The fresh faces at quarterback for the Red and White, Chris Reynolds and Logan Bonner, left pretty nice first impressions in game action on Victoria Day.
The fresh faces at quarterback for the Calgary Stampeders left pretty nice first impressions in game action on Victoria Day.
Well … not so much, says Dave Dickenson.
“I was a little disappointed with our starting group,” the Stamps GM/head coach admitted just moments after Monday’s 29-24 pre-season victory over the visiting Edmonton Elks at McMahon Stadium. “I didn’t think we did anything special at all. In fact, I thought they basically took it to us early. You know, vets, the young guys are coming, so you’ve got to go out there and show.”
Yes, the early attack — led by starter Jake Maier for the first quarter and sophomore Tommy Stevens — was rather lackadaisical.
There was no fire from the veterans after the smoke in the air delayed the game’s kickoff, and the first half ended 11-10 in favour of the rival Elks.
In particular, Maier finished just 1-of-3 for six yards, while Stevens was 1-of-4 for 26 yards, with his completion dropping in for a 26-yard touchdown to 2023 draftee Clark Barnes.
Then came halftime and the thunderstorm that dropped buckets of rain and held up the contest for more than 60 minutes at intermission.
Stampeders 29, Elks 24
QUICK HITS: Stampeders survive long day against Elks
But the double-delay didn’t deter the straight-out-of-college QBs from coming out strong in the second half.
In fact, the lengthy wait may have helped newcomer Logan Bonner, whose first toss from scrimmage in the CFL was a 31-yard TD strike — a nice one, too, — to Luther Haunavanhu in the fourth quarter.
“I did have a nap at halftime,” Bonner said. “A regular halftime, it would be strange to do that. But it was an hour-and-change, so … I learned that in college, when we had some weather delays and stuff like that. I just tried to stay relaxed and took a nap to get ready to go.
“I think they say astronauts take 26-minute naps. But I don’t know — I don’t count it out. I just do it.”
Bonner went 3-of-6 for 71 yards and the go-ahead-for-good touchdown toss on his very first pass.
“I thought I made good decisions,” Bonner said. “I tried to take care of the ball and make good decisions. I had one I wanted back — kinda slipped out of my hands on one to Rysen (John). Other than that, I just tried to do my job to the best of my ability.”
“He looked good,” Dickenson said of the young QB straight out of the NCAA’s Utah State Aggies. “He sat back for about four hours, and then he finally got his chance.
“I thought Chris did good, too, though.”
Reynolds, a gifted guy out of the NCAA’s Charlotte 49ers, was 4-of-8 for 59 yards during his time in the third quarter helping to turn the tide of the game.
Both Bonner, 25, and Reynolds, 24, are pushing to be the second-stringer behind top-guy Maier when the season starts for the Stamps on Thursday, June 8, against the BC Lions at McMahon (7 p.m., TSN/News Talk 770).
After just one quarter of action for each QB on Monday, though, there’s still plenty of time for each one to prove his worth.
The next and last pre-season game isn’t until a visit to play the host Lions on Thursday, June 1 (8:30 p.m./News Talk 770), meaning practice is where it’s at in the QB battle for the next nine days.
But in this battle, there is camaraderie.
“Jake’s been great … Tommy, as well,” Bonner added. “They’ve been here a while. Obviously, I got here maybe two weeks ago. First day, I jumped into the playbook, and it was a huge install. My head was spinning — I’m not going to lie. They’ve done a great job helping me out.
“Jake has a lot to tell me — he has a lot of experience. And I trust him.”
The top target for the Stamps QBs on Monday was Tre Odoms-Dukes, who saw four balls thrown his way on the day. The second-year receiver hauled in two passes for 30 yards. The receiver collecting the most yards was Cole Tucker, the team’s first-round — fourth-overall — pick in the 2023 CFL draft, with 40 yards on two completions while running a couple of impressive crossing routes. The one-grab pass-catchers in the win were running back Dedrick Mills, receivers Andrew Parchment and Reggie Begelton and touchdown-scorers Barnes and Hakunavanhu. “I expect that from Luther,” Dickenson said. “I thought Clark stepped up, and I thought Cole Tucker made good plays at the end. As far as draft picks and not quite sure what you’re going to get, I was pretty happy with both those guys.” … The Victoria Day pre-season contest was the earliest date on the calendar ever for a CFL game to be played … After a day off Tuesday, main camp resumes for the Stamps on Wednesday with a morning session at McMahon. After that, it’s back to two-a-days indefinitely.
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