Labour Day loss haunts Burris

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:46 PM ET

Henry Burris has selective memory when it comes to certain details, especially when motivating himself for a rivalry game.

So when the Calgary Stampeders quarterback is asked about his team’s domination over the Edmonton Eskimos at home, he can only recall Labour Day 2008.

The Stamps were in the midst of a run to their sixth Grey Cup win in franchise history when the Eskimos stomped on them 37-16 at McMahon Stadium.

“Back in 2008, we were the greatest thing since sliced bread, but Edmonton came in and whipped our butts on Labour Day,” Burris said.

“Anything’s possible when these two teams get on the field. They are still capable of beating anybody on any given game day.”

Of course, Burris forgets a key fact about that game.

The quarterback had to leave the game in the second quarter due to a toe injury suffered when he was dragged down from behind by then-Eskimos linebacker Agustin Barrenechea.

The Stamps didn’t recover.

“Yeah, but I can’t say that,” Burris said.

Dave Dickenson came on in relief of Burris that day, but he too had to leave due to concussion symptoms. It was Dickenson’s last game as an active player, and third-stringer Barrick Nealy wasn’t up to mounting a comeback.

Since the middle of 2005, the Esks have been no match for the Stamps in Calgary. Last season, they made three visits down the QEII Highway, and all were fruitless.

The Stamps whipped them 32-8 on Labour Day and then posted a 30-7 victory Oct. 23. They met once again in the playoffs, but despite the 24-21 score, the Eskimos never threatened to win.

Eskimos quarterback Ricky Ray threw for a paltry 162 yards, while Stamps running back Joffrey Reynolds ran for 127 yards on 18 carries.

When the two teams hook up in Edmonton, it’s a completely different story.

Last year, the first meeting was a 38-35 thriller in which Fred Stamps caught the winning touchdown with three seconds left after Jeremaine Copeland put the visitors up with 38 ticks remaining.

The second meeting was equally entertaining, with Copeland’s winning score coming with 22 seconds left as the Stamps erased a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit.

Now that the Eskimos are just 1-5 with their only victory of the 2010 campaign coming at home, it seems their quarterback has selective memory, as well.

“All of them were pretty tight games except for the one down (there) on Labour Day, when they took it to us pretty good,” Eskimos pivot Ricky Ray said.

“Every other one came down to the wire. We know it’s going to be a little battle, and we’ve got a little payback coming.

“They beat us up pretty good last year.”

The trend of close games in Edmonton and blowouts in Calgary goes back a few years.

In 2008, other than Labour Day, the Eskimos beat the Stamps 34-31 in Week 2 on Jason Tucker’s amazing last-second TD grab. The Stamps then won the Labour Day rematch 38-33 with Burris back behind centre.

Even in 2007, the Stamps picked up three of their seven wins against the Eskimos, with two- and three-point victories in Edmonton and a nine-point triumph at home.

The Stamps and the Eskimos hook up three times in the next five weeks, and the visitors Sunday don’t look to be in great shape with Fred Stamps out due to injury.

Still, Burris isn’t taking anything for granted.

“They’ve been close in all their games,” Burris said. “In terms of momentum, we have it right now. It means nothing unless you keep it up. Momentum is just a word unless you keep it rolling.

“They are 1-5, but they are thinking upset. We have to do what we can to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

ian.busby@sunmedia.ca


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