Hank kicks the 'Cats

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:03 PM ET

The Calgary Stampeders give a big thumbs-up to the return of Henry Burris.

With their No. 1 pivot back behind centre for the first time in four games, the Stamps easily beat the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 34-17 last night at McMahon Stadium.

Burris, who tore thumb ligaments in his non-throwing hand against the Edmonton Eskimos more than a month ago, engineered three long scoring drives to provide the bulk of the offence as the Stamps stayed in the thick of the CFL West Division playoff race.

"It was a breath of fresh air to be back out there with the guys," Burris said. "The guys were excited. We were spreading the ball around and everyone was making catches. You could tell when we got going because we were having fun."

The victory puts Calgary at 8-7 and into a temporary third-place tie with the Saskatchewan Roughriders (8-7). Calgary's victory also officially eliminates the Tiger-Cats (3-12) and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (5-10) from the playoff race.

Burris wasn't exactly sharp last night in his return but he got plenty of help from the offensive talent surrounding him. Receiver Jeremaine Copeland made two nice grabs on a momentum-changing scoring drive just before halftime, including a 10-yard TD reception.

"That drive got us going," said receiver Ken-Yon Rambo. "We had a lot of momentum after that. Henry was putting it where it needs to be. He was putting the ball where the DB wasn't."

Copeland was a sparkplug with four catches for 67 yards after not seeing many passes with Danny Wimprine and Jason Gesser replacing Burris.

Both Rambo and Nik Lewis made diving catches on another TD drive in the fourth quarter, which Lewis capped off with a one-yard reception, while Burris also threw a 10-yard TD to new running back/return specialist David Allen to open the fourth quarter.

Head coach Tom Higgins was impressed with his receiving corps and all the drive-saving catches they made. Burris finished 18-of-27 passing for 221 yards and three TD passes but, just as importantly, didn't throw any interceptions.

"It ranks up there with their best (effort)," Higgins said of his receivers. "It was a valiant effort and something we needed to have happen so they can support Henry. It was a very sluggish first half but it was good to see how they responded in the second half."

Stamps running back Joffrey Reynolds was also effective, carrying the ball 20 times for 113 yards despite not being 100% healthy because of a knee strain he suffered two weeks ago.

Linebacker George White also scored on a late 53-yard interception TD, his first pick of the season.

Hamilton running back Jesse Lumsden scored his first CFL touchdown on a six-yard carry, while veteran QB Danny McManus hit D.J. Flick for a four-yard score late in the fourth quarter. Jamie Boreham kicked a 29-yard field goal and 56-yard single to round out the Ticats scoring.

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CALGARY STAMPEDERS: 34

HAMILTON TIGER-CATS: 17


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