Classic mismatch

Calgary Stampeders' Joffrey Reynolds fights past Edmonton Eskimos' J.R. LaRose during their Labour...

Calgary Stampeders' Joffrey Reynolds fights past Edmonton Eskimos' J.R. LaRose during their Labour Day game at McMahon Stadium in Calgary. (Calgary Sun/Stuart Dryden)

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:54 AM ET

There's more bad news for the Edmonton Eskimos.

After soundly thrashing the Green and Gold 44-23 during yesterday's Labour Day Classic, Calgary Stampeders players and coaches all agreed they could play much better and vowed to do so in Friday's rematch at Commonwealth Stadium.

"I know the athletes are happy but we know we can play better," said Stampeders head coach Tom Higgins.

Those must be ominous words for the Eskimos (3-7), who have lost five of their last six and are in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since 1971.

Meanwhile, the Stamps -- who've won four straight -- put together an almost complete performance yesterday.

Quarterback Henry Burris used his scrambling ability to help keep drives alive and finished with 88 yards rushing.

But he threw an interception when trying to force a pass into coverage and he also fumbled the ball at midfield.

"I don't want to make those mistakes again," said Burris, who rebounded to finish 16-of-25 passing for 310 yards.

"The turnovers really settled us down because we were trying to do too much.

"But we feel we can win every game no matter what."

Running back Joffrey Reynolds did a great job once again, scoring from five and seven yards out, while his backup Wes Cates caught a swing pass from Burris and scampered 74 yards for a touchdown.

One of the other bright spots was the play of linebacker Cornelius Anthony, who has stepped in admirably for veteran John Grace.

Anthony sacked Eskimos quarterback Ricky Ray three times and forced a Troy Davis fumble that fellow linebacker Brian Clark scooped up for a 31-yard TD.

Clark's score came two minutes after a Reynolds TD and put the Stamps up 20-10 in the second quarter. The Eskimos never really threatened after that.

"It just stuck to my hands," said Clark. "I was lucky enough to be there and I was lucky enough to stay on my feet and score.

"But we left some turnovers out there. There were plays we didn't make, so there's lot of room for improvement. We'll get better for Friday."

The Stamps improved to 7-4 and are a game back of the first-place B.C. Lions.

Ray finished 18-of-29 passing for 279 yards and two touchdowns before being pulled for backup Jason Johnson.

Jason Tucker made a nice sidestep to send Stamps defender Jermaine Chatman crashing into teammate Tony Tiller before grabbing a 37-yard TD pass, while Ray scrambled from defenders to find Trevor Gaylor open for a 32-yard major.

Anthony points to both those plays as low points for the Stamps defence, which had several chances to put Ray down before he threw the ball.

"We played really well but there are things we can work on," Anthony said.

"We have to be disciplined in all phases, whether it's the guys rushing or the secondary covering."

Once again, the Stamps spread the ball around on offence, with no receiver making more than four receptions, but there were some big plays.

Jeremaine Copeland snagged a Burris bullet over the middle and darted through traffic for a 57-yard reception that set up a field goal, one of three by Sandro DeAngelis.

Nik Lewis threw a nice block to open up a lane for Copeland on the play.

"A lot of times, it's the small things like blocking," said Copeland.

"That's why Cates took one to the house because we made the blocks."


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