Rookies face a fiery baptism

SCOTT ZERR -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:53 AM ET

New faces in the Edmonton Eskimos' locker-room are getting a baptism by fire into the Battle of Alberta.

With the first two games of the regular season involving the Esks and the Calgary Stampeders, those unaccustomed to the rivalry don't have to wait long to see how fiery the clashes can be.

Reggie Durden's heard all about the rivalry but from the safe distance of the East Division. He's used to the skirmishes between the Montreal Alouettes and Toronto Argonauts, but this is the real war.

"It's going to be fun," smiled Durden.

"I love playing in big games because that's the type of player I am. I always showed up in big games so I'm excited about this one."

Before getting a taste of this rivalry, Andre Sommersell's most intense games came when his Colorado State Rams butted heads with the University of Colorado Buffaloes.

"I've heard all about it and I'm getting that into my system," said Sommersell.

"The guys have told me about the way they play, what type of team it is and that they talk a lot."

For the players, it should be an easy task getting up for the back-to-back meetings with Calgary, leaving Danny Maciocia to focus on the other parts of preparation.

"I don't think there's much I need to say to the guys as far as trying to get them going for Week 1 and Week 2," said the Eskimos' head coach.

"The West is going to be tough and we've got an opportunity to start against our arch-rivals so they're going to be two pretty big games.

"But I'm also a firm believer in it's not how you start, it's how you finish.


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