hill interception but the play was called back on a roughing-the-passer call.
The absurdity continued as Joe West looked to have had a big catch deep in Edmonton territory with one minute left, but the ball was punched out of his hands and returned to Calgary's 19-yard line by Weldon Brown.
However, the play was called back after the pass was ruled incomplete.
Calgary's No. 1 quarterback Kevin Glenn, who played the entire third quarter and part of the fourth, said the Stampeders are in a good place as they prepare for the post-season.
"I think we are playing pretty good," he said. "To pull out a win like this one in the last game of the season when people were saying it didn't matter, for us to still play well, it's a good direction that we are going in. Going into the playoffs on a winning note is a good thing. We just need to keep it going."
The Eskimos have now lost three in a row and finished the regular season at 7-11.
"We were trying to avert being a slow-starting team, but we started slow again," said Eskimos head coach Kavis Reed.
"The consistency in terms of our starts needs to improve. Fast. There are a lot of things that we need to do. We still took a couple of penalties that we are not happy about. But I am proud of the way they executed in the last three quarters and hopefully that will catapult us to a fast start in Toronto and a good finish."
The game was also saw each team break CFL records.
Calgary running back Jon Cornish got the 50 yards rushing he needed to capture the record for most yards in a season by a Canadian. His 14 carries for 69 yards broke a 56-year-old record set by former Eskimo Normie Kwong's 1,437 yards.
Cornish finished the season with 1,457 yards.
Eskimos linebacker J.C. Sherritt made his 11th tackle of the game with 39 seconds left to set a new league record for all-time single season tackles, surpassing Calvin Tiggle's previous mark of 129 in 1994.
"Anytime you get a record like that, you have to look at the guys around you on defence," Sherritt said. "None of that is possible without the other guys you play with. Individual records, they are sort of for your family and later on in life. When you play in this organization the only thing that counts is Grey Cups.
"It's an honour to get that record, but right now my eyes are on getting a ring."
Calgary had a strong start to the game, scoring just two minutes into their opening drive. Backup quarterback Drew Tate found West with an 11-yard touchdown pass to give the Stampeders an early 7-0 lead.
Edmonton responded with a 42-yard Shaw field goal with five minutes to play in the first.
The Stamps went up 14-3 a couple of minutes later as a 40-yard reception by Maurice Price set up a nine-yard quarterback draw into the end zone by Tate.
Calgary added to their lead with a pair of Paredes field goals early in the second quarter.
Edmonton finally gained some ground with five minutes to play in the second quarter as quarterback Matt Nichols, who got the start with Kerry Joseph banged up, hit Fred Stamps for a 30-yard TD pass to make it 20-10. It was Stamps' ninth TD of the season, a personal best.
The Eskimos continued to come back and closed to within three points with 52 seconds left in the opening half as Nichols threw a 48-yard bomb to Cary Koch in the end zone. It was Nichols' seventh TD pass this season in limited duty, one more than Steven Jyles had in half a season as a starter for Edmonton.
Glenn came in to quarterback the Stampeders to start the second half and padded their lead with four minutes to play in the third as he threw a 57-yard TD pass to Price for a 27-17 Calgary advantage.
Edmonton responded quickly with a TD strike of their own with one minute left in the third as running back Cory Boyd blazed 21 yards to score and cut the Calgary lead back to three points heading into the fourth.
The Eskimos caught a big break early in the fourth as defender Brandon Lang stripped and recovered the football with Calgary pressing on the Edmonton nine-yard line. Edmonton was able to get a Shaw field goal out of the turnover to tie the game 27-27.