Stampeders rush to prepare for Lions, look to lock down first in the West

The Calgary Stampeders barely have time to catch their breath from their emotional win over Saskatchewan before taking on the B.C. Lions.

Henry Burris and the Calgary Stampeders are hoping for a much better game tonight than they showed last weekend against the B.C. Lions.

Henry Burris and the Calgary Stampeders are hoping for a much better game tonight than they showed last weekend against the B.C. Lions.

CALGARY — The Calgary Stampeders barely have time to catch their breath from their emotional win over Saskatchewan before taking on the B.C. Lions.

The top team in the CFL will have one full practice before Friday’s home game against the Lions (TSN, 10 p.m. ET) after beating the host Roughriders 34-26 on Sunday.

Calgary (11-4) can clinch the West Division title with a win or a Roughriders loss in Edmonton on Saturday. The reward for that is bypassing the Nov. 14 semifinal and hosting the final Nov. 22.

Factor in a 46-19 loss in Montreal on Thanksgiving Day, the Stampeders will play their third game in a dozen days Friday.

“It’s not a lot of time and when you play three games in 12 days. It’s hard work,” Calgary head coach and GM John Hufnagel said Monday. “This is a huge game coming up.

“It’s just part of the schedule. When you play on Thanksgiving Day, and obviously they feel the Stampeders are the type of team they’d like to have play on Thanksgiving Day, you’re going to have a grind like this.”

The Stampeders players had Monday off. Head coach John Hufnagel planned a short practice Tuesday and then a full session Wednesday before Thursday’s walkthrough.

The Lions (5-10) are fighting for their playoff lives after a 31-28 loss to Edmonton on Saturday. Calgary suffered its first loss at home this season and played terribly when B.C. beat them 29-10 on Sept. 25.

The elation from snapping a three-game losing streak at Mosaic Stadium, plus the memory of their last game against B.C. should help put life back in the Stampeders’ fatigued legs, Hufnagel thought.

“It’s versus a team that’s playing great defensive football, a team that handed it to us the last time we played,” he said. “We have to get ourselves ready to play in a short amount of time, not only mentally, but get our legs back physically.”

Hufnagel was pleased with his team’s resiliency in Saskatchewan after quickly falling behind 14-0.

“We kept our composure and were able to gain momentum back,” he said. “Against Montreal, when we had opportunities to get the momentum back, we had two turnovers. We played better football yesterday by, when the pressure was on, we were able to have success and not turn the ball over.

“We had talked before about momentum changes and how important it is to keep the faith and play your game for 60 minutes and get momentum back.”

Saskatchewan (9-6) has clinched a playoff berth and a post-season meeting with Calgary is highly likely.

The Stampeders took the regular-season series 2-1, but Hufnagel doesn’t believe winning the final regular-season game against the green and white gives his team a leg up in any post-season clash.

“Any time you win a football game is good, but the next time you play, there’s no history,” Hufnagel maintained. “It’s a separate entity.

“They’ll come in full of confidence. We’ll come in full of confidence and the team that plays the best that day will be successful.”

Offensive lineman Edwin Harrison was scheduled for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) on Monday after suffering a knee injury in the third quarter of Sunday’s game. Hufnagel said the right tackle was doubtful for Friday’s game and that he was leaning towards Stanley Bryant as a replacement.

Hufnagel expected middle linebacker Juwan Simpson, Calgary’s leader in tackles (58) and sacks (7), to play Friday after sitting out the game in Saskatchewan with a knee injury. Non-import linebacker Karl McCartney was said to be day-to-day with sore ribs.