Buck to the rescue?

Buck Pierce will be back behind centre when the Bombers take on Hamilton Friday night. The No. 1...

Buck Pierce will be back behind centre when the Bombers take on Hamilton Friday night. The No. 1 quarterback missed three games with a knee injury. (Winnipeg Sun)

JIM BENDER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:23 PM ET

It is their last hole before the Blue Bombers tee it up for their own version of golf’s Amen Corner.

Winnipeg plays host to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in a critical contest at Canad Inns Stadium on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

The Bombers are currently tied with Hamilton for last place in the CFL East at 2-4 and their ensuing games will be against the reigning Grey Cup champion Alouettes in Montreal and back-to-back games against Saskatchewan Roughriders, last year’s finalists — their Amen Corner.

Veteran Bomber quarterback Buck Pierce will start after missing the last three games with a sprained right knee, which underscores the importance of the match.

Hamilton is also up 2-1 on the season series and even rookie Bomber head coach Paul LaPolice took time to explain to the team that Winnipeg needs to win by nine points to win the series, which could determine tie-breakers at the end of the year.

“We educated the players on the process, but it’s not the end of the world if we don’t,” LaPolice said.

“It’s huge, not just for who wins the series, but it’s huge for the Eastern Division just to get points,” said Bomber cornerback LaVar Glover. “And it’s huge just for our confidence, man. With the momentum we get, the opportunity we get moving on. So, we need this win. I’ve got a sense of urgency and I think my teammates have a sense of urgency, too.”

Because of the three games that will follow, some Bombers had suggested that this week’s match is do-or-die after losing to the ’Cats in Hamilton last week.

“I wouldn’t say do-or-die,” said cornerback Jovon Johnson. “If we lose, it’s not the end of the world, but it’s definitely a game we must win. We know the importance of it and, going into the game, I think everybody on this team is eager for a win before we go into Montreal because if we lose, it can hurt, definitely.”

If they lose, a lot of prayers will be shouted at their Amen Corner.

LaPolice, however, denied hurrying Pierce back due to the importance of the contest.

“We try to make decisions based on what our process is, how he’s feeling,” he said.

The Bombers were 1-2 with backup Steven Jyles at the helm.

“We just felt that Buck earned the right to be the starter, and he does some great things — his leadership and his ability to move the football,” LaPolice said. “He earned the job, and we wanted to give it back to him.”

Pierce admitted that he hounded his head coach to approve his return.

“Pretty much every time I saw him in the hallway or saw him out here, he’d ask me how I was feeling and I’d give him, ‘I’m ready to go, I’m good’ — even knowing that I would have to get to the point where I could go out there and execute,” said Pierce, who was given the official nod early Thursday morning.

“The doctor said it’s (knee) stable and if I have to deal with pain, so be it. I should be able to go out there and do everything. I’ve been through this situation before and I know what it takes to get ready to play again.”

But he does not expect wearing a brace on his knee to limit him.

“If I’m going to play my game, I’m not going to worry about my knee,” said Pierce, 28. “I’m going to go out there and scramble when I can and if I have to go down, I’ll go down.”

Nor does he expect the ’Cats to target his knee.

“They’re a good defence and I don’t expect them to treat me any different than they play anyone else,” he said.

You can expect the Bombers to play with some sense of desperation.

“When you’re down 2-1 in a series that could have implications at the end of the season — and here we are in Week 7 and we’re not going to be playing these guys anymore — it means a lot. They’re up in the (series), and we need to take care of our business at home here and worry about the tiebreaker. It’s a big game for us definitely.”


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