Time for Stamps '08 Replay

WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:44 AM ET

EDMONTON - Sticking with time-tested tradition, the loser on Labour Day always preaches the importance of having a short memory.

As they prepare for Friday’s much-anticipated Labour Day Replay and first-place showdown with the Edmonton Eskimos (6-3), the Calgary Stampeders (6-3) could benefit from a history lesson.

The last time the Stamps lost the Labour Day Classic was 2008, when they eked out a 38-33 victory in the rivalry-game rematch and eventually rolled to a Grey Cup parade.

“That was big,” said Stamps receiver Ken-Yon Rambo with a grin.

“If I can remember all the way back then, it was a nice journey that year. I enjoyed it.”

Besides a 37-16 beating on Labour Day, there was a lot to like about that season.

After avoiding a sweep in the 2008 Labour Day Replay, the Red & White won seven of their eight remaining regular-season games and earned Grey Cup rings with back-to-back playoff triumphs.

The current edition of the Stamps doesn’t want to talk championship aspirations just yet, but there’s no doubt they could use a solid showing in Friday’s West Division dust-up at Commonwealth Stadium as a springboard to bigger and better things.

“I’ve always thought the Labour Day rematch was almost as big as the Labour Day game,” said Stamps running back Joffrey Reynolds.

“If you won the Labour Day game, then you definitely have to go the next week — the next game — and prove we can can own this team. And for the team that lost, if you can come back and be resilient and win that game (after) the bad loss, then I think it just shows what kind of character your team has.”

The Stamps have been served their share of adversity this week. Monday’s 35-7 loss to the Eskimos at McMahon Stadium was easily their worst performance of the season.

History, though, provides plenty of reason for optimism for Friday’s clash at Commonwealth Stadium (7 p.m., TSN, QR77).

Under head coach John Hufnagel, the Stamps are 14-3-1 after losses.

They’re 4-0 away from home so far this summer. And they’ve been in this situation before.

According to Stamps starting quarterback Henry Burris, the result wasn’t the only thing that changed in the Labour Day rematch in 2008.

“Guys focused in that much more. Guys paid attention. They prepared themselves much more than they used to. They put more time in,” Burris recalled.

“And all of a sudden, you go out and you play the type of game that you expect to play, and that develops a new mental psyche, not only individually but in the entire locker-room.

“Right now, this is that same type of game that can re-establish that same type of psyche or focus or emotion for the rest of the season.”

The Stamps will field a similar lineup to Monday’s matchup, although Edwin Harrison will be activated to start at left tackle. Cornerback Geoff Tisdale (knee) is expected to play.


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