Vanstone: Non-season of 2020 is Riders’ latest bad-luck story

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On the final play, Calgary’s Larry Robinson was called upon to attempt a 32-yard field goal into a chilling wind that was gusting up to 60 kilometres per hour.

“I didn’t think there was a chance,” Robinson reflected.

Despite connecting on just 12 of 32 field-goal attempts — a Sunteresque percentage of 37.5 — during the regular season, Robinson somehow made the clutch kick to give Calgary a 15-14 victory.

Calgary went on to suffer a 23-10 Grey Cup loss to the Montreal Alouettes, whose roster included Kosmos … and his cleats.

Six more years elapsed before the Roughriders’ next first-place finish. Over to you, Tony Gabriel.

Saskatchewan waited another 33 years to claim top spot in the West once again. The reward: 13th-man devastation in the Grey Cup game.

A decade passed before the Roughriders won another pennant. However, Fajardo was hampered by torn oblique muscles in the 2019 West final, won 20-13 by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Fajardo’s final pass, directed toward Kyran Moore, hit the crossbar as time expired.

Now there is a pandemic, which has deprived us of Canadian professional football during this wretched year, 2020.

On hold is the charismatic Fajardo’s first full season as the Roughriders’ starting quarterback.

One is left to wonder what he would have accomplished this year, at age 28.

Lancaster was 28 when he quarterbacked Saskatchewan to its first Grey Cup victory.

At 28, Kent Austin lacerated the B.C. Lions’ defence for six touchdown passes — still a Roughriders single-game record.

When Darian Durant was 28, he threw for a career-high 5,542 yards and guided Saskatchewan to a second successive Grey Cup berth … whereupon the Roughriders swallowed another heartbreaking loss.

Such is the bad luck to which the Roughriders have been subjected to an inordinate degree.

Granted, they have won four titles — in 1966, 1989, 2007 and 2013.

But as a counterbalance to the thrill of victory, there is the agony of the cleats.


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