Hostile relations renewed

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:18 AM ET

The Calgary Stampeders gave 42 lucky fans the Shirts Off Their Backs yesterday in a post-game presentation of autographed jerseys.

The Stamps and visiting B.C. Lions got a jump on the ceremony by trying to rip the uniforms off each other's carcasses during 60 minutes of nasty football.

As if the verbal cheap shots of a week ago weren't enough to intensify the rivalry, the bitterness was ramped up during yesterday's game.

Former XFLer Rod Smart's notorious He Hate Me moniker could have been stitched across the backs of each and every jersey, as clearly these teams don't like each other.

"After what happened last week and the way, I guess you could say they 'treated us,' I don't really care about them," said Stamps safety Wes Lysack.

"I have friends on that team but when it comes to playing a game, I don't care about them or the mentality they bring to the football field.

"I think we're a class organization and they're not, right now. You should respect the players on the field and the game and they don't."

Several plays ended with in-your-grill shoving matches, while both sides engaged in some creative yapping throughout the contest.

After one play Stamps' Demetrious Maxie was on the carpet tussling with Ryan Phillips.

Calgary's John Grace and Ian Smart wrestled each other to the turf after a kickoff return.

Two hard hits on Lions starter Buck Pierce eventually sent him to the sidelines with an apparent injured throwing arm.

Lions defenders Brent Johnson and Arron Hunt invited Stamps pivot Henry Burris to share in a high-five after the Calgary starter tossed an interception.

Burris, understandably, declined.

Of course, much of the bitterness was sparked by the Lions decision to execute a short kickoff late in the game last week, despite trashing the Stamps on the scoreboard.

The Stampeders answered yesterday with a 32-25 win, not an equally demoralizing victory but proof they have the backbone to compete with the Lions -- on the field and in the back alley, if necessary.

Lions head coach Wally Buono was quick to credit Calgary for storming back with a vengeance for a win they needed to secure home-field advantage in the West semifinal.

"They obviously were emotionally charged, as well they should be," Buono said. "They were embarrassed last week. They have a lot to play for because they want to get home field.

"It's football. It's an intense thing. When it's over, it's over. To me, it's three hours. Our job is to beat them. Their job is to beat us. It's not a friendly match of chess. It's a pivotal game with emotion. Today, they were better than we were."

Stamps receiver Nik Lewis, who had been the centre of attention a week ago for off-field comments about Geroy Simon, turned his attention to Lions linebacker Carl Kidd in a shouting match at halftime.

"There was some yapping going on," Lewis said.

"I told him George White is taking his job, so farewell."

White is a former Stampeders linebacker, released earlier this season, who signed with the Lions six days ago.

Maxie said the war of words a week ago helped spark an emotional win for the Stampeders.

"When we went over there to play them, they said a lot of things that shouldn't have been said and a lot of our players retaliated today and it worked," he said.


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