Serious injuries are becoming a serious trend with the Saskatchewan Roughriders this year. DJ Flick, Andy Fantuz, Weston Dressler, John Chick, James Johnson, Darian Durant, and a few other key players are out of commission.
In addition, after today's game Carl Berman (Dressler's replacement) is done for the season with a torn achilles. Matt Dominguez strained his knee, and who knows when he will be back?
The Riders will be hard pressed to maintain their perfect record with these injuries piling up. Fortunately, Dressler may be back next week, James Johnson should be back as well, and John Chick is just one game away. Flick and Berman seem to have the only season-ending injuries.
Despite all these injuries, the Riders continue to play with great intensity and managed to win this game by a single point, 22-21.
If the Riders can maintain their success they will be able to regain there players and hopefully will be ready to play at full force come play-off time.
The Riders ended the first quarter with an early 10-4 lead. The Stampeders led off the scoring with a punt single, but Luca Congi was able to respond with a 12-yard field goal. Sandro Deangelis responded with a field goal of his own, a 26-yarder, after Matt Domiguez fumbled the ball over to Calgary.
Marcus Crandell then hooked up with Adarius Bowman for a 12-yard strike on the last play of the half, giving the Riders the 10-4 lead.
Both teams began the second quarter by hitting field goals, and a punt single for the Riders put them ahead 14-7 with just over a minute left to play.
The Riders pulled out a miracle with eight seconds left in the half. Matt Dominguez caught a 20-yard pass from Crandell, fumbled it into the arms of Wes Cates at the Calgary 20-yard line, and Cates managed to run it in without breaking stride.
The bad news was that Dominguez injured his knee on this play.
With injuries to Berman and Hughes (who should return next game), the Stampeders took advantage of the Riders' injury depleted offense. Henry Burris made it a seven-point game with a 23-yard strike to Nick Lewis on the final play of the quarter, making it 21-14 Riders heading into the fourth.
The Stampeders closed in on the Riders after two field goals by Deangelis put them within one with just five minutes left to play. The Riders had not scored a point since the Wes Cates touchdown late in the first half.
The Riders were able to give Congi a chance at a 43-yard field goal, but Congi missed for the first time all season and could only get the single, putting the Riders up 22-20.
After a big play by Jermaine Copeland put Calgary on the Saskatchewan 47-yard line with just two seconds left to play, Stampeders kicker Sandro Deangelis had the chance to put an end to the perfect season if he could get a 54-yarder.
Unfortunately for the Stampeders, Deangelis would kick it wide right and the Riders would move to 6-0!
Can the Riders continue to win despite the injuries? We will see next week when they return home to play the Stampeders once again.