REGINA – Rene Paredes saved his best for last as the Calgary Stampeders defeated the Saskatchewan Roughriders 22-19 on a last-second field goal Saturday.
Paredes hit on a 44-yard field goal, his fifth of the game, on the final play of the fourth quarter to give Calgary the victory. Paredes initially hit from 39 yards out but an illegal procedure penalty on the Stampeders forced a second attempt.
“I’ve never played with a better kicker,” Stamps quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell said of Paredes. “He’s the guy that every time, I just know that if I can get us anywhere close enough – no matter how far, left or right hash – he’s going to put it right down the middle.
“He’s won me a lot of games in my career.”
It was the second straight victory over the Riders for the Stampeders, who picked up a 23-17 victory last week in Calgary. The win improves Calgary’s record to 4-5 while the Riders drop to 5-4.
It was a tough loss for the Riders who will now go on a bye week before travelling to Calgary on Oct. 23 to finish their regular-season series with the Stampeders.
“We knew we had to win two out of three,” said Craig Dickenson, Saskatchewan’s head coach. “We didn’t have to but we wanted to. If we could win two out of three, we put Calgary behind the eight-ball with them on the outside looking in. Now it’s the opposite. They’re right on our tail now which makes every game that much more important down the stretch.”
The Stampeders started their final drive on their own 41-yard line with one minute on the clock. Two receptions from Nick Holley mixed in with three runs from Ka’Deem Carey totalling 19 yards put the Stampeders into position for the game-winning field goal.
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Carey, who was a game-time decision because of a back issue, had a strong game with 109 yards rushing on 20 carries. The Riders knew exactly what they were facing with Carey, who is making a name for himself with a physical running style.
“He’s physical as hell and you’ve got to want to tackle him,” said Riders defensive tackle Micah Johnson. “If you don’t, he’s going to expose you. He’s a big guy, he’s gets north and south fast. You’ve got to make up in your mind that you want to hit him. If you don’t, he can feel that.”
The Stamps, who ran out to a 14-0 lead in last week’s victory over the Riders, had another great start on Saturday.
Mitchell connected with Markeith Ambles on a 71-yard touchdown pass on the first offensive play of the game. Ambles was wide open on the right sideline, hauled in the pass at the Saskatchewan 30-yard line and ran away from Riders defensive back Christian Campbell to the end zone.
Mitchell put up the same stellar numbers in the first quarter, completing 6-of-8 passes for 132 yards and one touchdown.
Trailing 10-3 in the second quarter, the Riders tied the game on a 14-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Cody Fajardo to Ricardo Louis. Catching a short pass along the sideline at the Calgary eight-yard line, Louis cut back inside to reach the end zone.
Both kickers had two field goals in the first half. Paredes was successful from 19 and 12 yards while Saskatchewan’s Brett Lauther split the uprights from 45 and 52 yards. Lauther also chipped in with two special team tackles in the first half.
The kickers exchanged field goals in third quarter. Paredes put Calgary ahead 16-13 with a 27-yarder. Lauther replied with an 18-yard field goal to tie the game 16-16.
The Riders took their first lead of the game early in the fourth quarter following a Nick Marshall interception. Marshall jumped a crossing route by Stamps receiver Hergy Mayala at the Calgary 35-yard line.
The Saskatchewan offence wasn’t able to advance the ball so Lauther was called upon for his fourth field goal of the game to give the Riders a 19-16 lead.
Calgary drove deep into Saskatchewan territory midway through the fourth quarter with a trick play taking the Stampeders to the 24-yard line. Mitchell handed off to Colton Hunchak on a sweep around the left end only to have Hunchak pull up and toss a pass to Josh Huff for a 36-yard gain.
Two plays later Mitchell threw his second interception of the game. He overthrew Henry with Riders safety Loucheiz Purifoy catching the ball on the three-yard line and taking it to the Saskatchewan 28.
Paredes matched Lauther with his fourth field goal of the game, hitting from 43 yards out to tie the game 19-19 with 3:32 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Mitchell finished 20-for-28 passing for 296 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Fajardo was 20 for 31 for 191 yards and one touchdown.
The Stampeders totalled 422 net yards on offence with 22 first downs while the Riders gained 244 yards of net offence with 13 first downs.
Johnson, A.C. Leonard and Pete Robertson had sacks for the Riders while Mike Rose had two sacks for Calgary.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 9, 2021.