Rene Paredes did his best to kick the Saskatchewan Roughriders while they were down.
The Calgary Stampeders kicker booted four field goals in a 19-10 victory and made sure the Riders’ woeful season continued on Saturday in front of a sold-out crowd at Mosaic Stadium.
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Calgary (5-1-1) has won eight straight games over their West Division rivals, including a 35-15 victory at McMahon Stadium the previous week, and occupy first place in the division.
“Maybe it’s time they (Roughriders) should move into the new stadium,” said Stampeders defensive end Charleston Hughes, who registered three sacks in Saturday’s game.
“It wasn’t pretty … the guys know we have to play better, but the good thing for us is that we won the game and that’s all that matters,” Paredes added.
It has been a tumultuous week in Saskatchewan. The team lost its third consecutive game to sit at 1-6 and in last place in the nine-team league.
The league also fined the Riders $60,000 on Thursday for roster violations, in addition to a $26,000 salary cap deduction. Though, players in the Roughriders locker room said that didn’t serve as a distraction.
“That didn’t factor into any of this, not even a little bit,” said Riders linebacker Greg Jones. “The guys in this locker room are still the guys who show up for work every day. No matter what happens during the week off of the field, we still have to show up and do our jobs. We still have to step up and play.”
Paredes kicked field goals from 46 yards, 40 yards and 25 yards, all in the first half, as Calgary built an early 9-0 lead. Paredes has converted 19 consecutive field goals this season.
The Riders finally provided an answer on the final play of the first half when backup quarterback Mitchell Gale plunged one yard for a touchdown.
Calgary led 9-7 at halftime and added to the lead on the first possession of the third quarter when Jerome Messam scored on a two-yard touchdown run.
A 54-yard field goal from Saskatchewan’s Quinn Van Gylswyk followed Calgary’s score, but it was the only scoring from the home team in the second half.
The Riders did penetrate the Calgary red zone late in the third quarter, but quarterback Darian Durant fumbled on the 20-yard line and the threat was washed out.
“We had our opportunities,” Durant said. “We just have to be better offensively and score more points. We can’t turn the ball over, can’t drop balls… just a lot of missed opportunities when we got in scoring range.”
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Van Gylswyk had an opportunity with two minutes remaining in the game to cut Calgary’s six-point lead in half when he lined up for a 40-yard field-goal attempt. His kick hit the post and bounced out.
Calgary immediately took advantage when Bo Levi Mitchell connected with Simon Charbonneau on a 63-yard passing play that took the ball to Saskatchewan’s 22-yard line.
Paredes then put Calgary’s win on ice with his fourth field goal, a 21-yard effort, late in the fourth quarter to give his team a nine-point advantage at 19-10.
“It doesn’t matter where or when I get my chances,” Paredes said. “When they call on me to kick, I go in there and do my job. I do like kicking here because it’s loud and the fans are always on you. It feel good when you make them.”
Mitchell’s streak of 21 straight games in which he has thrown a touchdown pass came to an end on Saturday, though he did pass for 298 yards. His favourite target was Marquay McDaniel, who had eight receptions for 110 yards.
Durant completed 24-of-37 pass attempts for 267 yards. He also rushed for a game-high 74 yards.
Both teams will hit the road next week. Saskatchewan, still searching for its first win on the road this season, will take the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Calgary will travel west to play the B.C. Lions.