November 6, 2012
Maurice Price key weapon for newlook Stampeders
By IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency
CALGARY - Those CFL historians out there like to bring up that the Calgary Stampeders haven’t beaten the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the post-season since 1994.
Included in that dry spell are four losses in five years from 2006 to 2010.
The Stampeders themselves don’t believe in history, though.
Heck, when the Stamps lost to the Roughriders six weeks ago at Mosaic Stadium, they were a different team than they are now.
“Maurice Price didn’t play any of those games,” receiver Nik Lewis said.
“He’s shown he’s a difference maker.
“We’ve added some pieces that have made us a better team. Since we’ve played them, we’re a much better team. I look forward to the challenge.”
When Price caught a 58-yard touchdown bomb from Kevin Glenn in Friday’s victory over the Edmonton Eskimos, he walked into the playoffs as possibly the league’s hottest receiver.
In three games, he has 324 yards and three touchdowns — all of which were longer than 50 yards.
On Friday, he led all receivers with five catches for 149 yards.
“I’m feeling with each passing game that I’m more confident,” Price said.
“I’m more comfortable with my role in the offence and what I can bring to the table.
“It feels good to be out there making plays and to be contributing to wins. Hopefully, that continues into the post-season.”
The Stamps have a question as to who will be their starting quarterback Sunday in the West Final, but that will be answered Tuesday.
Glenn wasn’t the only one who found Price on a deep ball, as Drew Tate hit him with a 40-yard pass earlier, so it doesn’t matter who throws the ball.
The TD strike was a thing of beauty, though, as Price timed his leap, snatched the ball from Esks’ rookie defender Peter Ittersagen and tip-toed down the sidelines.
Both of his previous majors were hitch patterns off the line of scrimmage where he used his incredible speed to get free.
“Finally, I scored off something that wasn’t a screen play. KG put it up for grabs and I made a play on it,” said Price, who spent the first half of the season on the injured list due to a fractured ankle.
“When I was hurt, I always prepared and did everything I could to stay ready so thatwhen I did come back, I was ready to hit the ground running.
“It started off rough for me and now I’m hitting my stride. I just want to keep this going.”
While the Stamps haven’t had luck against the Riders in recent playoff meetings, maybe the injection of new faces will be the difference.
Lewis and Randy Chevrier are the only two active players from all those playoff losses against the Riders since 2006 now that Henry Burris, Joffrey Reynolds and Ken-Yon Rambo are gone.
Price is certainly pumped to play, as this is his first playoff game since being in high school in 2003. He doesn’t know anything about the losses or a potential mental hurdle against the Riders.
Stamps head coach/GM John Hufnagel certainly doesn’t feel like that trend has to continue with this team.
“In 2008, we faced similar hurdles about playoff games with B.C.,” Hufnagel said.
“(The Stamps) had lost eight or nine consecutive times. But we were able to beat B.C. throughout the season and in the playoffs.
“So that’s all for the media to talk about.
“This is the 2012 edition of the Calgary Stampeders and we’re worried about the present, not the past and not the future.”