OTTAWA – The Calgary Stampeders have not felt all that welcome in the nation’s capital over the past few CFL seasons.
The West-leading Stampeders haven’t won a game Ottawa since a 32-7 victory in the Redblacks’ inaugural season in 2014. They’ve gone 0-1-2 At TD Place against the Redblacks since, and suffered a devastating 27-24 Grey Cup loss to Toronto at the stadium last fall.
But while the Redblacks would like to think home field will serve as an advantage again when they host Calgary on Thursday, they’re more concerned with their most recent performance against the Stamps.
The two teams met two weeks ago in Calgary, with the Stampeders getting the better of the Redblacks with a 24-14 victory. Ottawa feels it might have been its own worst enemy that night.
“We’ve got to make sure that we up our plan and make sure we execute our game plan a little bit better,” said Ottawa quarterback Trevor Harris. “We’ve just got to be better all around and we will be.”
Harris was less than impressed with his own performance in the previous meeting as Ottawa’s offence struggled to find any rhythm to its game with the exception of running back William Powell, who had 13 carries for 123 yards.
Powell, who leads the league with 55 carries for 355 yards, has been exceptional for the Redblacks and looks forward to the challenge of playing against Calgary’s stingy defence.
“It’s a lot of fun any time you’re winning,” Powell said. “Any time you have a lot of success teams are going to focus in and try to find ways to stop that and slow that process down.
“But I feel as long as us as a unit, offensively, we keep doing what we’re doing and executing to the best of our abilities it’s still going to be tough for defences to stop that because we have some of the best receivers in the league so either way you just have to pick your poison. If they try to stop me, then those guys are going to go crazy.”
The 30-year-old credits the offensive line for much of his success.
“They’ve been opening up huge running lanes as you can see on some of those plays, the holes are big enough that you can just walk through them,” said Powell. “I have to give those guys most of the credit and credit also goes to our offensive coaches that are drawing up great running schemes for me and I just have to do my part.”
Redblacks left guard SirVincent Rogers said Powell creates his own success.
“He’s good at everything, running, catching, making moves in open field and not going down on first contact,” said Rogers. “I think he’s made a name for himself and put everyone on notice that he’s locked in. He’s a humble guy. He doesn’t brag about what he’s doing out there, but just look across the board, he’s played three games and he’s leading the league in rushing so it speaks for itself.”
Kyries Hebert returns to the Ottawa lineup after serving his one-game suspension for a hit on Calgary’s DaVaris Daniels.
The veteran linebacker has no plan to change his style of play.
“I’ve had over 800 career tackles and I’ve been in trouble five times maybe, so the ratio is not like it’s an every play incident where I have a play that’s illegal,” said Hebert. “I want to clean it up, the most important thing is our team and for me to be available to them.”
That being said Hebert knows he has little room for error.
“They’re (the league) going to keep a closer eye because I’m me,” Hebert said.
CALGARY (3-0) at OTTAWA (2-1)
Thursday, TD Place
ALL TIED UP — The Redblacks and Stampeders’ last two meetings in the nation’s capital ended in an overtime tie.
SINOPOLI STARS — Last week Brad Sinopoli had his first 100-plus yard game in over a year as he had a career-high 11 receptions for 148 yards and one touchdown.
REST vs. RUST — The Stampeders are coming off a bye week, but the rest seems to have no effect on Calgary as they come in with a 14-0 record following a week off.