Stampeders bulk up their defence

WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:40 PM ET

Defence has dominated this season at McMahon Stadium.

That continued Tuesday, when the Calgary Stampeders announced a trio of past defensive stalwarts -- linebackers Alondra Johnson and Bernie Morrison and defensive end Will Johnson -- are the newest names on the club's Wall of Fame.

"Just so that there's no confusion," quipped Morrison, "I'm the slow white guy. And Canadian."

All three have something in common now.

Both Johnsons and Morrison will be saluted in an on-field ceremony at halftime of an Oct. 22 clash against the B.C. Lions.

"I think it's very fitting," said Alondra Johnson. "(The Stampeders organization has always tried to build) on our defensive intensity and the way we tried to dominate and control what was going on.

"They always say defence wins championships and I just think that it's very fitting. Hopefully, we'll see a good defensive show on the night we come to the game for the inductions."

The late Jim Finks, who played seven games at quarterback in 1957 but made his most noted contributions as Calgary's general manager for eight seasons, will be inducted in the builders' category.

Morrison (1978-88) was a fixture at McMahon for more than a decade, but played just four seasons after they started keeping official CFL stats, making his impact difficult to measure. During that span, he led the Stamps in total tackles three times and was also a two-time recipient of the Presidents' Ring.

Will Johnson (1989-96) was a six-time West Division all-star and a feared quarterback hunter. In fact, he owns the Stamps franchise record with 99 sacks and also finished his career with an impressive 288 defensive tackles and 11 fumble recoveries.

Alondra Johnson (1991-2003) was also voted to the West Division all-star squad a half dozen times. He won three Grey Cup titles and two Presidents' Rings and racked up 907 tackles, 43 sacks, 15 fumble recoveries and 14 interceptions during his Stamps career.

The 45-year-old entered the Canadian Football Hall of Fame last summer and figures this is a similar accomplishment.

"It's a select few. It's like going into a Hall of Fame," he said. "To go up there with legends of the Calgary Stampeders, I'm just very grateful and very thankful. I couldn't ask to be amongst a better group of guys -- Stu Laird and Rocco (Romano) and Sponge (Dave Sapunjis) and big Allen Pitts and Herm Harrison and John Helton ...

"I could go on and on and on. It's just an honour."

With Tuesday's additions, there are 28 former players and nine builders listed on the Stamps' Wall of Fame, which was first unveiled in 1985.

Will Johnson, a current city cop who occasionally patrols during games at McMahon Stadium, never imagined he'd see his name up there.

"I'm flabbergasted right now by the whole ordeal," Johnson said. "It's been 13 years since I played -- I went out on an injury -- and you always wonder what is the gratification for all of this, putting your body on the line game in and game out? I never looked for a reward or an award, and this just takes it all. Wow.

"Every day that I come into the stadium, I look on the wall. Now, I can see my name up there and my son can see my name up there."

wes.gilbertson@sunmedia.ca


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