Stamps look O so good

WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:46 AM ET

CALGARY - Prior to last week’s victory over the Montreal Alouettes, Calgary Stampeders’ signal-caller Henry Burris joked his special-order red contact lenses gave him the ability to ‘look into different coaches’ gameplans.’

You don’t need access to offensive co-ordinator Dave Dickenson’s binder to realize the Stampeders’ attack is suddenly looking a lot like it was drawn up.

As the Red & White prepare for the annual Labour Day Classic against the Edmonton Eskimos — the same CFL squad that handed them a 24-19 loss at McMahon Stadium just after the dust settled from this year’s Calgary Stampede — Burris & Co. seem to be hitting full gallop.

“If we’d won that (July 23) game, we would have been in first place, I believe. We’re going into this game defending first place,” said Stamps head coach John Hufnagel.

“I think we were on a two-game winning streak when we played Edmonton, and we’re on a four-game winning streak right now. So there’s a lot of similarities.

“Offensively, I will say that we’re playing better at this stage in the season than we were at the time that we played Edmonton the first time.”

Want proof?

The Stamps have rolled to four straight victories since losing to the Eskimos, averaging 414 yards of net offence per game during that span.

On Wednesday, Burris and surging sophomore Johnny Forzani were named among the CFL’s Players of the Month.

Burris, who tossed for 1,081 yards, seven touchdowns and zero interceptions in three August outings, was voted offensive player of the month, while Forzani was feted as the top Canadian after racking up 10 catches for 225 yards and two majors in the past three games.

“I’m very pleased for both individuals — they did have a good month of football,” Hufnagel said. “Henry has been taking great care of the football and making great decisions on the field, and his accuracy is improving. Johnny Forzani is getting better as we progress through the season. Ten catches for a couple hundreds yards and a couple touchdowns? I’m sure he’s very pleased with it.”

There are plenty more reasons to be pleased with the club’s offensive attack in recent weeks.

Forzani was one of three Stamps’ targets — Nik Lewis and Ken-Yon Rambo were the others — to hit triple digits in receiving yards in last week’s 38-31 victory over the Als.

Rambo made one trip to the endzone against the Alouettes, while Forzani had two scores in the same game last Saturday in what was his finest performance as a pro.

When the offence stalled short of the goal-stripe, rookie kicker Rene Paredes aced three field-goal attempts, including a 46-yarder that was never in doubt.

The Eskimos have struggled mightily since losing star slotback Fred Stamps and several other receivers to injury, generating just five total points in their past two outings.

The Stamps, meanwhile, now boast the CFL’s second-highest scoring offence, although they insist there’s still room for improvement.

“I think, still, we have a lot of work to do in terms of consistency,” added Stampeders fullback Rob Cote. “If you’re satisfied after eight games of the CFL season, you’re in big trouble.”

wes.gilbertson@sunmedia.ca

@SUNGilbertson


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