This pre-season game goes tonight at Mosaic Stadium at 7:30 p.m. It features the last two Grey Cup champions. The Riders, of course, won on home turf against the Hamilton Tiger Cats in 2013 while Calgary claimed its title with a victory over the same Tabbies last November in Vancouver.
The Stampeders had a solid 2014 campaign and were full marks for their Grey Cup run. Looming in the background, though, at least for Rider fans, is a big “What if” as in “What if Rider QB Darian Durant hadn’t suffered a season-ending elbow injury in the Banjo Bowl?”
When he was shelved for the season the Riders had an 8W-2L record and were one game back of the 9W-1L Stamps for first place in the CFL West. True, the Riders hadn’t played especially well up till then, especially on offense. But just prior to Durant’s injury Weston Dressler had returned to the team, so who knows how the Green & White would have fared in the last half of the season — which included their only two games against the Stamps in 2014, along with a trio of tilts against the Edmonton Eskimos before their West semi-final match-up where the Green & Gold capitalized on five Kerry Joseph interceptions to bounce the Riders from the playoffs with an 18-10 win at Commonwealth Stadium.
Injuries are part of the game, of course. And there’s no guarantee that even with a healthy Durant at the controls the Riders would have been able to beat a formidable Calgary team. But the games the teams played against each other definitely would’ve highlights of what turned out to be a pretty lacklustre CFL season.
Tonight, both the Riders and Stamps are playing their last pre-season games. Last Friday, Calgary defeated the Lions 20-6 at McMahon Stadium. The Riders, meanwhile, gave up a late TD and lost 31-24 to Edmonton in Fort McMurrary.
Like last season, the Riders and Stamps only meet twice in 2015. On Aug. 22, the teams will clash at Mosaic Stadium. Then on Halloween afternoon they’ll meet at McMahon.
Following tonight’s game head coach Corey Chamblin and the Rider staff will make their final roster moves in preparation for the team’s home-opener which goes June 27 at 6 p.m. against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. In the June 25 Prairie Dog we’ll have our first edition of Rider Fan Forum. Ron Mexico, Earl Camembert and Cal Corduroy are all back for another year, and they’ll be joined by John’s Chick — a long-time Rider football fan who lives in Saskatoon.
For more on tonight’s game, visit the Riderville website.