The Calgary Stampeders will attempt to become the first CFL franchise to record 700 regular-season wins on Friday night when they host the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Despite a less-than-stellar campaign, the Stampeders (6-11) have punched their ticket to the playoffs for the 18th consecutive season. They posted a 41-16 road win over the BC Lions last Friday to set up a rematch between the teams in the West Division semifinal on Nov. 4 in Vancouver.
“I’m happy with the score, and I’m happy with how we’re improving,” Stampeders general manager/head coach Dave Dickenson said. “But I don’t want to say basically everything’s been fixed. We’ve got a lot of areas we know we’ve got to be better in. We had some plays, though.”
Reggie Begelton has made numerous plays this season, so many in fact that he is the team’s Most Outstanding Player nominee for the second time in his career. The veteran slotback is Calgary’s leader in catches (86), receiving yards (1,119) and receiving touchdowns (five).
The Lions’ loss last Friday enabled the Blue Bombers (13-4) to clinch first place in the West. Winnipeg didn’t let its foot off the gas the following day, recording its third straight victory with a 45-25 decision over the Edmonton Elks.
The Blue Bombers, however, plan to rest their regulars on Friday in a game that has no impact on the playoffs.
“I want the preparation for the guys to be the same. I want us to stick to the things we value and evaluate,” Winnipeg coach Mike O’Shea said. “And then whatever happens … obviously, everybody wants to win. But most importantly, it’s making sure we are consistent in what we do.
“What I’ve liked so far is there are some veteran guys that are most likely going to be watching and they’re out there working with some young guys, making sure they are very detailed in their process.”
The Blue Bombers posted a 24-11 home win over the Stampeders on July 7 and a 19-18 victory in Calgary on Aug. 18.