Atmosphere combustible ahead of CFL West final

REGINA — Saskatchewan Roughrider defensive end Ricky Foley has been here before — staring down a tough team in a division final, with the possibility of playing in the Grey Cup on home turf on the line. The Riders will play the Stampeders in Calgary in the CFL West Division final on Sunday, with the winner heading to Regina for the Nov. 24 Grey Cup.

REGINA — Saskatchewan Roughrider defensive end Ricky Foley has been here before — staring down a tough team in a division final, with the possibility of playing in the Grey Cup on home turf on the line.

The Riders will play the Stampeders in Calgary in the CFL West Division final on Sunday, with the winner heading to Regina for the Nov. 24 Grey Cup.

Foley was with the Toronto Argonauts last season when they won the Grey Cup at home. But first, the Argos had to get past their arch rival Alouettes in Montreal in the CFL East Division final.

It’s only Foley’s first year in Saskatchewan, but he says the Riders’ feelings against Calgary are similar.

“You can feel it. It’s definitely palpable,” Foley said after practice Thursday. “You can sense it around here with the guys who have been with the team for a while. I know how much they don’t like Calgary.

“We’ve got some guys on our team who like to talk, they’ve got some guys on their team who like to talk. They’ve got some guys who like to hit, we’ve got some guys who like to hit. So any time you have that, I think it’s put into a little bit of a melting pot and it’s pretty combustible right now.

“I think there’s a genuine distaste for each other right now at this point and Sunday’s probably going to explode and we’ll see what happens.”

Some things are similar to last year in this division final, Foley said, while others are not.

“Well, for me it’s a lot colder. I was in a dome last year doing this sweating, so that’s my main difference,” Foley joked. “The feeling, it’s pretty similar. Even when I was in B.C., it’s pretty similar. You know, you get to this point, you realize it’s the CFL and anybody can win on any given day. The best four teams are left and you’ve got to bring your A-game.”

Foley said it’s only fitting that Calgary is the team Saskatchewan has to get past to get to the championship.

A 29-25 win over the B.C. Lions in the West semifinal earned the Roughriders the trip to West final.

Calgary won the West with the CFL’s best record of 14-4. The Stampeders also won the season series with Saskatchewan 2-1, with both victories coming at McMahon Stadium.

The atmosphere when the Stampeders and the Riders meet in Calgary is always charged, partly because many Saskatchewan ex-pats live in Calgary.

There’s also a heated rivalry between the top two running backs in the CFL — Calgary’s Jon Cornish and Saskatchewan’s Kory Sheets. Cornish had a CFL-leading 1,813 yards while Sheets was second with 1,598.

Both teams also sport solid defences as the Riders allowed a league-low 22.1 points per game while the Stampeders were second at 22.9.

Foley, who also won a Grey Cup with B.C. in 2006, says playoff games come down to trusting your coaches and your teammates.

“From my experience, the best thing to do is not get too uptight, not try to do anything too much different than what you’ve done,” he said. “You’ve been successful, you’ve gotten to this point — keep doing what you’ve done to get here and just be focused.”

Just Posted

BILD says not the time for higher permit fees in Red Deer

Construction industry is hard hit by slow economy

Bighorn Country telephone town hall for Red Deer area set for Wednesday

Residents can phone in from 6:30-7:30 p.m. to hear about the project or ask questions

Central Alberta real estate sales follow a familiar pattern

2018 house sale numbers mirror 2017 in central Alberta

Red Deer hospital settles dispute, welcomes neonatal nurse

A dispute over nursing levels at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre’s emergency… Continue reading

Drumheller-Stettler MLA quits UCP

Rick Strankman to sit as Independent

Lucic, Kassian each score twice to power Oilers in 7-2 win over Sabres

EDMONTON — Milan Lucic and Zack Kassian each scored a pair of… Continue reading

Big Valley family gives back to community

Donates $24,560 to Stettler Health Foundation and Edmonton Stollery Children’s Hospital

Giordano notches three points to lead Flames in 7-1 blowout of Coyotes

CALGARY — Flames captain Mark Giordano celebrated his 800th NHL game in… Continue reading

All-female team out to prove women racers aren’t a gimmick

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Every racing series in the world is full… Continue reading

‘Game of Thrones’ final season to debut on April 14

NEW YORK — “Game of Thrones” fans, get ready. HBO announced Sunday… Continue reading

Kylie Jenner loses record for most-liked Instagram post

NEW YORK — Kylie Jenner’s birth announcement is no longer the most-liked… Continue reading

Study shows black bears need a variety of salmon species to be healthy

VANCOUVER — Black bears need access to different species of salmon rather… Continue reading

Trade war’s wounded: Companies improvise to dodge cost hikes

WASHINGTON — In Rochester, New York, a maker of furnaces for semiconductor… Continue reading

Most Read