Focus on the present: Berry

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 11:19 AM ET

Everyone is still talking about "the catch."

Starting today, however, Blue Bombers head coach Doug Berry wants his team to forget about Milt Stegall's game-winning, 100-yard catch and run that beat the Edmonton Eskimos in the early morning hours Friday.

"I'm going to shut the door on that," Berry said yesterday afternoon. "We're done with that."

But will his players be able to mentally shelve one of the most memorable plays in Bombers history?

"If I tell them to," Berry said with a chuckle.

LOOKING AHEAD

It's not just the miracle at Commonwealth that Berry wants his team to store; it's the other five games as well.

The Bombers are 4-2 after a third of the CFL season, two points back of the 5-0 Montreal Alouettes in the East Division.

Many thought Winnipeg would be nowhere near that mark with two games each against Montreal, Toronto and Edmonton to start the season.

"Everybody expected us to be 0-6 at this point," said Bombers linebacker Barrin Simpson. "We're second in the East to this point, and we're right where we want to be."

Berry, however, believes the real battle starts now.

"The hardest part of the CFL season is getting through Game 7 through 12, because once you get to the teens you start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and the playoffs and things like that," Berry said.

"This is always the hardest part of the schedule, and this is the time that we need to focus. The next six games are going to help us determine to what level we're going to be, maybe a playoff-type contending team.

"And it starts this Friday going to Hamilton."

The Bombers visit the Tiger-Cats on Friday night at Ivor Wynne Stadium. The teams then hook up again on Aug. 4 at Canad Inns Stadium.

The Tiger-Cats, who have already fired their head coach this season, are 1-5, so a Bomber sweep would provide a substantial playoff cushion for them in the East.

"Even the most optimistic fan, player or someone in management ... to say that we'd be 4-2 after that remarkably tough first third of the schedule means we've got a good, strong team, man," said kicker/punter Troy Westwood. "I'm thrilled to be a part of it, and we have great expectations."

Berry feels those expectations will be met only if everyone wearing Blue and Gold forgets about how they got to this point.

"We're not going to get any better based on history," Berry said. "We're gonna get better based on what we're doing today and what we can look forward to tomorrow."


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