Lewis the lead horse

Stampeders slotback Nik Lewis. (AL CHAREST/QMI Agency)

Stampeders slotback Nik Lewis. (AL CHAREST/QMI Agency)

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:43 AM ET

CALGARY - Sprinting into an open space with the look of a speed demon, Nik Lewis called for the pass and received a fastball.

Suddenly, the Calgary Stampeders slotback had to pick up speed.

Maybe Henry Burris thought it was someone else finding the hole in the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ secondary Saturday night during Calgary’s 22-18 win.

Lewis has never reminded anybody of Usain Bolt, but his hands are as good as anybody’s. He reached out and hauled in the pass for a 43-yard gain, but his momentum took him down.

Considering the fact that Lewis was hampered for a sore heel, the reception was an impressive one.

“I don’t get the ball downfield too much,” Lewis said. “When I do, I have to make a play so I can let them know

I still can do it.

“If the heel didn’t hurt, I probably would have scored. I was stumbling, and I couldn’t get my balance.

“I just knew I had to protect the ball. I made the play.”

Lewis has made all the plays this season for the Stampeders.

The rest of the offence has struggled this season in all areas, but the same can’t be said of the veteran sure-hands man.

The consistent slotback is off to one of the best starts in his eight-year CFL career, which means he isn’t slowing down in his supposed ‘old’ age.

The 29-year-old, who recently moved into second place on the Stampeders’ all-time receiving yards list (8,412), passing Tom Forzani, is actually on pace for a 1,400-yard campaign, which would be a career-high.

There have been seasons in the past when Lewis has put up better numbers in the first five weeks of the season, but usually he was part of an offence that was clicking on all cylinders.

A year ago, Lewis was part of a Stamps group that was lighting up the CFL.

That’s not the case this year.

Things looked to have turned around Saturday against the Riders, but head coach John Hufnagel is quick to temper the excitement of the victory.

When the Stamps needed to move the ball, get out of their own zone and kill the clock in the fourth quarter, they managed to do it, but they still settled for five field-goal attempts and just one major.

“Winning masks a lot of things,” Hufnagel said. “If we didn’t win that game, we wouldn’t think our offence was any better (than the previous four weeks).

“There are positives, but there were positives in the game before. If you look at the stats, we’re not burning it up. There’s no question about that.

“But I think we’re third in the league in total offence. We’re not chopped liver. We’re just not scoring.”

When the Stamps hit the practice field Tuesday, they will do so without receivers Ken-Yon Rambo (Achilles tendinitis) and Larry Taylor (bruised leg).

There’s a chance Lewis sits out as well with his heel problem.

The team still needs to work on efficiency, so this isn’t an insignificant problem to have.

“Offensively, we didn’t click the way we need to be,” Lewis said about the win Saturday at Mosaic Stadium. “But when you come into a place like Regina and get the W, it’s always a great thing.

“We know we will be a better team in November.”

ian.busby@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/ianbusby57


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