Chance to pick up points slips away

WES GILBERTSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:57 AM ET

If Keon Raymond was auditioning as a receiver, he'd probably be packing his bags today.

As a linebacker, the Calgary Stampeders sophomore should get a little more slack.

Nonetheless, Raymond was left shaking his head after bobbling two coulda-would-shoulda interceptions in last night's 37-30 exhibition victory over the B.C. Lions at McMahon Stadium.

"It was like pitch-and-catch on that first one, like playing catch in the backyard with my son," Raymond said. "I didn't think it was going to come that easy in the first pre-season game. I was excited just to get my hands on the ball though, just to be in the right situation, in the right place."

Nobody was paying much attention to the scoreboard, but last night's final tally could've been a bit more lopsided if Raymond was able to get a grip on the two passes that hit him right in the numbers.

He almost picked off a Jarious Jackson pass in the second quarter then watched as B.C.'s Sean Whyte booted a field goal two plays later.

In the third frame, another Jackson offering escaped his grasp.

"In the regular season, you want to come away with those," Raymond said. "I've dropped a few of 'em in practice, and I've made a few plays in practice. It's just all about making sure I'm getting my hands on the ball and doing the right things. You always concentrate on the little things."

Although Raymond isn't likely to see any repetitions of offence until he proves he can hang on to a pass, the 26-year-old was a bright light on the defensive side of the ball last night. He was credited with two knock-downs and led all Stamps with seven tackles.

As fans filed out of McMahon Stadium, his focus was on getting some rest and then getting into the film room to fix his mistakes.

"I've got to be my hardest critic," Raymond said.

"I've got to deal with myself hard because I think I can always be better."


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