Paredes kicks 52-yard field goal in OT as Stampeders edge Blue Bombers 22-19

Demerio Houston did his part and then watched as Rene Paredes emerged as the overtime hero.

Paredes kicked a 52-yard field goal to lead the Calgary Stampeders (2-1) to an exciting 22-19 win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (0-4) in front of 22,386 fans at McMahon Stadium on Saturday night.

“I got a little scared here at the end,” said Paredes, who finished the game with four field goals. “The wind pushed it a little bit to the left, so it got close to the post, but yeah, I’m glad it went in, glad we got the win against Winnipeg.”

Playing in his 214th career game with Calgary to pull into a tie for fifth in franchise history with Alondra Johnson, Paredes has battled through windy conditions on many occasions.

“I played in some crazy winds,” he said. “Obviously, we practise a lot in the wind, so you get used to it.”

Before Paredes’ winning kick, Houston picked off a pass by Winnipeg quarterback Chris Streveler in the end zone.

Calgary won the coin toss in OT and elected to play defence first and the Stamps were able to thwart the Blue Bombers’ comeback attempt thanks to Houston’s efforts.

“That’s all we had to do is get a stop and I knew Rene was going to put it in,” said Houston, who signed a two-year contract with Calgary in February after playing the previous three seasons for the Bombers.

“It was a great feeling. I just want to thank God for putting me in this position just to be able to make that play. That’s what they brought me here for is to make plays, catch interceptions and help my team win and that’s what I was able to do.”

Marken Michel caught a touchdown pass from quarterback Jake Maier for the Stampeders, who were coming off a bye week. Cody Grace added three punt singles.

“It feels amazing,” said Maier, who completed 28-of-43 passes for 239 yards. “It does. Not just because we beat Winnipeg. I think, for me, it’s great to be on this side of things of an overtime game. Last couple years, we haven’t had our way in overtime games, and it just feels amazing to be on the right side of it.”

Drew Wolitarsky had a touchdown in the final minute of the fourth quarter for the Bombers, while Sergio Castillo booted four field goals.

“Just too many mistakes to win that tight one,” said Winnipeg coach Mike O’Shea. “We put ourselves in a bit of a bind a few times. I thought defensively we cleaned up the explosion plays.

“Offensively, we scored when we needed to, but just along the way in a tight game with where we’re at, once again it’s a handful of mistakes and it ends up being a few too many.”

Zach Collaros started the game at quarterback for Winnipeg and completed eight-of-12 passes for 55 yards in the first half. After being injured in the second quarter when he was hit hard by Stamps’ defensive lineman Josiah Coatney, Collaros came back in for two more plays before sitting out the remainder of the game.

In a relief appearance, Streveler completed 14-of-24 passes for 170 yards.

“We showed fight at the end of the game and I think we’re all going to look back and say we made some mistakes,” Streveler said. “We didn’t play good enough to win. We made mistakes in critical moments. You can’t throw an interception at the end of the game when we’re in field goal range.

“It’s frustrating but we’re going to take ownership of this, we’re going to have a good week of preparation next week and we’re going to keep fighting.”

After a slow start for both teams, Winnipeg opened the scoring thanks to a 26-yard field goal by Castillo at 10:46 of the first quarter.

Although the Bombers held the lead through one quarter of play for the first time this season, it was short-lived as Paredes booted a 52-yard field goal for the Stamps just 12 seconds into the second quarter.

The Stamps had a great chance to score the game’s first touchdown when defensive lineman Clarence Hicks picked off an errant pass by Collaros. Although Hicks fumbled the ball, linebacker Cameron Judge quickly picked it up to give Calgary possession on Winnipeg’s 37-yard line.

Four plays later, with Calgary facing a third-and-two situation on Winnipeg’s 16-yard line, Reggie Begelton couldn’t haul in a pass in the end zone from Maier, while the receiver also took an offensive pass interference call on the play as well to end the threat.

After Grace put Calgary up by a point with a 58-yard punt single, Castillo answered back with field goals from 37 and 36 yards to put Winnipeg up 9-4.

Paredes then booted his second field goal of the contest from 26 yards out as time expired in the first half to pull the Stamps within two points.

The defensive dogfight continued in the third quarter as neither team could get anything going offensively. Paredes kicked a 42-yard field goal and Grace bombed an 80-yard single for the only scoring of the third.

Michel caught a six-yard touchdown pass from Maier at 2:45 of fourth quarter to cap off a nine-play, 58-yard scoring drive to give Calgary an 18-9 lead.

Castillo then kicked a 60-yard field goal at 5:36 of the fourth quarter. Castillo’s lengthy boot will go down as the longest field goal in Blue Bombers’ history and the second longest in the CFL record books.

Grace kicked a 61-yard single, his third of the game, to put the Stamps up 19-12.

Streveler then engineered an eight-play, 74-yard drive that he capped off by tossing a 16-yard touchdown pass to Wolitarsky with 37 seconds left on the clock to force overtime.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 29, 2024.

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