Stampeders, Eskimos meet four times down the stretch

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:51 AM ET

CALGARY - If the Calgary Stampeders so chose, they could sit back, relax Monday night and get to know the Edmonton Eskimos a little better.

Or they could just wait a little longer for that relationship to build.

By the end of the season, the Stamps will have seen the Eskimos four times over a span of 10 games.

To make matters worse, the Battle of Alberta will go down three times in five weeks — twice in five days starting Monday at McMahon Stadium.

“It’s always tough to play a team that many times,” Stamps cornerback Keon Raymond said. “It will be about the team that adjusts better.

“You play a team so much that you get to know their personnel. It’s going to come down to maybe four or five plays each and every game.

“When you play a team that many times, you know every little mistake will count. With how close this race is right now, we need all four of them.”

When the Eskies come into Calgary next weekend, the Stamps will be looking for revenge on last year’s West semifinal defeat from last November.

Of course, all the quarterbacks who played in that 33-19 Eskimos victory at Commonwealth Stadium are absent.

Henry Burris was traded to the Hamilton Ticats, Ricky Ray was dealt to the Argos and Drew Tate is on the shelf with a shoulder injury.

Instead, it’s Steven Jyles and Kerry Joseph playing for the Eskimos, and Kevin Glenn and Bo Levi Mitchell as the tandem for the Stamps.

Still, the rivalry shouldn’t be much different than usual, especially with what’s on the line.

The Stamps picked up the tiebreaker in the season series with the Saskatchewan Roughriders, thanks to Saturday’s 17-10 victory in Regina.

Last year, the difference between the Eskimos and Stamps was just a tiebreaker, and the home team won the playoff game.

“Every game is big but these next two are huge,” Stamps centre Jon Gott said.

“We need a winning streak.”

The Stamps come into Labour Day with momentum, but that won’t mean much if they stumble at home.

“Definitely, it’s important,” right tackle J’Micheal Deane said. “We have to go out there and impose our will on to whoever we’re up against.

“We can’t get lazy because we got this one victory in. This victory (over the Riders) is in the past. We have 10 games left that we need to focus on.”

By the time the Eskimos take the field next Monday, they could have another weapon in their fold.

Running back Jerome Messam was released by the Miami Dolphins this weekend and could make his way back to Edmonton.

What exactly are the Eskimos going to do with a backfield that has Hugh Charles, Cory Boyd, Calvin McCarty and Messam?

“Kavis Reed’s job is a lot tougher than ours is if Jerome comes back,” Stamps middle linebacker Juwan Simpson said. “We’re not worried about it.

“We will have the same gameplan. Hugh is speedy, but Messam and Boyd are basically the same guy. They are strong and physical. We won’t get caught up in it. We will play assignment football.”

ian.busby@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter: @SUNIanBusby


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