Blue Bombers and Stampeders close regular seasons with playoff tune-up

The semi-final winner will face the Bombers at IG Field for the right to play the Gray Cup on December 12 in Hamilton.

“There’s something to be said about the momentum,” Stampeders head coach Dave Dickenson said on Friday. “You want to play good football before the playoffs so I think we both realize that.

“We have to improve as a team. We’re not good enough now to win this. I want to win football which should result in a win and let’s keep my fingers crossed that we are as healthy as possible at the end of the game.

An injury-free victory on Saturday is the best scenario for any club, but it’s tough to achieve in a collision sport.

“It’s hard to stay healthy in football,” Bombers wide receiver Kenny Lawler admitted.

The Bombers classified quarterback Zach Collaros, who did not play in the 28-14 loss to the Montreal Alouettes last week, as “questionable, unrelated to injury” for Saturday.

Substitute Sean McGuire threw for 149 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions on his first CFL start in Montreal, but is sidelined with a groin injury.

That leaves Dru Brown making his debut with the Bombers whether he starts or gets closer after Collaros has played a few playoffs.

Stampeder quarterback Mitchell went the distance in a 33-23 victory over the BC Lions last week as Calgary secured a playoff berth for the 16th straight season.

It should start on Saturday. Substitute Jake Maier threw for 300 yards on each of his first three CFL starts when Mitchell was sidelined with a broken leg early in the season.

The Bombers activated Collaros, fullback Nic Taylor, safety back Brandon Alexander, defensive tackle Steven Richardson and right guard Pat Neufeld for Saturday after missing the game in Montreal.

Calgary point guard Ka’Deem Carey, wide receiver Malik Henry, defensive end Shawn Lemon and defensive tackle Mike Rose will not play on Saturday, but the Stampeders will start at least several regular players.

“We definitely left the guys out and some guys that I thought were big contributors to our team, but I wasn’t quite sure what I had in the save post so let’s look at the save post. , let’s give these guys a few reps so that we now have maybe more depth and a team that I feel more comfortable playing with if in some cases the guys have to play, ”said Dickenson.

“I’m going to try to play against everyone who is suitable in attack, in defense, they should obviously have special teams. How much this is going to be dictated by the game and also just a feeling for me. “

Saturday’s game is a decisive playoff game, according to Lawler.

The CFL leader for receiving yards is 27 in a 1,000-yard season. Lawler would be the first bomber since Milt Stegall in 2002 to dominate the league in this category.

“It’s really about setting the tone, about putting that physicality on tape that you know, over the next few weeks we’re those guys, we’re the dogs that are going to have after whom we play,” Lawler said. .

“We want to put this on film that you’re going to enter this stadium on December 5th, and you’re all going to understand what’s happening to you. You are going to get a physical game. They will find out from what we put on this film.

The COVID-19 pandemic shortening the CFL season and pushing it back later in the calendar year has allowed Calgary and Winnipeg to wrap up their regular seasons in what would be the final division weekend in most other years .

Richardson of Winnipeg was hoping for snow on Saturday in McMahon, but the forecast is generally sunny with below freezing temperatures.

“It’s really fun when it starts to snow because you can enjoy it defensively with the slippery ball,” said Richardson.

“I’d rather, if it’s going to be cold, then be cold for a reason.” Show me some snow. If we get a snow match, I’m all for it.

Notes: Winnipeg moved up to Calgary 18-16 visit on Aug. 29 when they meet again this season. . . The Stampeders are 16-2 against the Bombers at McMahon since 2003.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on November 19, 2021.

Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press

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