One magical number

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 10:28 AM ET

As if being buried alive last week in Vancouver wasn't enough motivation to grab a shovel and start digging.

Now the Stampeders line up for today's rematch with the B.C. Lions (2 p.m. McMahon Stadium) with the added incentive of knowing the Saskatchewan Roughriders are also trying to throw on some dirt.

While Calgary must have a complete effort to save face after a 39-13 spanking, they need two points to finally secure second place in the CFL West and a home-playoff date for the second consecutive year.

With a win over Montreal Friday night, the Roughriders trail Calgary by just two points, although the Stampeders have won the season series.

"Even though Saskatchewan is in a position where they feel they have a chance to catch us, we're not worried about that," said Stamps QB Henry Burris, whose club has lost two straight.

"If we go out and win a game, we've got second place sewn up. We look at the bigger picture that we have a good team in B.C. that we haven't beaten last year or this year, so if we go out and perform well and possibly beat these guys it gives us a mental edge in the Western Final."

In just his fourth CFL start, Lions backup Buck Pierce completed 25-of-31 passes for nearly 300 yards, having success with every page of the playbook.

"Some organizations, after they clinch, take a step back but we have to keep the pressure on," said Pierce, who sees the Lions final three regular-season games as a tuneup for the playoffs. "It's important to keep winning ball games and keep playing well.

"If we were to lose a couple of these last ball games, you start to question yourself. We need to come out at full strength and win these last few games."

The Stampeders defence, shredded last week in Vancouver, also needs to step up it's game.

"It's a must win for us because we want to wrap this home playoff game up in our own way," said linebacker Brian Clark.

"We don't want to depend on Saskatchewan to lose another game.

"This is important to perform well in front our home crowd. We had a lot on the line last week and came out and laid an egg."

More like a dozen eggs when you look at how they were dominated in all three phases while Burris will need a stronger outing after completing just 8-of-21 passes while tossing three interceptions.

"Part of pro life is being able to deal with adversity and respond well to it, so

I try to come back and do all the right things I didn't do in the past game that led to the loss," said Burris.

"If you look at the progression of this team, it seems that when we've had good games we always follow it up with a bad game. Is that from relaxing thinking we're going to go out and make plays? I don't know what it is.

"Maybe going into the latter part of the season and playoffs, maybe this two-game losing streak and the fact we got embarrassed will make us play better, help us win four straight and get to Winnipeg (Grey Cup week) where we want to be."

Pierce, on the other hand, continues to impress with his poise.

Lions head coach Wally Buono, whose ability to help develop first-rate QBs has become legendary, expected Pierce to develop rapidly.

"I'm not surprised by his poise," said Lions head coach Wally Buono.

"I have to give Buck credit because I do believe he deserves it. If you take last year and all his experiences, the thing that was most encouraging is that he was spoon-fed, had a table spoon and then a fork ... the first time he had a little success, the next time he was a little bit better."


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