After leading his Edmonton Elks to a 32-20 victory over the Stampeders in front of 31,039 fans at McMahon Stadium on Monday, the veteran CFL quarterback can finally stop hearing how he went 0-9-2 against Calgary in 11 previous regular games. season games with the Toronto Argonauts, Ottawa Redblacks and Edmonton.
He was also on the losing side of the 106th Gray Cup in Edmonton on November 25, 2018 when his Redblacks lost 27-16 to the Stamps.
“I’ve had people tell me about it,” said Harris, who threw four touchdowns to four different receivers.
“I guess getting rid of the proverbial monkey feels good, but at the end of the day CFL football is tough to win games no matter what and every time you play in Calgary it’s going to be tough. I’m just happy to have won today as a team.
Ernest Edwards, Jalen Tolliver, James Wilder Jr. and Mike Jones picked up TD assists from Harris as Edmonton (2-2) ended their eight-game losing streak (2012-2019) in the Classic Annual Labor Day between the two CFL Alberta clubs.
Sean Whyte also posted a field goal, while Hugh O’Neill posted a single for the Elks, who had not played since a 21-16 win over British Columbia on August 19.
The Elks were scheduled to play in Toronto on August 26, but that game was postponed after the West Division club struggled with COVID-19. The game against Toronto has since been postponed to November 16.
“It’s all about us as a team,” said Harris, who completed 31 of 41 passes for 398 yards against the Stamps. “I don’t know if we’ve made a statement, but I know what we’re capable of and I know we’re finally starting to scratch the surface.
“I think we got better every week. We faced a lot of adversity and obviously with everything that happened with the postponement of the Toronto game… we came out stronger and we came out better.
Ka’Deem Carey posted a rushing score for the Stampeders (1-4), while quarterback Jake Maier threw a touchdown pass to Markeith Ambles.
“We (weren’t) just connected on offense – dropping passes, (taking) penalties, not staying on the field,” said Kamar Jorden, who led all receivers with 123 yards as he captured 9 of the 12 passes thrown in his path. . “These are the little things that we expect to go through. We absolutely have to find a way to improve our offense, to have confidence in ourselves and to have a little bluster behind us.
Rene Paredes kicked two baskets for the Stamps, who travel to Edmonton to face the Elks in the Labor Day rematch on Saturday night at Commonwealth Stadium.
“It was difficult to have a lot of optimism,” said Calgary coach Dave Dickenson. “We’re just trying to win a game. I think we can do it. I think we can get on that bus and head north and put ourselves in another position to win a game. It’s going to take a lot of deep digging, though – a bit of extra work and as coaches we have to try to figure out what our guys are good at and we have to start putting them in that position because now what we’re doing. and the call does not work.
The Stamps opened the scoring when Paredes posted a 35-yard field goal at 3:45 of the first quarter.
The Elks took a 7-3 lead at 7:38 when Edwards recovered a 45-yard pass from Harris to cap an eight-play, 75-yard run.
The visitors had a chance to consolidate their lead soon after, but Whyte missed a 48-yard wide basket on the left.
After receiving a five-yard penalty for procedure to bring them back to their own 20-yard line, the Elks came down the field for 80 yards in four games. Harris finished the impressive practice at 9:35 of the second quarter when he threw a six-yard pass to Toliver to give Edmonton a 14-3 lead.
The Stamps responded straight away with an excellent nine-game, 86-yard score, with Carey entering the end zone for a 13-yard touchdown with five minutes remaining in the first half.
In Edmonton’s next practice, Whyte missed his second straight field goal as his 35-yard kick hit the right upright and bounced off the field.
Calgary appeared to take the lead with just 35 seconds to intermission when Derek Wiggan recovered a fumble and ran into the end zone, but the game was called off due to an offside from Shawn Lemon.
After an unsuccessful Elks practice early in the second half, Maier devised an eight-play, 83-yard drive that he finished with a nine-yard pass to Ambles at 6:20 of the third.
Whyte kicked a 36-yard field goal at 10:15 to lead the Elks to a 17-17 draw before the final quarter.
Paredes then put the Stamps back in the lead by three points with a field goal of 36 yards 51 seconds off the fourth.
Harris then returned to work as he guided the Elks on a pair of long runs that both resulted in touchdowns.
After Wilder made a short pass and ran into the end zone for 10 yards at 8:05 am, Harris then connected with Jones for a 52-yard TD pass at 2:39 am.
“These guys never flinched,” Edmonton coach Jaime Elizondo said of his players.
“They stayed together. Believe him in who they are. This is the standard we expect. This is what we are meant to be and what we are meant to do. I couldn’t be more proud of this team – their resilience, their character… their mental toughness and they showed it today on the pitch. I am really proud of them.
O’Neill completed the scoring with an 84-yard single on the next kick-off.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on September 6, 2021.