Burris gives Stamps Ray of hope

CON GRIWKOWSKY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:30 AM ET

Warren Moon's record will have to wait.

Calgary Stampeders quarterback Henry Burris grabbed the spotlight away from Edmonton Eskimos pivot Ricky Ray last night.

Without a running game and wincing from the effects of turf toe he suffered on Labour Day, Burris left most of the hurtin' songs over in the Eskimos room.

There were plenty of questions about Burris' health going into this game.

But when backup Dave Dickenson suffered a phantom career-ending concussion, Burris knew he had to come out swinging, bad toe and all.

This was supposed to be the day Ray would go into the Esks history books as the team's all-time leading passer. After his Labour Day performance, there were few doubters that he'd be able to write another chapter in the team's illustrious history.

Yet, it was a gritty performance by Burris that turned into the magical story of the night. He threw three TD passes and completed 19-of-36 attempts to seal the deal, even though he was out-yarded 353-323 by Ray.

There were plenty of negatives for Burris going in, and he answered them all.

"Oh, man, it's killing me," said Burris about his toe. "It's frustrating. "On the game Monday, I only got to play three drives until I went out with the toe injury (on a sack by Esks linebacker Agustin Barrenechea)."

But the win put the smile back on his face.

"It just felt good to be able to come up here and get that victory back," said Burris, who knew what was at stake.

A Stamps loss, combined with a B.C. Lions win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats today, would have tied the two teams for last place in the CFL's West Division.

"We didn't want to put ourselves in a position where we could have possibly been in last place," Burris said. "The guys answered the call. It's always tough to win here in Commonwealth, especially after the Labour Day game, and this game was no different."

Burris gutted it out, refusing to take a painkiller before the game.

"No, no, no ..." Burris said. "I didn't need no epidermal or anything. I just said I'm going to deal with it and take a couple of Tylenols and go put it on the line for my team. That's what it's all about."

Burris found a way to get it done, even though the Esks held Calgary's running game to 60 yards. And he outduelled Ray, who had been named the CFL player of the week for his performance just four days earlier.

"Ricky's a heck of a quarterback, and everybody's like Calgary's offence wasn't even seen," Burris said. "Well ... geez, I only played three series. We didn't get a chance to make adjustments. We thought it was critical to be able to come back in this game and answer the call.

"People were doubting us on the offence. We feel we have a great offence here and could put up points on anybody. It just felt good to redeem ourselves against such a good offence. It was good to be able to answer the call and get a lot of yards, which ever way we could."

The night didn't start out so great, when Burris mishandled a snap that turned into an Eskimos touchdown. After that miscue, the Stamps slowly started to take over.

"You can get your muscles warmed up, but it's tough to get a toe warmed up," said Burris. "That bugger was killin' me. When (offensive co-ordinator) George (Cortez) told me I had to run that quarterback draw at the end, I said 'I'll get you what I can.' I felt like Danny (McManus) out there on that play. I was able to get it. Anything for my team to get a big victory."

That's the type of night it was in a totally gutsy performance by Burris.


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