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HISTORY >> Grey Cup >> 1948

1948 – Calgary Stampeders 12, Ottawa Rough Riders 7

Venue: Varsity Stadium
Location: Toronto, ON
Date: November 27
Attendance: 20,013
Winning Coach: Les Lear

The Calgary Stampeders won their first Grey Cup in 1948, but it was their fans that left an impact on the game forever.

Hundreds of Calgarians invaded Toronto and created a festival atmosphere that has been associated with the game ever since. There were those who flipped flapjacks on the steps of City Hall, and those who rode horses through the prestigious Royal York Hotel. Impromptu parades and dances also took place. There wasn’t a pub in downtown Toronto that didn’t have celebrating Westerners in it.

As for the game itself, the youthful Stampeders were considered underdogs against a veteran Rough Riders squad. But it was the Ottawa team that played like neophytes, as the Grey Cup trophy headed West for just the fourth time. The Riders were on the Calgary eight, 10 and 22-yard lines on three separate occasions, and came away with no points.

Calgary’s first major of the game came courtesy of a failed gamble by the Riders. Howie Turner was asked to run his second fake punt of the game at the Calgary 46. Although the first one was successful, the Stampeders were not fooled twice. Turner was stopped on the run, and five plays later, Calgarians were celebrating a touchdown.

The Stampeders worked the sleeper play to perfection. With an undetected Norm Hill standing along the sideline, Keith Spaith connected with him on a wobbly pass for the major. Although many of the fans in attendance warned the unsuspecting Riders, defenders Doug Smylie and Wilf Tremblay didn’t see Hill.

A mental lapse provided the Stampeders the winning score in the final quarter. Ottawa’s Pete Karpuk let a wild lateral pass roll around the ground. Believing the play was dead, Karpuk didn’t feel the urgency to pick the ball up. Calgary’s Woody Strode knew better, as he grabbed the ball, and ran all the way to the Ottawa 11 before being tackled. Pete Thodos scored the winning major, darting around the end and behind good blocking crossed the goal line standing up.

Bob Paffrath scored the lone touchdown for Ottawa.

The Stampeders were the last team to go undefeated in a season. They had a perfect 12-0 mark in the Western Interprovincial Football Union regular season, and defeated the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the playoffs.

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