Stamp stomps away

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 10:46 AM ET

Smilin' Hank was Steamin' Hank last night.

The Calgary Stampeders quarterback stormed out of the locker-room, refusing to speak with media after a humiliating 43-20 loss to the B.C. Lions.

The second-year Stamps starter was pulled at the end of the third quarter, trailing 26-10, after completing 16 of 30 passes for 196 yards and one interception.

Adding to the embarrassment was the presence of his parents, visiting from Spiro, Okla.

Jeremaine Copeland, who had a Burris TD pass called back because of a penalty, was hard-pressed to explain his QB's actions.

"I guess he walked out because he must have felt he played bad," said Copeland, who caught two passes for 22 yards. "I don't think our running game was clicking and I think it looked to me like we had a lot of guys open down field in the first half. We either had penalties or we didn't get the ball to them.

"We played like crap, period ... Every- body's got to share it because it's a team game. I'm not going to point fingers at anybody because it is a team game. Some guys didn't bring their 'A' game today, that's just the way it was."

Burris was replaced by backup Danny McManus, who threw an 81-yard touchdown pass on his second play but struggled the rest of the way.

The 17-year veteran, acquired in the off-season as a bona fide insurance policy when Burris struggles, threw two picks after a sensational start. He said he spoke with Burris after the game and understands the starter's frustrations.

"It's not physical. We've got the players who can make the plays. It's mental," said McManus.

"He'll be fine. The sun's going to come up tomorrow."

Head coach Tom Higgins was adamant Burris will again start Saturday in Regina against the Saskatchewan Roughriders, his former team. It was the site of his best game this season just two weeks ago.

"Obviously, he's not happy he wasn't able to finish a football game," Higgins said. "There's a lot of hard feelings in the locker-room. A lot of times the blame goes on the quarterback (but) he wasn't dropping the passes ... we had our chances and didn't capitalize on them.

"It was one of those things where you need to make a change, you pull the trigger and you hope it will ignite a spark because you can't take everybody off the field."

The second-year Stamps starter made far too many bone-headed plays to somehow escape the wrath of understandably hot fans.

McManus received one of the loudest cheers of the night just for strapping on his helmet and jogging onto the field.

And he needed only two plays to justify their applause. The 81-yard TD strike sparked another loud ovation but it was all McManus could muster from the Stampeders offence.

Burris committed one of his most indefensible blunders late in the third quarter. Under intense pressure from the Lions defence, Burris tried to slip a tackle and complete a dump pass. Only problem was Lions DB Dante Marsh read the botched play better than the Calgary receiver, picking off the pass and charging 63 yards for a touchdown and a 26-10 lead.

The list of Burris miscues was lengthy. He overthrew Brett Ralph, wide open at the Lions goal-line in the first quarter.

He also tossed one over the head of Nik Lewis, roaming unobstructed deep in the B.C. endzone in the second stanza.

Both wayward throws were Burris' fault, as he would be first to admit.

But the collection gaffes by the Stamps offence was inexcusable and partly the cause of the unit's series of missed opportunities.

Elijah Thurmon dropped TD passes of 33 and 26 yards in the second quarter.


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