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

One of the last buildings needed for Red Deer’s 2019 Winter Games is being completed

RDC residence is on schedule, despite ‘tight’ time-frame, says RDC official

New youth detox facility under construction in Red Deer

Expanded Protection of Children Abusing Drugs program

Woman who posed as animal control officer sentenced in Red Deer court

B.C. woman sentenced to 90 days in prison after targeting and harassing Innisfail dog owner

Two one-of-a-kind Christmas art markets held in Red Deer this weekend

Members of pottery, art clubs and other area artists show their works

Lowry has strong words for Raptors’ lack of communication after loss

TORONTO — Raptors coach Nick Nurse might not have had a good… Continue reading

S. Korea’s ‘Garlic Girls’ accuse coaches of derailing team

SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of — The Garlic Girls, South Korea’s hugely popular… Continue reading

Trump administration defends its case against CNN’s Acosta

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s administration is trying to fend off a… Continue reading

Long hidden, Marie Antoinette’s jewels go up for auction

GENEVA — Diamond and pearl earrings, pearl necklaces, a giant pearl pendant… Continue reading

A No-Go: Athletes and officials weigh in after Calgary votes ‘no’ to 2026 bid

TORONTO — Rotating Olympic hosts? A single go-to destination every four years?… Continue reading

Predators may have NHL’s best goalie combo on, off ice

NASHVILLE — Pekka Rinne is off to an even better start than… Continue reading

Canadian Premier League buys Ontario’s League 1, looks to develop talent there

TORONTO — The Canadian Premier League has bought Ontario’s League 1 and… Continue reading

Most Read