August 29, 2019

The Rivalry: Part 4

With this year’s Labour Day home-and-home series featuring the two top teams in the CFL, is taking a five-part look at the history of the Battle of Alberta.


The McMahon crowd was chanting “We want 60!” and the 8-1 Stamps almost got it in a 52-5 victory, the largest margin of victory in the history of the Labour Day Classic.

Richie Hall, head coach of the then 2-7 Eskimos was blunt about his team. “We stunk it up, laid a goose egg, didn’t come to compete, couldn’t even execute the fundamentals of football. We couldn’t block, couldn’t catch, couldn’t throw, couldn’t tackle, couldn’t cover.”

The Eskimos had more turnovers (six) than total rushing yards (five).

It was a little better in the rematch. After losing their previous two games by a combined 108-20 margin, Edmonton dropped 36-20 at home. They were only down two points at the half but gave up 16 points early in the third quarter and never recovered.



It is said that it’s not bragging if you can back up your words. The Eskimos did that in 2011. First the marketing department took the bold step of buying space on a billboard right in the McMahon Stadium parking lot to taunt the Stamps and their fans.

Then, the Eskimos went into Calgary and whipped the Stamps 35-7, sacking QB Henry Burris three times and forcing him into two lost fumbles and two interceptions that Edmonton turned into 24 points. The win pulled Edmonton into a first-place tie and also gave them the season series, having beaten Calgary earlier.

Edmonton backup quarterback Kerry Joseph and receivers Andrew Nowacki and Adarius Bowman scored touchdowns. Eskimos QB Ricky Ray was 14-for-21 for 131 yards and two touchdowns.

The Stampeders got their revenge in the rematchmwinning 30-20 in front of 45,672 Commonwealth Stadium fans.



A week that kicker Grant Shaw would like to forget. In both games a victory rested on his foot but lady luck was nowhere to be found.

In Calgary, the Eskimos lost 31-30 after a late-game march into field-goal range. The field goal attempt was unsuccessful and Calgary ran the ball out of the end zone to preserve the win.

Back in Edmonton he had a chance at redemption. With no time left and the Eskimos trailing by two points his 48-yard attempt into the wind clanged off the right upright to give Calgary a 20-18 victory.



Labour Day was a heart-thumping, nail-chewing affair that saw the Eskimos stage a furious, but ultimately unsuccessful fourth-quarter rally. It was also the coming out party for Calgary quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell. Replacing Kevin Glenn who was injured in the second quarter Mitchell was 11-for-18 passing for 226 yards and two touchdowns to build a 37-7 lead.

In the final 10 minutes the Eskimos exploded for four touchdowns to almost steal the victory, finally succumbing 37-34.

There was no fourth-quarter comeback in the rematch when Calgary handed Edmonton its fifth straight loss at home, 22-12, and their eighth straight defeat.

The Stamps swept the Labour Day series for the second straight season and for the third time in four years.



The Labour Day Classic featured the best combined record ever between the two teams, both sitting at 7-1. The best previous combined Labour Day record was 1993 when the Stampeders were 9-0 and the Eskimos were 6-3.

The Eskimos were without QB Mike Reilly, receiver Fred Stamps and seven other starters. Their offence struggled while Calgary enjoyed the return of running back Jon Cornish to lead the Stamps to a 28-13 victory.

Edmonton’s only TD came on a blocked punt that Otha Foster returned 57 yards for the score.