Skip to main content

SCOREBOARD

Maier, Paredes help Stampeders open season with win over Tiger-Cats

Published
Updated

CALGARY — Chip or no chip in the football, Calgary Stampeders kicker Rene Paredes didn't care.

The longest-serving player in the lineup at age 39 was a perfect 6-for-6 in field goals with his longest from 52 yards in Calgary's 32-24 win Friday over the visiting Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the CFL season-opener for both teams.

Paredes contributed 20 points to Calgary's first win of 2024 with his foot, including kicks from 43, 42, 37, 36, and 25 yards, plus two converts.

The CFL announced earlier Friday that teams can decide before each game whether punters and kickers will boot a football with a microchip in it to generate real-time stats.

Winnipeg kicker Sergio Castillo was critical of a chip after missing two of three field goals and a convert Thursday, and suggested the chip changed the trajectory of the ball.

Neither Paredes nor Calgary's head coach and general manager Dave Dickenson revealed the chip status of the balls he kicked Friday.

"I'm not talking about it. I'm over it," Paredes said. "It's been settled."

Said Dickenson: "Kick the ball. Kick it through. You saw what our guy did. Our guy kicked the ball right through the uprights every time. I don't have any issues if it's chipped or non-chipped. You've got a job to do. I think it's a bunch of nothing."

Calgary's quarterback Jake Maier had more receiver support via some acrobatic catches than Hamilton counterpart Bo Levi Mitchell, who was hampered by couple drops by targets, in Mitchell's first game at McMahon Stadium since Calgary traded him in November 2022.

"I've said it all camp. This is the deepest group we've had in quite some time," Maier said of his receivers. "They all believe in themselves and they all the ability to make big plays for us. Makes my life pretty easy."

Clark Barnes and rookie Cam Echols each had a touchdown catch for Calgary in front of an announced crowd of 19,741. Maier competed 21 of 26 passes for 252 yards and a pair of touchdown throws.

Mitchell was 27-for-38 in passing for 300 yards, a touchdown throw and one interception. The two-time winner of the league's most outstanding player award during his decade in Calgary was pulled on the final drive of the first half for concussion protocol, but returned to start the second half.

The Tiger-Cats were called for too-many-men on the field twice in the first half.

"There were some good plays and there were some timing things that we've got to clean up, but they're things that are easy to fix," Mitchell said.

Ticats' kicker Marc Liegghio was good from 10, 35 and 42 yards, but missed from 47. Ante Litre scored a rushing touchdown and Kiondre Smith had a touchdown catch for Hamilton.

James Butler rushed for 119 yards in Scott Milanovich's first regular-season game as Hamilton's head coach.

Calgary scored points on each of its first five possessions before Maier took a knee on the sixth at halftime for a 19-7 lead.

Hamilton scored a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Trailing by eight and with the ball in their hands on the final drive, the Tiger-Cats couldn't overcome the deficit of starting from their own four-yard line.

Misfortune struck Hamilton midway through the third quarter when Shemar Bridges dropped a catchable ball on the Stampeders' door step, Liegghio was wide right on his subsequent 47-yard attempt and Calgary's Erik Brooks ran the missed kick back 84 yards to Hamilton's 32-yard-line.

The Stampeders didn't convert the turnover into a touchdown, however, and led 22-7 on Paredes' 37-yarder. Calgary parlayed Demerio Houston's first interception as a Stampeder into Paredes' fourth field goal of the first half and a 19-4 lead.

Houston, who led the CFL in picks with seven for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2023, grabbed Mitchell's intended throw to Bridges.

Calgary (6-12) and Hamilton (8-10) finished third in their respective divisions and lost out in the divisional semifinals in 2023.

"When you come off a six-win season, you look forward to hitting that re-set button and getting another crack at it," Maier said.

STAMPEDERS RECORD

With their 700th win in franchise history, the Stampeders lead all CFL clubs. Calgary was tied with Edmonton at 699 using the creation of the Interprovincial Rugby Football Union in 1907 and the Western Interprovincial Football Union in 1936 as the CFL-observed starting points.

SEASON OPENERS

Calgary improved to 39-35-4 and 5-0 against Hamilton all-time in season-openers.

UP NEXT

The Stampeders are on the road June 15 against the B.C. Lions. The Tiger-Cats head home to host the Saskatchewan Roughriders on June 16.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 7, 2024.