THE CANADIAN PRESS
CALGARY -- Henry Burris tossed two touchdown passes in the first half and then sat back to watch his new understudy pick up right where he left off.
Calgary's starting quarterback hit Nik Lewis and Jermaine Jackson in the first half before the recently signed Cody Pickett tossed two TD passes of his own as the Stampeders downed the Saskatchewan Roughriders 41-17 in both teams' final pre-season game Sunday.
"It was good to go out there and perform well in the first half and give the young guys an opportunity to go out there and show their abilities and give their best audition," said Burris, who completed 12-of-16 passes for 153 yards as Calgary finished its exhibition schedule 2-0.
"A lot of the young guys did a great job and it's going to make decisions difficult for our coaching staff, but it's over now. Now it's time to get ready for the real one (Calgary's regular season opener) and that's July 1st against the Argos."
Pickett, who spent the last three seasons with Toronto, was signed by the Stamps on Tuesday and had limited time to learn the offence.
"(Quarterbacks coach Dave Dickenson) did a great job keeping it simple for me," said Pickett, who went 7-for-9 for 87 yards with touchdown passes to rookies Mike Cornell and Ronald Keels in less than a quarter of action.
"Being here since Tuesday, it feels good to come in and have a little bit of success. Credit the coaching staff for coming up with great plays and getting guys open and getting them in the right situations."
Calgary coach and general manager John Hufnagel credited Pickett with making a good first impression.
"He did not hurt his stock value," said Hufnagel of Pickett, who's in a battle with Drew Tate and Zac Champion for the backup role. "It is going to be difficult, but that's your whole objective why you do your off-season recruiting. You try and get the best into training camp and make it as competitive as possible, so you have to make those tough decisions."
Rafael Little added a rushing touchdown for the Stamps in the fourth quarter, while rookie kicker Rob Maver booted a pair of field goals.
Darian Durant played the first half at quarterback for the 'Riders and completed 14-of-18 passes for 156 yards. Durant engineered an eight-play, 73-yard drive in the first quarter that was capped off by a Wes Cates rushing touchdown for Saskatchewan, which finished the pre-season 0-2.
"I thought we came out and we did some good things," Durant said. "We moved the ball pretty well. A bunch of penalties hurt us in the game. Good thing it's the pre-season, because you can't have that happen in the regular season."
Luca Congi was 1-of-2 on field goals as the 'Riders couldn't get anything going in front of 29,050 fans at McMahon Stadium.
"I just told the team that surely we'll find some bright spots when we go back through it and through the video, but right now they don't come to mind," said Saskatchewan head coach Ken Miller.
With the game out of reach in the fourth quarter, third-string Saskatchewan pivot Cole Bergquist showed off his arm by tossing a 21-yard TD pass to Cary Koch.
On Calgary's first possession of the game, Lewis capped off a seven-play, 61-yard drive by catching a nine-yard touchdown pass from Burris. Running back Joffrey Reynolds carried the ball three times on the drive including a 31-yard run that put the Stamps into scoring possession.
The 'Riders answered right back as Cates finished off an impressive drive when he rushed five yards into the Calgary end zone.
After Maver opened up the second quarter with a 40-yard field goal, Calgary built a 17-7 lead when Burris tossed a 17-yard touchdown pass to Jackson.
Congi then kicked a 47-yard field goal for Saskatchewan before Maver responded with a 19-yarder to give Calgary a 20-10 lead at halftime.
Early in the third quarter, Calgary defensive back Keon Raymond picked off an errant pass by Saskatchewan's second-string quarterback Ryan Dinwiddie and returned it to the Saskatchewan 23-yard line.
Three plays later, Pickett threw and eight-yard TD pass to Cornell, a rookie fullback from Hamilton. On Calgary's next drive, Pickett tossed a 21-yard TD strike to Keels.
"He put it right there in the hole, a perfect throw," said Keels, who hauled in four catches for 40 yards in addition to a 58-yard punt return and a pair of kickoff returns for 42 yards.
"It was perfect," Keels said of his CFL debut. "I couldn't draw it out any better."
Little then plunged into the end zone from one yard out early in the fourth quarter before Koch rounded out the scoring with his touchdown catch.
Notes: The 'Riders will open their regular-season schedule with a home game against the Montreal Alouettes on Canada Day. ... Tate and Champion also saw action at quarterback for the Stamps. Tate completed 4-of-5 passes for 41 yards, while Champion went 2-for-4 for 19 yards.