Burris carries the mail

IAN BUSBY

, Last Updated: 8:50 AM ET

Henry Burris may need to carry the Calgary Stampeders on his back this season but he seems to prefer using his legs.

Burris helped get the 2007 season off on the right foot last night, using his scrambling ability to sustain possessions and beat the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 37-9 at McMahon Stadium.

Although he's usually known as a slow starter, Burris was in mid-season form in the home-opener for the Stampeders.

He went 17-of-26 passing for 230 yards and two touchdown passes but his most impressive stat was the 99 rushing yards on 11 carries.

Calgary (1-0) moves into an early three-way tie for first place in the West Division with the B.C. Lions and Saskatchewan Roughriders.

After Week 1 of the season, the entire East Division is winless, which may be a sign of the balance of power in the league.

The Stamps now head on a two-game road trip that will take them into Regina a week from today and conclude in Toronto four nights later.

Burris got the fun started early last night, putting together a nine-play, 85-yard opening drive that ended in a 10-yard touchdown pass to Nik Lewis.

The quarterback kept the drive going twice by scampering away from pressure and getting first downs, one time diving for the marker instead of sliding to avoid a hit, quite a display of how important it was to get things going right.

Hamilton managed to put up a field goal on their first possession, which was aided by a roughing the passer penalty to safety Trey Young.

At the end of the opening quarter, the Ticats took a roughing the passer call of their own but the Stamps couldn't capitilize because Marc Boerigter fumbled later in the possession.

But the biggest offensive mistake in the first half went in Calgary's favour when the Ticats were pinned deep in their own zone.

With Hamilton quarterback Jason Maas saddled with awful field position because of good punt by Calgary's Burke Dales, Maas threw a long pass across the field to Brock Ralph.

The Alberta product was still inside the Ticats endzone and Crance Clemons immediately hit Ralph when he caught the ball, knocking it loose for Jermaine Chatman to scoop up for the easy touchdown.

Stampeders running back Joffrey Reynolds wasn't much of a factor until the fourth quarter -- where offensive co-ordinator George Cortez predicts he will get most of his yardage this season because the Stamps will have big leads.

Reynolds scored on a beautifully drawn fake and pitch from one yard out on a drive set up by a Anthony Gargiulo fumble recovery.

Reynolds finished with 92 yards on 13 carries but also caught three passes for 23 yards.

Sandro DeAngelis hit field goals from 40, 48 and 14 yards out to round out the Stampeders scoring and start the season well.

Maas didn't have a terrible night for the Tiger-Cats, going 17-of-23 passing for 170 yards but the Stamps defence shut him down when Hamilton did get into the scoring zone.

Maas was replaced in the fourth quarter by Hawaii product Timmy Chang, who hit running back Jesse Lumsden for a 51-yard pass and run.


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