Stampeders running back Cornish confident
By IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency
VANCOUVER — Running back Jon Cornish has a feeling about the Calgary Stampeders right now.
You could call it momentum, but that might be too simple of a statement. Every week, they are faced with a challenge, an uphill climb, and they overcome.
Maybe they are pebble rolling down a snowy hill, growing in size as they pick up speed.
When Cornish walked into BC Place Stadium Saturday, he could feel an air of confidence around the group.
They aren’t cocky, which is expected seeing as how their No. 1 quarterback and defensive captain are down with injuries, but they have a certain something about them.
“It’s indescribable,” Cornish said. “This team has shown it’s far more than the sum of its parts.
“An opportunity like this only presents itself once in a person’s existence. It’s up to that person to decide how he will react. This is the best team I’ve been part of.”
Whoa! Hold on for a second. Best team you’ve been part of, Jon? What about the 2008 Grey Cup champs?
“This team has gelled better than any team I’ve ever been part of or have seen,” Cornish replied. “For this team to lose (Sunday), I would say that would be the biggest disappointment of my entire life.”
There is no question the Stamps are the hotter team heading into Sunday’s West final (2:30 p.m., TSN, QR77).
The West semifinal win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders was their fifth straight and 10th in their past 12 outings.
But the win also cost them QB Drew Tate, who is out with a fracture in his forearm, and will likely keep middle linebacker Juwan Simpson out, as well, with an ankle injury.
It doesn’t matter, Cornish says, because they turn the ball back to Kevin Glenn, who guided them the majority of the season anyway. Getting production out of replacements is the theme of the 2012 season, so why should the divisional final be different?
For Glenn, this is a golden opportunity. He suffered a broken arm in the 2007 East final and wasn’t able to play in the Grey Cup at Rogers Centre in Toronto. Now, all he needs is 60 minutes for a chance to right what went wrong then.
“Kevin has been close before,” Cornish said. “I don’t think he’s had the surrounding cast that he has, with any other team. This is his greatest chance.”
Glenn was all smiles walking into BC Place.
For someone who knows his legacy could be written Sunday, the 33-year-old was extremely calm. He’s been through all this before and won.
“This is one of those storybook endings,” Glenn said. “We have to see how it plays out. It hasn’t ended yet.”
The Lions know what they are up against. They were the team of momentum last year, when they rode a hot second half to a Grey Cup win.
When asked what he learned from his playoff experiences, Lions QB Travis Lulay talked about momentum. He’s only played one quarter of football in five weeks, so the first quarter is crucial.
“We are facing a team that is riding a bit of a hot streak,” Lulay said. “We’ve had a chance to sit back, rest up and mentally recharge. They are coming off playing last week. There are two sides of it.
“It’s important for us to hit the intensity early on. They have nothing to lose.”
Stamps GM/head coach John Hufnagel described Cornish as a man possessed last week in beating the Riders with a 100-yard game.
The New Westminster,
B.C., product a the look of intensity on his face Saturday that proved he’s planning to do it again.
“For me to not have a ridiculously good game, I would be disappointed in that,” Cornish said. “I want to go out there and give the rest of the team something to rally behind.”