Blue Bombers reach CFL's West Division final against Roughriders with 35-14 win over Stampeders
Winnipeg Blue Bombers' Janarion Grant, centre, runs the ball as Calgary Stampeders' Riley Jones closes in during CFL West Semifinal football action in Calgary, Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh)
CALGARY -- The Winnipeg Blue Bombers advanced to the CFL's West Division final with a 35-14 win over the Calgary Stampeders in Sunday's semifinal.
The Blue Bombers travel to Regina to face the Saskatchewan Roughriders in next Sunday's West final.
The victor there represents the West in the Grey Cup in Calgary on Nov. 24.
Nic Demski, Darvin Adams and Chris Streveler scored touchdowns and Justin Medlock kicked four field goals for Winnipeg.
Reggie Begelton scored two touchdowns for the host Stampeders, who won last year's Grey Cup but will not defend their title on home turf this year.
Winnipeg hasn't won the CFL's championship trophy since 1990.
The Blue Bombers (11-7) finished third in the West Division behind the Roughriders (13-5) and Stampeders (12-6).
The Edmonton Eskimos (8-10) crossed over from the West to beat the Montreal Alouettes 37-29 earlier Sunday in the East Division semifinal.
The Esks take on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in next Sunday's East final.
Bombers starting quarterback Zach Collaros completed 11 of 21 pass attempts for 193 yards and one touchdown pass.
A Roughrider to start the season, Collaros was traded twice and arrived in Winnipeg on Oct. 9 via the Toronto Argonauts.
Streveler had taken over as Winnipeg's starter when Matt Nichols went down with a shoulder injury in August.
An ankle injury sidelined Streveler in the regular-season finale, but he returned Sunday to lead the Bombers in rushing yards with 82 yards.
Stampeder quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell was without his favourite target -- injured receiver Eric Rogers -- and struggled completing just 12 of 28 pass attempts for 116 yards. Mitchell was intercepted three times.
Winnipeg faced Calgary in a third straight game Sunday. The Bombers had a bye week after splitting 1-1 with the Stampeders to cap their regular season.
Trailing 14-8 at halftime, the Bombers scored 27 unanswered points in the second half in front of an announced 24,278 at a chilly McMahon Stadium.
Morning snowfall halted and gave way to partly cloudy skies at kickoff with a temperature of minus-14.
Mitchell was intercepted on consecutive drives in the fourth quarter by Nick Taylor and Mercy Maston respectively.
Calgary turned the ball over on downs with just over three minutes remaining in the game.
Streveler scored a 24-yard rushing touchdown at 8:35. Medlock's 42-yard field goal at 7:23 hit the right upright, but made it through for the three points.
Collaros and Adams combined on a 71-yard touchdown catch and run at 3:18. Medlock booted a 42-yard field goal at 2:29.
Demski's 33-yard rushing touchdown at 10:35 of the third capped a seven-play, 82-yard drive. Winnipeg led for the first time in the game -- 15-14 -- on Medlock's convert.
Jerome Lorenzo's 53-yard punt return had Calgary starting in Winnipeg territory late in the first half. Mitchell and Begelton's combined on a 19-yard catch and run for a 14-5 lead.
But the Bombers trailed by a touchdown at the half following Medlock's 52-yard field goal.
Under pressure in the end zone early in the second quarter, Mitchell was called for intentional grounding when he threw the ball away.
Calgary conceding the two-point safety preceded Medlock's 34-yard field goal for the Bombers to trail 7-5.
Winnipeg's 47-yard pass interference penalty gave the Stampeders the ball at the four-yard line on Calgary's opening drive of the game.
Mitchell had aired the ball out to a sprinting Josh Huff. Winnipeg's Mike Jones was called for the infraction.
On a third-and-one, Stampeder backup quarterback Nick Arbuckle handed off to Begelton. He eluded both Jonathan Kongbo and Willie Jefferson taking a wide route to the end zone to score.
This report by The Canadian Press was originally published on Nov. 10, 2019