Putting a Stamp on first

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:30 AM ET

First place with a bullet.

Two of them, actually.

Henry Burris hit Ken-Yon Rambo and Nik Lewis on 81- and 85-yard touchdown bombs, as the Calgary Stampeders whipped the Saskatchewan Roughriders 42-5 yesterday in front of a packed house of 35,650 at McMahon Stadium.

The win moves the Stamps (10-5) into sole possession of first place in the CFL's West Division in convincing fashion and put the Riders (9-6) into a three-way tie for second with the B.C. Lions and the Edmonton Eskimos.

"We may have won and we're back in pole position right now, but it's not completed yet," said Burris, who was holding son Armand in his arms amidst the locker-room celebration.

"You don't want to be known just to be in first place for part of the season. You want it for the bye. This is the thing we're working towards right now.

"We have Winnipeg on Saturday, so we will work hard to maintain the cushion we gave ourselves."

The Stamps jumped out to an early lead thanks to great long pass to Rambo. Burris pump-faked to draw both Lance Frazier and James Johnson to the underneath route and Rambo was wide open for an 81-yard touchdown pass.

The play was the longest of Rambo's career, and it was the longest for the Stamps this season, until, of course, Lewis scored his 85-yarder in the fourth quarter.

On that play, Lewis caught the ball on a simple sideline route, then shook off three would-be tacklers and rumbled to the endzone past the Stampeders bench.

Lewis, who has battled rib and knee injuries in recent weeks, showed he is back to decent health.

"He lost the brace and looked like a Hummer running down that sideline compared to a sports car," Burris said. "But he's a special player. To have that receiving corps like I do is a blessing.

"When your team is playing together like that, we can be pretty special."

The Stampeders took a 21-4 halftime lead on the strength of two interceptions, both by players just activated for this game. Milton Collins returned from a concussion to pick off Michael Bishop on the first drive, then Lenny Walls stepped in front of a bullet intended for Weston Dressler just before halftime.

The defence forced a total of seven turnovers for the Roughriders, compared to zero for the Stamps.

"Defensively, we created numerous turnovers throughout the day, and offensively we capitalized on them," said Stamps head coach John Hufnagel. "We had tighter coverage on the receivers and made an emphasis on containing (Bishop)."

Bishop went 17-of-33 passing for 298 yards but had three picks.

Although Burris didn't have better numbers -- 14-of-28 passing for 304 yards -- he had three TDs instead of INTs and no fumbles.

About the only thing troubling for the Stamps was settling for five field-goals by Sandro DeAngelis, including two within the red zone.

Although the Stamps feel good about first place, they know they can score better with three games left.

"We know how the CFL is -- that anything can happen every week," Rambo said.

"We need to work hard to stay on top. If we play our type of football, everything else should be alright."


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