DeAngelis puts kicker through paces

TODD SAELHOF, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:27 AM ET

Steve Olson hopes he has a leg up on the competition, thanks to Calgary Stampeders kicker Sandro DeAngelis.

The Edmontonian will know more tonight in his pursuit of a million dollars.

Olson is one of two remaining field-goal contestants in Wendy's Kick For A Million contest and boasts the coaching of DeAngelis in his back pocket.

"It's a lot of fun to work with those guys, because it's a life-changing event," said DeAngelis, who has given tips to at least three of the contest's participants in the last 13 months. "I was fortunate enough to work with the guy (who was the finalist) last year and see how it impacted his life. It's very gratifying to see how much you can help a guy."

Last October, DeAngelis helped Calgary's Kevin Vosburgh win a $25,000 gift certificate from FutureShop.

This week, he'll be watching to see if Olson can better that effort, perhaps even win the million-dollar grand prize.

Olson squares off in Toronto in tonight's semifinal against Ontario's Paul Sinisi for tomorrow's chance to kick for fame and fortune. Tonight's winner moves on to the nationally televised Kick For A Million final tomorrow at Rogers Centre during halftime of the Toronto Argonauts home game against the Hamilton Tiger Cats (5 p.m., TSN).

Each contestant in the semi gets six attempts from distances of their choice between 15 and 50 yards. Point values increase when longer field-goals are made.

"Everybody thinks it's so simple to kick field-goals, but it really isn't," DeAngelis said. "It's a lot like golf. It's something that's hard enough as it is, and if you don't have anybody giving you pointers, you can be pretty much useless at it.

"Steve's got the ability to get the ball 50 yards in the air. But it's more technique than it is power."

PLAYOFF PICTURE

Last week's tie between the Stamps and the Riders, co-leaders in the CFL's West Division, further complicates the playoff picture. For the Stamps, they can still win the race outright against the Riders if the two clubs finish tied in the standings -- and that could come down to winning by at least two points over the Riders in the final regular-season game. But if they were to tie the third-place B.C. Lions, the Stamps hold the tiebreaker advantage after winning the season series against them. The Stamps currently hold the hammer on the fourth-place Edmonton Eskimos, with a 2-1 series edge plus a 23-point advantage on the scoreboard in the previous three battles, heading into tomorrow's tilt at McMahon Stadium (8 p.m., TSN). Regardless, if the Stamps win tonight, they cinch up a post-season spot.

EXTRA POINTS

Both WR Nik Lewis and DL Justin Phillips practised yesterday after missing sessions earlier this week due to illness. Both were suffering from viruses ... The annual Salvation Army coat drive is in full gear, and the Stamps are asking fans to bring donations of cash or winter jackets to tomorrow night's game. Salvation Army officials will be on hand at the McMahon Stadium gates to accept all handouts.


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