VANCOUVER — The Calgary Stampeders clinched second place in the West and a home playoff spot with a 21-16 win over the B.C. Lions in Vancouver on Saturday.
Stamps (12-6) quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell threw for 283 yards, one touchdown and one interception, completing 20-of-38 pass attempts in the victory.
Danny O’Brien replied with 60 passing yards for the Lions (5-13). He finished 9-of-13 attempts before he was replaced by Brandon Bridge midway through the third quarter.
Bridge threw for 194 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He also orchestrated a 75-yard scoring drive that ultimately saw O’Brien smuggle the football over the goal line for another TD.
Calgary will now host the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the division semifinal on Nov. 10.
The Saskatchewan Roughriders locked up first place in the West earlier on Saturday when they beat the Edmonton Eskimos 23-13.
Both the Lions and Stamps struggled to find the endzone on Saturday, with each side settling for field goals through the first half of the game.
Calgary kicker Rene Paredes made four attempts, including a 44-yard strike, over the course of the game.
Sergio Castillo put away a successful 34-yard kick to get B.C. on the scoreboard early in the first quarter.
But the Lions’ big play of the night came midway through the third frame on a nine-play, 75-yard scoring drive.
The excitement began when running back Brandon Rutley escaped the Calgary defence on a fake punt play. His 36-yard dash down the field put B.C. in scoring position. Shaq Johnson and John White helped close the gap for the Lions before O’Brien dove across a scrum on the goal line for a touchdown.
The major strike and a successful conversion by Castillo whittled Calgary’s lead to 14-10 heading into the fourth quarter.
The Stamps were finally able to string together a scoring sequence late in the game’s final frame.
A soaring 36-yard pass from Mitchell to Hergy Mayala put Calgary in scoring position, and the pair connected for another nine-yard toss to add a touchdown with less than three minutes left on the scoreboard.
B.C. wasn’t ready to settle, however.
The Lions continued to push and Bridge made a 17-yard pass to Bryan Burnham just outside the goal line with 1:44 left to play. The receiver made a diving catch, sprawling into the endzone for B.C.’s second TD of the night.
The Lions tried for a two-point conversion but Bridge couldn’t find an open passing lane.
Dexter McCoil snuffed out any hopes of a last-minute Lions comeback by intercepting a pass with just over 30 seconds left on the board and returning the ball to the Lions 10-yard line.
Saturday’s loss caps a disappointing season for the Lions, who started with a 1-10 record then seemed to gain some steam before losing marquee quarterback Mike Reilly to a broken wrist last month.
NOTES: The Lions finish their season without a single win against a West Division opponent. … Saturday marked the fourth game in a row that the Stampeders have won at B.C. Place. … B.C. running back John White had 44 rushing yards against Calgary, putting his total for the season over 1,000 yards for the first time in his career.
THE CANADIAN PRESS