Stamps' Hughes channels Freddy Krueger

WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:41 PM ET

Saddled with a hamstring injury, defensive end Charleston Hughes watched the Calgary Stampeders’ latest victory from a local steakhouse.

This week, quarterbacks are the only thing on his menu.

“What I’ve been telling myself is I’m going on a sack spree. And nobody’s gonna stop me on this sack spree” Hughes said with a mischievous grin. “I feel like Freddy Krueger right now. I’m trying to get into the offensive linemen’s dreams and just take over. I’m getting after it — just put it like that.”

That could mean another horror show for the Edmonton Eskimos.

After missing three games, including a historic 56-15 thrashing of the Eskimos three weeks ago, Hughes has been an active participant in practice over the past two days at McMahon Stadium and expects to return to the Stamps lineup for the Labour Day Classic against the boys from up north.

During his absence, the Stamps have extended their winning streak to five in a row, improving their record to 7-1 thanks in large part to a stingy defensive unit.

“It’s tough sitting in a bar and watching your teammates play, just watching everyone having fun, running around and making plays and watching plays that you could’ve made or you could have made a difference on,” Hughes said. “But yeah, I’m impressed with what I’ve seen with our defence. We’re always playing good, no matter who is on the field.”

Having Hughes in the defensive line rotation certainly won’t hurt.

Rookie Robert McCune has been starting opposite Mike Labinjo, while Tearrius George has also been taking some snaps at defensive end, although he’s missed practice this week with a sore hamstring. Justin Phillips (hamstring) also seems to be ready to return.

Regardless of how the roster shakes out, there’s no doubt Hughes is anxious to be a part of the much-anticipated matchup between the West Division rivals.

In fact, the Labour Day Classic sort of reminds Hughes of the Axe Bowl, an annual college showdown between his Northwood University Timberwolves and the Saginaw Valley State Cardinals.

“It’s an actual axe that we compete for,” Hughes said. “It’s a big rivalry. (The Labour Day Classic) feels pretty much the same because it’s your rivalry team, both teams in Alberta and nobody wants to lose. They’re coming off a win, so their confidence is high. Our confidence is high. So it’s going to be a good game.”

“This game means a lot,” he added. “It’s a day of celebration, really. Hopefully, we’ll be celebrating a victory. We will be celebrating a victory, now that I think about it.”

The 26-year-old is hoping he’ll be celebrating some sacks, too.

Despite a failed tryout with the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles, Hughes tied for the Stamps’ team lead last season with six sacks. In five outings so far this summer, he has been credited with just one quarterback takedown.

He’s ready to add to that total.

Cue the Nightmare at McMahon Stadium.

“This is my debut, my first game back from injury,” Hughes said. “I’m gonna go out and have a blast.”

wes.gilbertson@sunmedia.ca


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