Armed for trench war

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:28 AM ET

Maybe little Jake Pilon knew best.

By holding on past his due date, the newborn son of Calgary Stampeders o-lineman Jeff Pilon avoided witnessing the Calgary Stampeders horror show last week in Vancouver.

No baby should be subjected to such a grisly scene.

The newest Pilon arrived in time for the rematch in which Papa Pilon will start at his customary right tackle spot after missing six games.

While most witnesses considered the Stamps' 39-13 loss to the Lions a horrific car crash, Pilon said it was merely a fender bender the team will recover from when the Lions visit Sunday at McMahon (2 p.m.).

"That was some of the most pressure we've given up (on QB Henry Burris) but on the whole we did pretty well," said Pilon, looking a little bleary-eyed after practice yesterday, just hours after helping wife Kelly deliver their first child.

"When Hank's feeling rushed, he's going to hurry the throw, the receivers aren't open, it actually creates a chain effect which causes a huge ripple down at the end.

"It starts with us to set the tone. We didn't play that bad. There's no finger pointing, nobody to blame, we just have to come out and do it against those guys."

Pilon missed five games with a knee injury then didn't make the trip to Vancouver last Friday after Kelly began experiencing labour pains.

Pilon called last week's loss "just one game," although the Lions now enjoy a five-game win streak over Calgary. Meanwhile Saskatchewan, a team Calgary has defeated five of the last six games, has dominated the Lions.

"It's hard to say why and Saskatchewan has their number," Pilon said.

"Nobody can explain it. I think we match up man-for-man, our coaching matches up, our game plan matches up. It's just us self-destructing."

Offensive co-ordinator Steve Buratto welcomes the return of the seven-year veteran, who had been replaced by backups Tyler Lynem and Godfrey Ellis.

"It will be good to have back his experience and the kind of player he is, very aggressive," Buratto said.

"Although Tyler and Godfrey did a good job in there, Jeff's experience will allow him to do a better job."

The Stamps will likely use double tight ends more often Sunday, although they allowed plenty of pressure even when using that formation last week against an aggressive Lions attack.

"We just didn't play very well or execute with enough crispness against a very good defence to be successful," Buratto said.

The Lions built a 33-6 lead in the fourth quarter, then stuck the Stamps' noses in the mess by recovering a short kickoff. It's something the Stamps intend to remember should they advance to the West final and again face the Lions.

"They told us what they thought of us at the end of the football game and now we find out whether we can step up or we can't," Buratto said.

"The trip to the Grey Cup goes through Vancouver and we need to play with enough intensity and enough skill to beat them."


Videos

Photos