Sean Whyte’s 25-yard field goal with two seconds left in the fourth quarter capped a B.C. Lions’ comeback in a 41-40 win over the host Calgary Stampeders on Saturday.
Lions quarterback Nathan Rourke recovered from two early interceptions which the Stampeders converted into touchdowns to score a pair of rushing touchdowns, and throw for 488 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
The 24-year-old from Victoria threw touchdown passes to Dominique Rhymes and Bryan Burnham. Whyte also kicked field goals from 19, 38 and 23 yards.
Peyton Logan’s 99-yard kick return to score midway through the fourth quarter gave the Stampeders a nine-point lead, but the Lions chewed up the deficit.
University of Calgary alumnus Jalen Philpot scored his first CFL touchdown, as did defensive lineman Folarin Orimolade on an interception return for Calgary.
Shawn Bane had a touchdown catch and Rene Paredes kicked field goals from 28, 53, 32 and 51 yards in front of an announced 22,229 at McMahon Stadium.
The Lions (7-1) and Stampeders (5-3) rank second and third respectively in the CFL’s West Division behind the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (9-1).
Calgary and B.C. conclude their season series with a home-and-home Sept. 17 in Calgary and Sept. 24 in Vancouver.
Wooooooo!!!! pic.twitter.com/ib56htfbsE— BC LIONS (@BCLions) August 14, 2022
Bo Levi Mitchell became the Stampeders’ all-time leader in passing yards with an eight-yard throw on Calgary’s opening drive.
He needed just six yards to vault over Henry Burris (32,191) and reach that milestone in his 10th season and 116th game with Calgary. Burris played 118 games for the Stampeders.
After two straight games without a touchdown pass, Mitchell threw two Saturday. The Stampeders quarterback completed 18 or 32 pass attempts for 206 yards and was interception-free.
Logan’s kickoff return for a 99-yard major gave the Stampeders a 40-31 lead with just over six minutes to play.
The Lions would not go quietly, however, with Burnham’s 33-yard catch under double coverage taking B.C. to Calgary’s 10-yard line with just under three minutes to play.
Rourke collected his seventh rushing touchdown this season on a one-yard carry for B.C. to trail by just two points.
The Lions faced a long field for a winning field goal starting from their own six-yard line with 1:20 to play, but Cameron Judge’s roughing-the-passer penalty shortened it for the visitors. Rourke engineered a nine-play, 86-yard drive to get Whyte in field-goal range.
The Lions trailed by 12 points when B.C. linebacker Ben Hladik recovered Dedrick Mills’ fumble on Calgary’s 34-yard line in the final minute of the third quarter.
Rourke overthrew Lucky Whitehead in the end zone leaving Whyte a 23-yard field goal to make. But Rourke’s 54-yard touchdown pass to Burnham behind coverage with seven minutes left in the game pulled the Lions within two points of the lead.
Calgary parlayed a pair of Rourke interceptions into a 20-3 lead by the first minute of the second quarter, when Orimolade ran his first career pick back 28 yards to score.
Rourke rallied with a pair of scoring drives — sandwiched around a Paredes 32-yard field — but the Stampeders would score again before the half.
B.C.’s David Menard’s roughing-the-passer penalty moved Calgary to the Lions’ 24-yard line, where Mitchell promptly threw to Bane dashing into the end zone for a 30-18 lead at halftime.
Paredes was wide from 51 yards in the final minute of the half, but split the uprights from the same distance early in the third quarter for Calgary’s 33-18 lead. Whyte was good from 38 yards midway through the quarter to cut the deficit.
Rourke scored his first rushing touchdown of the night with a one-yard plunge in the second quarter.
After Orimolade’s pick-six, Rourke quickly marched the Lions downfield to cap a 78-yard drive with a 30-yard throw to Rhymes in the end zone.
Paredes’ 53-yard field goal, which matched his season’s longest, gave the hosts a 13-3 lead with four minutes remaining in the opening quarter.
After Nick Statz picked off Rourke on B.C.’s second drive of the game, Mitchell’s second pass was a 19-yard throw to Philpot in the end zone to score.
Both Philpot and Stampeders receiver Richie Sindani left the game before halftime and didn’t return.
The visitors turned a special-teams turnover into a field goal to start the game when Logan fumbled B.C.’s first punt. Garry Peters recovered at the 35-yard line, but the Lions ended up settling for Whyte’s 19-yard boot for three points.
The Stampeders countered with three points on the subsequent drive. Philpot returned the kickoff 76 yards and appeared headed for the end zone when he stumbled on B.C.’s 29-yard line. Paredes capped the drive with a 28-yard field goal.
Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press