Buono flagged for plays

ERIC FRANCIS -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 3:25 PM ET

Lost in the aftermath of the Stampeders pitiful effort against the B.C. Lions last weekend is the fact Wally Buono crossed the line.

To be fair, the former Stamps coach and now Lions boss was pushed.

The line we speak of is that between winning with class and outright humiliating the opposition.

He chose the latter with a series of late-game decisions that made it clear he either still holds a grudge over the way his tenure here ended or he got caught up in the emotion of a game preceded by the type of mindless trash talk the Stamps throw out more than anyone else.

Either way, it's hard to believe a man who typified grace and poise throughout his time here essentially stooped to the level of a Calgary club full of more showboats than Vancouver's Wreck Beach.

Those who watched last week's 39-13 dismantling in Vancouver may recall being somewhat stunned by the Lions decision to successfully execute an onside kick with 12 minutes left in a 33-6 thrashing.

It was very un-Buono-like.

There are those, of course, those who will suggest it's prudent to have that killer instinct, relentlessly piling on points until the final gun. However, while Stamps head coach Tom Higgins paid lip service to those sentiments, he admitted in his own little way he was infuriated by the move.

"I probably will not share my honest feeling with you," said Higgins when asked what went through his mind when the Leos recovered the onside kick.

"I was thinking, 'Wow, he's still full throttle,' and that's okay. I can't control what they do and how they do it.

"They can finish a game however they'd like. What I'm more interested in is the response of our football team. I can't for the life of me believe we won't be ready."

Minutes after the onside kick, Buono's boys ran a Henry Burris interception back for another touchdown, which was followed by Geroy Simon's stunning attempt at a two-point convert. Whether it was by design or simply a reaction to a bad snap, is up for debate.

Yeah, right.

"My feeling was, 'It's kind of getting out of hand,' " said Jeremaine Copeland of the insulting moves.

"I think they tried to shove it in our faces a little bit."

Given the fact the season series was won, the west title was clinched and the game was out of reach, did Buono break 'the code?'

"No, because the code is written in sand," said Higgins.

"If something were to happen a year or two years down the road somebody might just say, 'Hey, we have very good memories.' In the same situation, maybe we'd do it, maybe we won't."

For Buono, it's yet another in a long line of highly questionable tactics on his resume given just how much fuel he unnecessarily added to Calgary's fire.

Should the Stamps manage to meet B.C. in the West final and pull off an upset, the Stamps will chalk it up as payback.

"Some people know how to take winning and some people don't," spat Burris, who was subjected to endless taunting and late-game helmet slapping from overjoyed Lions defenders.

"Everything that led up to the game that week they wanted to make a statement. Was it disrespectful? Oh yeah, it definitely was."

Truth is, the cocky Stamps got a taste of their own medicine, which makes Higgins even more upset.

"We gave them every incentive to be excited and it's one of those lessons that should be taken to heart: don't mess," said Higgins, forever imploring his marquee receivers to keep their mouths shut.

"We've talked about it but people continue to let talking be more important than actually playing. It had an effect and it blossomed in that football game."

At the very same time, Buono's reputation wilted.


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