Green and Gold simply fold

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:21 AM ET

Suddenly, Labour peace has been declared in the Battle of Alberta.

Three years ago, when Ricky Ray was tossed out of bounds in the annual Labour Day Classic at McMahon Stadium, a helmet-swinging brawl ensued.

Yesterday, the Eskimos quarterback was again shoved into the Edmonton bench in Calgary's 44-23 victory.

No one from the Eskimos made a move towards Stampeders linebacker Khalid Abdullah.

"I was thinking there was going to be a fight, not only on that play but several plays," said Stampeders d-lineman Rahim Abdullah, Khalid's older brother and a former Eskimo, who was in the middle of the action in 2003.

"I've never played a Labour Day Classic when there wasn't a fight. I guess guys realized the game was out of hand and they wanted to lose with dignity and class."

The Stamps whipped the Eskimos 44-23 and the two teams meet again Friday at Commonwealth Stadium, where tempers may flare.

Outside of the few normal mask-to-mask screaming matches yesterday, nothing escalated past the point minor skirmish.

On the field after the game, the teams were pleasant to each other as they shook hands and chatted.

"This was one of the nicest Labour Day Games I've ever played in," said Stamps defensive lineman Sheldon Napastuk.

"I think maybe this year we'll see the heated battle in the rematch.

"Right now, their spirits have got to be pretty low and we had to take advantage of that. They seemed down, didn't have as much fight as you'd expect."

Stampeders d-lineman Randy Chevrier, another former Eskimo, was in the middle of the 2003 brawl and remembers the ramifications it had on both teams.

Players were fined and suspended after a referee was injured. That may have scared the players from duking.

"A lot of the current coaching staffs were there and they don't want that stuff to happen anymore," Chevrier said.

"We learned from it.

"Nobody wants to lose anybody. It happened a long time ago, so we can look back and laugh.

"It was pretty serious at the time and it's a black mark on the league. It's part of the lore of Labour Day but you don't want to be the guy who starts that."


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