Calgary Stampeders Want Win, but Downplay Stakes in Game against Winnipeg

By Spencer, Donna | The Canadian Press, October 14, 2014 | Go to article overview

Calgary Stampeders Want Win, but Downplay Stakes in Game against Winnipeg


Spencer, Donna, The Canadian Press


Stampeders on verge of winning the West

--

CALGARY - The Calgary Stampeders can clinch first place in the CFL's West Division very early this season with a win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Saturday.

The problem with making first in the division -- the rallying cry for Saturday -- is the chance of losing concentration and intensity in the remaining three games of the regular season.

Some Stampeders were emphasizing execution and wins, not byes and home playoff dates, on Tuesday.

"I think just playing to win this next game is what we should be focused on, not winning the division," running back Jon Cornish said.

"The following week, we should focus on winning that game. We have a bunch of difficult games coming up and we have to be focused on every single one of them."

Calgary (12-2) has two games remaining against Winnipeg (6-9) and one against Saskatchewan (9-6) before the regular-season finale against the B.C. Lions (8-7).

The Stampeders swept Edmonton (10-5) in their season series and would thus rank above the Eskimos in the event the two teams finished tied in the standings.

Division winners earn the right to host their respective division finals. They also get a week's rest while their opponents wear themselves out in semifinal playoff games.

In 2013, Calgary secured the West final in the second-last week en route to a 14-4 record. But the Stampeders were upset in the division final by the Saskatchewan Roughriders, who went on to win the Grey Cup in Regina.

It's a reminder that securing the division final is not the same thing as winning it, which is perhaps why the Stampeders were downplaying Saturday's stakes.

There is still a lot of football to be played and the Stampeders want to be playing it well heading into the post-season.

"We've got to finish," Calgary quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell. "We're not looking forward to any other game. We're not trying to clinch first place.

"All we're thinking about is going out there and playing a good football game against Winnipeg. Last year we were 14-4 and we don't finish."

After missing three games with a sprained ankle and injured ligament in his left knee, Mitchell is expected to start for real this time.

Head coach John Hufnagel said during Week 15 that Mitchell was "ready to go" against the Roughriders only to announce a day later Drew Tate would get the ball. …

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