Lions remember last playoff match with Stamps differently
By IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency
|BC Lions running back Andrew Harris (R) celebrates with teammates Ben Archibald (L) and Travis Lulay (C) after scoring his team's first touchdown against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the first half of the CFL's 99th Grey Cup football game in Vancouver, British Columbia November 27, 2011. (REUTERS/Fred Greenslade)
VANCOUVER - When reminiscing with his current teammates, offensive lineman Ben Archibald remembered the last B.C. Lions-Calgary Stampeders playoff showdown a little differently than they did.
Back in 2008, the Stampeders got a huge goal-line stand in the West final thanks to two tackles for losses from defensive end Mike Labinjo.
Over in the Lions’ locker-room, just bring up the plays and all you get is a head-shake and, ‘Oh, Tyrone Williams.’
“On this end, Labinjo’s two big stops came as a result of a blocker going the wrong way,” said Archibald, who was the Stamps’ left tackle in 2008 but is now manning the same spot with the Lions.
“They remember that more than anything else.
“When I look back, that sequence of plays defined it for us. We were on our heels. We felt like they had gained some momentum. I remember the rest of the game was close, but we were able to hang on.”
In the past decade, the Stamps and Lions have only met once in the playoffs, and the 22-18 victory sent the Stamps back to the Grey Cup for first time since 2001.
It marked the validation of a career for quarterback Henry Burris, but it might not have been possible without Archibald.
Before the Lions were stuffed at the goal-line, Archibald caught up with Korey Banks at the one-yard line to stop a pick-six opportunity.
Asked Saturday if he remembered who nudged him out of bounds, Banks wasn’t quite sure. He certainly wasn’t happy to find out it was his current teammate — and not a fast one, at that.
“I asked to challenge it,” Banks said. “I thought I had moved the ball across the cone. Our offence felt like they could score from the one, so they didn’t.
“We owe the Stamps for that. That would have been a big one for us. It’s history. Another opportunity presents itself.”
Sunday’s West final at B.C. Place Stadium (2:30 p.m., TSN, QR77) marks just the 10th time since 1965 that the Stamps and Lions have hooked up in the post-season.
All but one of those games has been contested in Calgary, but the Stamps did beat the Leos in the 1999 West final in Vancouver. Although the Lions have made the West final seven of the last nine years, and the Stamps have been there three times in the past four, they only have one playoff meeting in recent history.
“It’s a lot of our own underachievement,” Stamps receiver Nik Lewis said. “They were in position to play us, but we didn’t get there (losing the West semifinal four times, 2005-07, 2011).
“Last year was a good example. It’s a big reason why we haven’t met more.”
The 2008 loss was the end of a run for the Lions. Over the following two seasons, they rebuilt while still contending, but it wasn’t until 2011 they put things together thanks to developing quarterback Travis Lulay.
The West final loss to the Stamps was a good lesson for the Lions, who had to settle for six field goals in that outing.
“We’ve learned from that situation when you have an opportunity to put the ball in the end zone, just handle the ball the right way and put it in instead of fumbling it away and giving them opportunities,” Lions receiver Geroy Simon said. “I remember turnovers and just silly mistakes that cost us the game.”