West ri­vals seek­ing to avenge de­feats

Calgary Herald - - SPORTS - KRIS­TEN ANDERSON kan­der­[email protected]­media.com

Play­ing the Cal­gary Stam­ped­ers is a tough task, as they have proven so far in this Cana­dian Foot­ball League sea­son.

But play­ing the Cal­gary Stam­ped­ers af­ter they lose?

“I think it’s one of the tough­est things in the world,” said de­fen­sive backs coach Josh Bell. “Not just be­cause of what people say, but the re­al­ity of it is, we’re al­ready a hard team to beat. But if you want to take us on af­ter we lose, it’s go­ing to be dou­bly tough. Our focus is even nar­rowed a lit­tle bit more.

“It will be tough on them to come into McMa­hon (Sta­dium) to play.”

Them, of course, are the Win­nipeg Blue Bombers, who al­lowed 500 yards of net of­fence to the Ot­tawa Red­blacks in last week’s 44-21 loss.

Quar­ter­back Matt Ni­chols com­pleted 23 of 35 passes for 291 yards, along with two touch­down passes to Darvin Adams, while An­drew Harris had 72 yards rush­ing along with a touch­down.

So, the Stam­ped­ers will have their hands full, too.

But af­ter los­ing 40-27 to the Saskatchewan Roughrid­ers, there’s an air of re­demp­tion at McMa­hon Sta­dium this week — even though no one would re­ally ad­mit it.

“Yeah, we lost. We know we lost. But we know things we did well and we know things we didn’t do well,” said Stam­ped­ers re­ceiver Ka­mar Jor­den.

“So, we cor­rect those things and just con­tinue to grow and watch the film. It’s a new op­po­nent, a new week. We want to just go out and put it on them.”

The Grey Cup is never won in Au­gust, but go­ing 7-1 at this point in the CFL sea­son is an ac­com­plish­ment. But the Stam­ped­ers know bet­ter than any other team in the league that it only mat­ters how you fin­ish.

“Me, per­son­ally, and just the feel from the whole team, (head coach) Dave (Dick­en­son) and the whole or­ga­ni­za­tion, it’s so much big­ger,” Jor­den said. “We’re in the mind­set of al­ways im­prov­ing and get­ting bet­ter. As long as we’re get­ting bet­ter and im­prov­ing, wins and losses are go­ing to hap­pen, as long as at the end of the year we’re play­ing bet­ter, that’s what mat­ters.

“The last two years were what they were. But we want to win the last game of the sea­son, and we know that to do that, we have to get bet­ter, game-in and game-out.”

The scout­ing re­port from Dick­en­son is that the Bombers play a fast of­fence with mul­ti­ple for­ma­tions and trick plays from their of­fence, de­fence and special teams.

Good per­son­nel. Ag­gres­sive. Phys­i­cal.

And, like the Stam­ped­ers, they ’re hun­gry af­ter last week’s loss.

“A bounce-back game?” Dick­en­son quipped. “I un­der­stand what you’re say­ing, in the sense that you al­ways want to get back on the win­ning track. We just know it’s go­ing to be tough. You al­ways cy­cle dur­ing a sea­son, you re­ally do. The key is not hav­ing your lows stay low for a long time and ex­tend your highs.

“We cer­tainly want to get back on a high.”

Be­cause then it’s the Labour Day Clas­sic against the Ed­mon­ton Eski­mos, fol­lowed by the re­match at Com­mon­wealth Sta­dium.

And, soon enough, the sum­mer air will turn to fall and it will be the end of the reg­u­lar sea­son be­fore they know it.

“It’s go­ing to be chal­leng­ing,” said de­fen­sive back Ja­mar Wall about Satur­day’s clash at McMa­hon Sta­dium.

“They clas­sify them­selves as the bul­lies around the league. They have a big of­fen­sive line and good run­ning backs. That makes the game a lot harder to stop when you have those two di­men­sions. We know it’s go­ing to be phys­i­cal. We know they’re com­ing out to seek re­venge. At the same time, we’re do­ing the same thing. We’re a tough team to beat al­ready. Then, com­ing off a loss? It’s go­ing to be even tougher.”

GAVIN YOUNG

Stam­ped­ers de­fen­sive back Ja­mar Wall, left, says the Blue Bombers will pro­vide a chal­lenge when they come to town on Satur­day.

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