Boris Bede kicked a 32-yard field goal with 37 seconds left in the fourth quarter and Toronto Argonauts opened their season with a 23-20 win over the Calgary Stampeders Saturday.
Bede finished with two field goals and a single for the Argonauts (1-0), while quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson threw TD passes to Juwan Brescacin and Kurleigh Gittens Jr.
The Argos also had a pair of two-point converts as John White IV ran for one and Eric Rogers hauled in a short toss from Bethel-Thompson, who completed 26-of-37 passes for 354 yards.
Playing in his 10th CFL season, all with the Stampeders (0-1), Rene Paredes kicked four field goals to give him 400 for his career.
The Argos opened the scoring at 7:55 of the first quarter when Brescacin hauled in a nine-yard touchdown pass from Bethel-Thompson to cap off an impressive 12-play, 94-yard drive in front of 23,921 fans at McMahon Stadium.
On the drive, Bethel-Thompson completed eight-of-eight passes to five different receivers for 82 yards before he handed the ball off to White, who ran the ball three yards into the end zone for a two-point convert.
Mitchell and the Stamps responded with a lengthy 17-play, 72-yard drive of their own that stalled on Toronto’s 13-yard line. Parades then kicked a 20-yard field goal to give the Stamps their first points of the game.
Mitchell then engineered a 12-play, 79-yard drive that he capped off by tossing an eight-yard TD pass to Jorden in the back of the end zone at 10:27 of the second quarter. Markeith Ambles proceeded to catch a three-yard pass from Mitchell for a two-point convert to give Calgary an 11-8 lead.
After the Argos went two-and-out, Calgary’s Charlie Moore blocked Bede’s punt and then recovered it on Toronto’s 19-yard line. Despite the great play by the rookie linebacker and special team’s player, the Stamps had to settle for a 22-yard field goal by Paredes.
Bede responded with a 54-yard field goal for the Argos before missing one — wide to the left again — from 27 yards out with no time left on the clock in the first half. Bede settled for a 40-yard single and the Argos trailed 14-12 heading into the third quarter.
Both teams had great chances to hit the scoresheet early in the second half but were thwarted by turnovers.
Ricky Collins Jr. appeared to be on his way into the end zone for a lengthy touchdown for the Argos until Calgary’s DaShaun Amos chased him down from behind and knocked the ball out of his hands.
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After D.J. Killings recovered the fumble in the end zone, the Stamps started out an impressive drive of their own from their 20-yard line.
Jorden appeared to cap off that drive with a four-yard TD catch from Mitchell, but Toronto launched a successful challenge that resulted in an offensive pass interference penalty to Ambles to overturn the previous play. On third down once again, Mitchell tossed a short pass that Colton Hunchak wasn’t able to haul in at the goal line, resulting in a turnover on downs.
Paredes kicked a 15-yard field goal for the lone points scored in the third quarter before adding a 30 yarder early in the fourth to give Calgary a 20-12 lead.
After Charleston Hughes recovered a fumble by Calgary running back Ka’Deem Carey, Bethel-Thompson tossed a 37-yard touchdown pass to Gittens Jr. at 6:59 of the fourth quarter. Rogers then caught a three-yard pass from Bethel-Thompson for a two-point convert to pull the Argos into a 20-20 tie with the Stamps.
Following Bede’s game-winning field goal, Shaq Richardson picked off an errant pass by Mitchell to secure the victory for the Argos.
Redblacks open season with victory over Elks
Abdul Kanneh had a 102-yard interception return as the Ottawa Redblacks spoiled the start of the new Elks era in Edmonton, emerging with a season-opening 16-12 road victory Saturday.
The Elks (0-1) originally got on the scoreboard first, recording a 12-yard Sean Whyte field goal just over five minutes in.
Ottawa (1-0) responded with a 52-yard Lewis Ward field goal late in the opening frame.
The Redblacks looked to have surged into the lead on a trick play early in the second when punt returner DeVonte Dedmon lateralled across the field to Ryan Davis, who made a lengthy run into the end zone. But the play was deemed to have been a forward pass and called back.
The teams traded field goals before Whyte nailed a 47-yarder as time expired to make it 9-6 at the half.
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Edmonton continued the field goal parade with a 42-yarder five minutes into the third.
Ward cut the Elks’ lead to 12-9 with a 50-yard field goal to start the fourth.
Edmonton was pressing with three minutes left, but again the Redblacks secondary was clutch as Harris was picked off at the 22-yard line by Randall Evans.
The announced attendance at Commonwealth Stadium was 30,302.
The Elks remain at home next Saturday when they welcome the Montreal Alouettes to town. The Redblacks have a bye week before heading to Regina to face the Roughriders on Aug. 21.