Ending the dome drought

IAN BUSBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:44 AM ET

The last time the Calgary Stampeders won in B.C. Place, rookie receiver Rob Johnson had a 100-yard game, safety Greg Frers had a key interception and running back Kelvin Anderson hit the century mark.

The year was 2002, when Wally Buono was the head coach of the Stamps and Marcus Crandell was at the helm as the quarterback.

Since Buono went to Vancouver after that season, the Stamps have yet to record a regular-season victory in B.C. Place Stadium, a span of seven games.

"In our defence, B.C. has had great teams since I joined the Stamps," said Stamps running back Joffrey Reynolds.

"Us going there and not playing consistent football is a big part of it, too."

The Stamps will try to end the streak tomorrow when they visit the Lions (8:30 p.m., TSN) in the second meeting between the teams this season.

When the rivalry switches to McMahon Stadium, the Stamps are 4-5-1 against the Lions since their last win in Vancouver, so it would seem B.C. has the upper hand in the rivalry.

In the past few years, the losses have come in dramatic fashion.

Last year, quarterback Henry Burris was injured the prior week and Akili Smith started what was a 42-9 hammering. A month later, Burris was rested for the playoffs in a 25-24 defeat that featured the loss of defensive lineman Anthony Gargiulo to an ugly leg injury.

In 2006, Stamps receivers Jeremaine Copeland and Nik Lewis started a bit of trash talk against Lions receiver Geroy Simon and B.C. responded with a 39-13 pounding.

Something interesting usually happens under the dome, but the Lions always seem to prevail.

But Reynolds said the losing streak isn't hanging over the Stamps' heads.

"It's just another story-line. Each individual game presents its own opportunities and stuff that happens," Reynolds said.

"We are going to take this one like any other one. Of course, the crowd noise and home-field advantage is something they have.

"In years past, we didn't execute enough to win the games. Their offence stayed on the field more than our offence and ended up beating us."

Burris is pumped to be actually ready to play the Lions in Vancouver. The starting pivot was on the sidelines three times last season -- the two games mentioned previously then the West final as a TV analyst.

The Stamps have the benefit of beating the Lions 28-18 this season in the home-opener.

"We're taking a new approach this year," Burris said. "A lot of these players on this team haven't played for the Stampeders against the Lions in Vancouver, except for that pre-season game (a loss in June).

In Nik Lewis' CFL seasons, he has yet to taste victory in a dome. The Stamps losing streak in Toronto has reached seven years.

But Lewis is quick to point out his first trip to Vancouver in 2004. The Stamps pulled off a great onside kick on the final play to seemingly win, but the refs ruled otherwise.

"We did win that game. We didn't get credit for it but we won it," Lewis said.

Lewis disagrees that the Stamps simply aren't a dome team.

"You could say a lot of things about us," Lewis said.

"We didn't like playing outside of Alberta last year because we didn't win anywhere else.

"You can make it what you want to make it. We didn't take care of business when we had chances."


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