Week one of the CFL season was memorable for a lot of negative reasons. If you’re a fan of the Montreal Alouettes, Edmonton Eskimos or Saskatchewan Roughriders, not only did your team suffer a week one loss, but your team also lost their starting quarterback. However if you’re a fan of the Calgary Stampeders the start of the regular season was one you won’t soon forget.
Their game against Hamilton wasn’t perfect by any means, as the Stamps made mistakes on both sides of the ball that they’ll want to correct. But when the offense had the chance to march down the field and win the game, there was sense of calmness on the sidelines among players and coaches alike, as the team just knew they could get the job done.
Rene Paredes would eventually kick the game winning field goal and he knew he was going to be called upon even before the drive began.
“On the last drive even with 40 seconds left I still knew we would have a chance,” Paredes said. “Especially with Bo (Levi MitchelL), (Jon) Cornish and (Jeff) Fuller to drive the ball down field, I was just getting ready for any type of kick whether it was a 15 yarder or a 50 harder.”
That is the type of confidence you gain when you have as many reliable weapons as the Stampeders do. Fuller certainly has given the Stamps a target on the outside and was used on that final drive when the team was facing their last down. Facing a third and 17 situation following a sack, Mitchell found Fuller on the sideline for a highlight reel catch to keep Calgary’s game. The relationship that Fuller has developed with Mitchell gives him the belief that the two can make anything happen on the field.
“Bo comes from winning type culture at Cady High School in Texas, so it’s cool to be able to play with him now,” Fuller told Sportsnet 960.
The two used their newfound chemistry to put the keep the team alive late. After a penalty saw the Stamps get pushed back, it was time for Paredes to step up. Paredes did indeed step up as he was dead center with plenty of distance from 50 yards out to give the Red and White the win.
“There was a lot of pressure but I’ve been doing this for a while,” Paredes recalled. “I just take a few deep breaths and treated it like a regular kick. My very first CFL kick was from 50 yards in BC back in 2011, and when I set the record in 2013 there were a couple of kicks that stand out as high pressure ones.”
That record Paredes refers to is his CFL record of 30 consecutive field goals set back in 2013. He ended up with a streak of 39 that year.
With a kicker like Paredes, and players that have chemistry and confidence like Mitchell and Fuller, the Stampeders have shown that no matter how much time is left on the clock, if they’re in striking distance, they still have a chance to win the game.