Vengeance part of Lions game plan

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:05 AM ET

With a whole week to avoid thinking about football, a surprising number of players couldn't help but do just that.

It's hard to forget the fact the Calgary Stampeders are locked in a tight battle in the CFL's West Division standings.

"Right now, it's tight. Every game from this point is going to be a race," said Stampeders defensive back Dwight Anderson. "You easily could be from second to last after this week."

The three-way tie the Stamps, B.C. Lions and Edmonton Eskimos find themselves in will shake out this week as the Stampeders and Lions face off in B.C. Friday and the Esks host the first-place Saskatchewan Roughriders Thursday.

"It's gonna be physical as heck," said Stamps quarterback Henry Burris of Friday's match. "Whenever us two get together, it's always a physical game.

"It's a big mental game -- an emotional game, too. It's a big rivalry. There's a lot of guys on that team who were once in Calgary, and the head guy (Wally Buono) was the coach and general manager for a long time here."

Ending a two-game slide with a big victory over the Riders in Regina before the bye-week, the Stamps feel like they're on the upswing.

The Lions also won their second of back-to-back meetings with the Esks in their last outing, and, with wins in three of their last four games, appear to be a team turning a corner since a season-opening loss to the Stamps at McMahon Stadium.

"Both teams want to continue to go in the right direction," Burris said.

The Lions have probably had Friday circled on their calendars since their regular-season debut.

Stamps linebacker JoJuan Armour knows they'll be hungry for revenge.

"It's hard to beat a team the second time around, but we're going to give our best shot," he said.

Defensive lineman Mike Labinjo has seen the improvement from the Lions, but he says the Stamps have to take the same approach to the rematch as they did in a dominant 28-18 opener.

"That's the mentality we've got to have," Labinjo said. "They've definitely picked up their game."


Photos