Football

Calgary stampedes Eskimos again

Henry Burris threw for three touchdowns then took the rest of the night off as the Calgary Stampeders pounded the Edmonton Eskimos 52-5.

Edmonton quarterback Ricky Ray hounded unmercifully in Labour Day horror show

It was 22 days ago that the Edmonton Eskimos were crushed 56-15 by the Calgary Stampeders, leaving many to believe that things couldn't have been worse.

They're worse.

Just one week after playing so well in an upset of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, the Eskimos celebrated the long weekend by taking a virtual vacation.

The result was a 52-5 pounding by the hometown Stampeders in the 44th renewal of the Labour Day Classic. For those of a mathematical bent, that's 108-20 overall in two games.

With the win, the Stamps are 8-1, galloping along in impressive fashion four points up on the Riders in first place in the CFL West.

Edmonton dropped to 2-7.

Eskimos quarterback Ricky Ray may be considering hiring his own protection after a day that saw him hit from almost every direction by a club that simply beat up the Edmonton offensive line on the way to the pivot.

Ray was officially sacked just once, but was hurried or hit, usually the latter, on every pass. Coach Richie Hall finally yanked him out in the third, down 42-5 after going 9-of-22 for 157 yards and two interceptions.

"We've got to just take advantage of [our] opportunities," Ray said. "When you get an opportunity to make a play, you've got to make a play and until we start doing that, we're going to struggle. We've just got to do it one play at a time."

Jared Zabransky and Jason Maas finished up for the Esks, who turned the ball over a total of seven times.

Calgary quarterback Henry Burris was 15-of-23 for 226 yards, three touchdowns and one unimportant interception before leaving halfway through the third quarter to give backup Drew Tate a turn.

Burris, protected beautifully by the league's best offensive line, used his first completion of the contest to pass Dieter Brock for 10th on the CFL's all-time passing list.

"Our defence has been playing great ball all year," Burris said. "If we make a mistake, they have our back. If the defence gives up something, we've been doing a good job of going out there and getting points back as well. Things are going good and we want to keep it like this."

Edmonton has just four days to get ready for Friday night's return match at Commonwealth Stadium.

Slow start

For the first 12 minutes, this one seemed closer to a Flames-Oilers game as Calgary led 5-2.

Then the Eskimos' penchant for hurting themselves surfaced when Pascal Fils fumbled the ball at his own 38, recovered by Malik Jackson.

Burris threw two incompletes, but the second one was flagged for pass interference on Lawrence Gordon and two plays later Joffrey Reynolds rumbled in from nine yards as the second quarter began to make it 12-2 with the convert.

Back came the Stamps on their next possession, and Burris cruised down to the Edmonton 30 before hitting Romby Bryant with a perfect strike for another touchdown and it was 19-2.

Ray got something going late in the half, moving to the 17 thanks to a penalty, but could not convert, leaving Noel Prefontaine to kick a field goal that narrowed the gap.

Total collapse

Things collapsed in the final 60 seconds of the opening 30 minutes.

First, Brandon Smith took a ball out of the hands of Kelly Campbell and ran it in 58 yards for a touchdown.

Then Ray was flushed from the pocket by safety Brandon Isaac, dropped the ball and had the fumble recovered by the Stamps' defender.

A couple of plays later, Burris hit Ken Yon Rambo in the end zone with a perfect strike and it was 33-5 into the half.

"We stunk it up, laid a goose egg," Hall said. "We didn't come to compete. We couldn't even execute the fundamentals of football, couldn't block, couldn't catch, couldn't throw, couldn't tackle, couldn't cover. It was like Murphy's Law. What could go wrong, did go wrong."

Halfway through the third quarter it was 40-5 thanks to a Burris-to-Bryant 19-yard pass, a play that ended the Stampeder quarterback's night as he sat down for Tate.

To add injury to insult, running back Arkee Whitlock and receiver Campbell left the game with undisclosed wounds.

with files from The Canadian Press

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