Stamps look to continue road warrior trend

Calgary Stampeders DB, Keon Raymond during practice at McMahon in preparation for their game...

Calgary Stampeders DB, Keon Raymond during practice at McMahon in preparation for their game against the Hamilton Ticats. Monday August 6, 2012. (DARREN MAKOWICHUK/QMI AGENCY)

SCOTT FISHER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:21 PM ET

CALGARY - Last year, you just couldn't take the Calgary Stampeders anywhere.

They were 'that guy.'

You know. The obnoxious, beer-swilling louts who would crash a tea party in search of a good time.

The Stamps crashed a lot of parties last season.

They had little difficulty making themselves at home on the road, as they started 5-0 and finished with a 6-3 record away from McMahon Stadium.

This year, the Red & White have been perfectly gracious guests.

Kick returner Larry Taylor wants to change that this Thursday, as his club looks for its first road win in Hamilton against the Tiger-Cats (5 p.m., TSN).

"Every team is more competitive now, so it doesn't really matter if you're on the road or at home," Taylor said.

"It takes a full 60 minutes. A lot of road teams are playing a great 57 minutes, but they're not leaving those last three minutes on the field.

"They're not closing the game out. And in this league, you have to finish it."

The Stamps lost both games -- in drastically different fashion -- earlier this season during their two-game journey to the east during Stampede week.

Kevin Glenn came on in relief of the injured Drew Tate and nearly engineered a massive comeback in Toronto. Despite Taylor's 125-yard missed field goal return for a touchdown, the Stamps fell 39-36 to the Boatmen.

A few days later in Montreal, the visitors were nursing a late lead. But Glenn was picked off and the Alouettes escaped with a 33-32 win.

"You have to go in with the mindset that it's a full 60 minutes and all three phases can't take any plays off," Taylor said.

"We weren't able to do it in our two road losses."

The Ticats dropped their home-opener to the Saskatchewan Roughriders, which was the lone home loss of the season for any team through the first 13 games.

The road warriors have taken over of late, however, with the visitors taking five-straight victories after the Lions dumped the Argos Monday at the Rogers Centre.

"Everybody's beatable, from one through eight," Taylor said.

"Anyone can go into anyone's home and win a game."

Taylor leads the league in combined return yardage with 1,056 yards -- no thanks to the Lions, who refused to give the 5-foot-6 speedster the ball.

Leos kicker Paul McCallum squibbed all of his kickoffs to keep the pigskin away from the dangerous returner.

"It was a great gameplan by them," Taylor said. "Paul did a great job with his placement of the kicks.

"It's one of those things where, when you do get the opportunity, you have to hurt the opposing team and make them pay."

Taylor does get the odd look on offence -- he's got six catches for 73 yards and a touchdown -- but said he guards against trying to force himself to do too much, especially when he isn't seeing the ball on returns.

"I used to have that mindset, but that's when you put yourself and your team in trouble," he said. "You get out there and you try to do too much.

"From experience, you learn to let the flow of the game come to you.

"When it's time to make a play, you make that play. But there's no need to press.

"It's a long game, so you're going to get some balls coming your way -- hopefully more often than not.

"You just have to take advantage of the opportunities and play within the scheme."

scott.fisher@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter: @SUNScottFisher


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