Winner of Esks-Riders first in CFL West

TERRY JONES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:27 PM ET

REGINA - Eskimos receiver Fred Stamps watched the Friday night game between the Argos and Stampeders with teammate Andrew Nowacki.

“I didn’t even pick up on it. He was the one who mentioned it. ‘Hey, if we win, we’re alone in first.’ ”

The first-place Edmonton Eskimos?

This wasn’t the way the game against the Saskatchewan Roughriders set up a couple days ago when everybody made their pre-season picks in the Canadian Football League.

Calgary and B.C. were supposed to be 1-2 in the CFL West this year. But the Stampeders and Lions lost their openers and ...

“It’s real,” said Stamps, one of the few players in the league to get excited about playing in Mosaic Stadium where he had a 12-catch, 213-yard game early last season and ended the year with a nine catch, 118-yard game.

“We have a chance to do something big here. Hopefully we’ll come in here with the idea to have fun and enjoy. Everybody knows about Roughriders fans. Hopefully a lot of the guys will have the same kind of attitude I have about playing in this place. I love hostile environments.

“Man, it would mean a lot to win this game. We have a lot of new faces and a new atmosphere and a win here would give us a lot of momentum. It would go a long way,” he said.

The Roughriders have won their last five season openers. The Eskimos lost their first four games last year.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity for this football team,” said Kavis Reed, who will be head coach in his first regular-season game when it kicks off at 5 p.m..

“This is such a big game for us,” said defensive lineman Greg Peach. “A win in this game could carry over all season.”

Quarterback Ricky Ray has lived through a lot of horror stories here where the Eskimos won a Grey Cup in 2003.

“The weekend has worked pretty well so far,” he said.

“It’s important for this team to get off to a good start. We don’t want to be fighting uphill to the last week like last year. A win in this situation would provide a lot of positives.

“Alone in first place? We haven’t heard that for a while.”

Follow me on Twitter.com/sunterryjones

terry.jones@sunmedia.ca


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