Team aims to bounce back against the Ti­cats

Calgary Herald - - FRONT PAGE - DANNY AUSTIN daustin@post­media.com www.twit­ter.com/Dan­nyAustin_9

HAMIL­TON, ONT. Make no mis­take, the Cal­gary Stam­ped­ers are proud of the fact that they haven’t lost two mean­ing­ful games in a row since 2012. It’s a border­line ab­surd ac­com­plish­ment, and yes, they lost three in a row at the end of last sea­son, but those all came af­ter the Stamps al­ready had wrapped up first place in the West Di­vi­sion. They weren’t en­tirely mean­ing­less, but let’s be real: they ba­si­cally were.

For new play­ers on the team, it’s some­thing you learn to care about from es­sen­tially the day you ar­rive at McMa­hon Sta­dium.

“Ever since I’ve been here, that’s some­thing ev­ery­one’s preached, and not just the coaches, that we don’t lose two in a row,” said Stamps DB Emanuel Davis, who signed with the team in free agency this off-sea­son. “I think that just shows the type of guys we have in the locker-room, to al­ways be re­silient no mat­ter what hap­pened the week be­fore.”

If the Stamps are go­ing to keep their run alive — and again, last year’s sea­son-end­ing losses mean it’s not tech­ni­cally alive — they’re go­ing to have to over­come a mas­sive test on Satur­day against the surg­ing Hamil­ton Tiger-Cats (2 p.m., TSN, NewsTalk770).

The Stamps (9-2) lost a tight, thrilling con­test to the Ed­mon­ton Eski­mos last week­end and are fac­ing a Ti­cats (6-5) team that could claim sole pos­ses­sion of first place in the East Di­vi­sion if things go their way this week­end.

For the Stamps, keep­ing their streak of not los­ing twice in a row alive is a whole lot less im­por­tant than main­tain­ing their lead over the Saskatchewan Roughrid­ers atop the West Di­vi­sion.

“What I’ve al­ways said is, ‘How deep are your lows, and can you carry your highs longer?’ ” Stamps head coach Dave Dick­en­son said. “As you can see with the ros­ters and who’s hot and who’s not and who you’re fac­ing at what time of the sea­son, the odds of you not hav­ing a two-game los­ing streak are pretty low. We’ve been able to avoid that.”

In the eyes of Stamps QB Bo Levi Mitchell, the se­cret to not los­ing two in a row isn’t any­thing par­tic­u­larly out-of-this-world.

The Stamps know peo­ple are go­ing to start over­an­a­lyz­ing ev­ery lit­tle thing when they do lose a game, and they make sure that the guys in the locker-room don’t over­re­act to the in­evitable losses

when they do come.

“I think it’s the fact that we don’t care about whether peo­ple start to ask ques­tions,” Mitchell said. “If we lose a game peo­ple start ask­ing, ‘ What is it that caused the Cal­gary Stam­ped­ers to lose this foot­ball game and what could pos­si­bly lead them to los­ing ?’ and we just go about our business the same way.

“I know it’s bor­ing, but it’s true. We go about our business ev­ery sin­gle week, no mat­ter who’s on the ros­ter.”

While the Stam­ped­ers ob­vi­ously would love to be 11-0, it’s worth won­der­ing whether the losses they ’ve taken so far might ac­tu­ally be a good thing. You can’t bounce back un­less you’ve got some­thing to bounce back from.

“No­body’s per­fect, you know, I live by the say­ing that ‘you don’t want to fol­low a king with no scars’ so if you have a per­son up there preach­ing and they haven’t went through any­thing, it’s kind of hard to fol­low that per­son,” Davis said. “If you’ve got a team that’s been battle-tested … I feel like mov­ing on to the next week is eas­ier.”

LEAH HENNEL

Cal­gary’s Emanuel Davis says there’s ex­tra mo­ti­va­tion for to­day be­cause the Stamps don’t tol­er­ate los­ing back-to-back games.

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