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Stampeders rally in fourth to edge Roughriders; Simon hurt

The Canadian Press

6/21/2013 2:30:41 AM

REGINA - The most anticipated piece of Saskatchewan Roughriders' new offence will have to wait at least one more week to arrive.

Perennial all-star Geroy Simon, making his Roughriders debut after being acquired in an off-season trade with the B.C. Lions, left Thursday's 24-23 loss to the Calgary Stampeders without a catch after suffering an undisclosed injury in the first half and did not return.

Saskatchewan head coach Corey Chamblin said after the game he had not spoken to the team's medical staff and offered no further update on Simon's condition.

The CFL's all-time receptions leader, Simon was hobbled by a hamstring injury in 2012 and played only 13 games after missing just three games in the previous 10 years combined.

Simon was replaced in the pre-season game by Greg Carr who had one catch for 20 yards.

"We'll get our chemistry going," said Roughriders quarterback Darian Durant. "The main thing is just making sure we distribute the ball and put points on the board.

"Geroy's a key part of my offence but we can't focus just on him."

The final exhibition game for the Stamps (1-1) and the Riders (1-1) may have left Saskatchewan with more questions than answers.

Durant was sacked five times, with the offensive line surrendering another late in the game on backup Tino Sunseri.

Save for a 10-minute stretch in the third quarter, the offence generally sputtered, while the kicking game also left plenty to be decided.

Coming off a 1 for 3 effort on field goals in the Riders' June 13 pre-season opener against Edmonton, Chris Milo did not get a chance to kick a field goal.

Brody McKnight, who was 2 for 2 against the Eskimos, missed on his only attempt Thursday from 48 yards.

Another field-goal attempt by Ricky Schmitt, who was used primarily as a punter, was bobbled on the snap causing a turnover on downs.

"I only had a couple opportunities for a couple extra points but it's always pleasant to kick those," said Milo. "It means the guys are doing things right. I had one punt I thought I hit pretty well, and kickoffs went well too.

"It's all in the coaches' hands now but I thought I had a good camp."

The Roughriders opened the scoring on their first possession of the game, which primarily featured the first-team offences and defences for each club.

Durant recovered his own fumble and passed to Rob Bagg at the sideline for a first down on the third play of the drive, and Kory Sheets ran for a one-yard TD three plays later.

Calgary replied with 14 straight points on field goals of 37 and 35 yards from Rene Paredes, a 26-yard touchdown pass from Drew Tate to Rob Cote before the first quarter was up and a 63-yard punt single from Rob Maver that bounced past Riders returner Jock Sanders and into the end zone.

Saskatchewan's offence got a jolt after Maver conceded a safety early in the third quarter.

Sheets' second touchdown of the game, a 12-yard rush midway through the third, put Saskatchewan ahead 16-14.

Sheets followed up on the next possession with a 50-yard run from near half that set up a four-yard TD toss from Durant to Scott McHenry that put Saskatchewan ahead 23-14.

But six days after the Roughriders scored twice in the final minute to beat Edmonton by a touchdown, it was Saskatchewan that couldn't hold a fourth-quarter lead.

Trailing by nine after three quarters, the Stampeders drew within two points 41 seconds into the fourth on LaMarcus Coker's one-yard touchdown run.

Paredes scored his third field goal of the game from 29 yards with less than three minutes left to seal the win.

Sheets finished the game with a game-high 97 yards rushing on 10 runs and also led the Riders with five receptions.

"There were some good things in that game," said Chamblin. "With as many bodies and as many penalties as we took it was still a one-point game.

"So if we clean those things up and do what we need to do, finish drives when we need to, stop guys, that's a part of football. But if we do that on a consistent basis then we'll be a real good football team."

Durant finished 14-of-23 passes for 112 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Drew Willy and Tino Sunseri relieved Durant in the fourth quarter. Willy was 2 for 5 for 24 yards and Sunseri was incomplete on his only throw of the game.

Tate played the first half at quarterback for the Stamps before giving way to Ryan Perrilloux, Kevin Glenn and Bo Levi Mitchell in the second half.

Tate went 9 for 21 for 107 yards and a touchdown. Perrilloux was 1 for 3 for 14 yards in two series of action. Glenn finished 4 for 5 for 39 yards, and Mitchell closed out the game completing all four passes he attempted.

Calgary opens the regular season June 28 at home against the B.C. Lions while the Roughriders are in Edmonton June 29 to take on the Eskimos.