Burris MVP, Sandro DeAngelis top Canadian at 2008 Grey Cup

The Canadian Press
11/23/2008 9:36:02 PM
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MONTREAL - Snubbed at the CFL awards banquet, Calgary Stampeders quarterback Henry Burris and kicker Sandro DeAngelis got their revenge in the biggest game of the year.

The two were recognized for their key roles in a 22-14 Grey Cup victory over the Montreal Alouettes on Sunday, with Burris earning MVP honours while DeAngelis was named the game's top Canadian.

The prizes made for sweet redemption for the pair, who were quite outspoken Thursday night after both were finalists at the CFL's awards banquet. Burris finished second to Montreal's Anthony Calvillo for the league's outstanding player honour while DeAngelis was beaten out by Toronto kick-returner Dominique Dorsey for the top special-teams player.

''I got the one I really wanted, but I'm greedy and I wanted the other one too,'' DeAngelis said of the snub at the player awards. ''I know kicking's not the most exciting position in the world, but I want my resume to be disgustingly gaudy.

''When it's all said and done I want people to say that DeAngelis was the best who ever did it. I'm damn greedy because I work hard to be greedy.''

Burris threw for 328 yards and a touchdown and added a game-high 79 yards rushing. DeAngelis, the native of Niagara Falls, Ont., booted five field goals including a 50-yarder late in the game.

''Whenever our backs are against the wall, this team has time and time again come out swinging,'' Burris said. ''If there's one way to earn respect, it's not doing it the easy way it's doing it the old-fashioned way and going out and earn everything you get.

''That's what we did.''

Burris showed a deft passing touch in leading the Stampeders first CFL championship since beating Winnipeg here in 2001, completing 28-of-37 passes. However, he was most dangerous using his feet to escape the Montreal rush to either buy himself time to look downfield for the open receiver or take off and run for the first down to keep drives alive.

That's not overly surprising, considering Burris was the CFL's top-rushing quarterback this season, running for 595 yards. And he used his mobility to make the biggest play of the Grey Cup late in the first half.

After breaking Montreal's attempt contain him, Burris found a wide-open Brett Ralph in the corner of the end zone on a 20-yard TD strike that pulled the Stampeders to within 13-10 heading into halftime.

''I used my feet to move around and that's how we got the touchdown late in the first half,'' he said.

The Grey Cup victory capped a banner 2008 campaign for Burris, a 10-year veteran who established career highs in passing yards (5,094) and touchdowns (39) to lead Calgary to a CFL-best 13-5 record.

''We've been dragged through the dirt for many years . . . and going through those times is what makes it special when you reach the pinnacle,'' said Burris. ''I'm just trying to wake myself up from this great dream I'm living right now. It such a surreal feeling. I really don't know how to think right now.

''But I'll tell you this, whatever it is, it feels great.''

It was also a year to remember for DeAngelis, who was the CFL's top scorer with 217 points and connected on 50-of-58 field goals. The former Nebraska Cornhusker booted a key 50-yard field goal with 4:12 remaining that gave Calgary it's winning eight-point margin.

''It's pretty damn cool to beat a team that talented, that racked up at the player awards, in their backyard with 60,000-plus cheering against us,'' DeAngelis said. ''It's a pretty amazing night, it really is.''

Sandro DeAngelis (Photo: The Canadian Press)


(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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