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November 2, 2018

PREVIEW: CGY @ BC

It’s the final showdown of the regular season.

And you can bet both the Stampeders and BC Lions will be bring everything they’ve got when they square off at BC Place on Saturday at 8 p.m. MT.

For the fourth straight week, a first-place finish in the West is on the line for the Stamps, who look end their three-game losing streak, most recently dropping their last tilt 29-21 to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

As for the Lions, a 35-16 loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders locked them into a fourth-place standing, which this weekend’s game will not affect. However, a big effort is still expected from BC as they look to send off their coach, Wally Buono, with one final regular-season win ahead of his retirement.

“It’s a Wally Buono team, so we know they’re not giving up on anything,” said Bo Levi Mitchell. “They were playing really well there for a while, and had one hiccup of a game last week so we know we’re getting everything they’ve got. They’re not going to rest guys and try to sit guys out to get ready for playoffs, they’re going to come and bring it so we’ll be ready.”

And despite the Red & White’s recent string of losses, they’ve had a week of spirited practices – to say the least. It’s an attitude they hope will set them on track for a playoff bye.

“Honestly as a group, we’ve got good energy,” said head coach Dave Dickenson. “We just have to make sure we’re tight with the details.”

“We like to compete against each other, it’s been a fun week,” added Mitchell. “Guys have been giving it everything they’ve got. It’s been a while since this last week has meant something to us like this; it’s a Grey Cup-like feeling, a playoff type feeling, that it’s do-or-die for us. … We’re excited to get out here and play some football.”

The past month has been challenging for the Stamps, but with the adversity has come a wealth of knowledge.

They’re now focused on improving on the seven turnovers and the litany of opportunities missed over the past three games.

“The losses are good because we get to learn from them,” Mitchell said. “If you don’t learn from them that’s when it doesn’t count and it’s not worth anything. I think we’ve learned a lot from those losses, it’s helped us with the tight-game situation, understanding with turnovers that when we win the turnover battle we’re 10-0, and when we lose it we’re 0-5 – so there’s definitely something to be looked at there.”

The Stamps also hope to get back on top defensively this week after a few difficult performances.

“We’ve got to make sure we have good communication,” said Dickenson. “We know we’re going up against a good group, we’ve got to improve and we’ve got a few guys working in-and-out (defensively) as well. We’re trying to make sure we’ve got the right group, but ultimately it’s all 12, finding the right mix, making sure we trust each other and tackling.”

“I just think we’ve got to clean up some things,” agreed defensive line coach Corey Mace. “We try to put ourselves in the hardest position possible (during practice), put it hard on those guys. But they did pretty well this week and we’re looking forward to an opportunity to clinch.”

But as always, the Stamps are still looking at the bigger picture.

“(A win) will definitely give you some confidence going in (to playoffs),” Mitchell said.

“But if we win this game, or lose this game, no matter what we’ve got to win three games total to get the reward we really want.”

Additions to this week’s 46-man roster are WR Bakari Grant, DB Tre Roberson, LB Jameer Thurman, OL Randy Richards, and DL Derek Wiggan. The subtractions are WR Eric Rogers, RB Romar Morris, DB DaShaun Amos, OL Nila Kasitati, and DL Ese Mrabure.