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Stamps taking Friday game seriously

WINNIPEG - Henry Burris doesn’t know how many snaps he’ll take Friday, but he wants to make every one count.

WINNIPEG - Henry Burris doesn’t know how many snaps he’ll take Friday, but he wants to make every one count.

The Calgary Stampeders quarterback will use Friday’s game against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (TSN, 8 p.m. ET) as a playoff primer.

The Stampeders (12-5) have clinched first in the CFL West Division and won’t see action again until they host the final on Nov. 21.

"I hope I get a chance to play a good amount of the game," Burris said before flying to Winnipeg.

"I'm preparing myself to do that, but I'm going to go out and play hard until I'm asked to come off the field."

The 12-year veteran leads the league’s passers with 4,890 yards and 37 touchdowns and is the team’s nominee for outstanding player.

He doesn’t see his teammates slacking off because they’re playing the 4-13 Bombers and the game doesn’t affect the standings.

"I know our guys are going to be ready to play," Burris said. "Even though we don't play until two weeks later, we want to make sure we come back on that plane with a good taste in our mouths."

Calgary head coach John Hufnagel also tried to make sure his players didn’t view the game as a meaningless game.

"The one thing Huf touched on this week is the fact that 'What type of team are we? Are we a team that plays with pride as far as when we step on the field? Do we want to do what it takes to achieve victory each and every time and get better?'" Burris said.

"That's the attitude we had in 2008 when we made that great run and won the Grey Cup that year. Definitely this is a challenge for us."

The Stamps are tied for the CFL’s best record with Montreal and have scored the most points (591) and are tied for fewest points given up (427).

They’re coming off a 55-24 kicking of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats last week, while Winnipeg lost 16-13 in overtime to Edmonton.

Although it’s a big task, the Bombers are aiming for a victory against the powerhouse Stamps to end their disappointing season on a high note.

The Bombers have missed the playoffs for the second straight year after a campaign that saw them set a CFL record of eight games lost by four or fewer points. Another defeat was by seven points.

Winnipeg receiver Terrence Edwards isn’t going to let the finality of the game get him down.

"If you can’t get excited to play a game that you love and get paid for, then there’s something wrong with you," Edwards said after Thursday’s practice.

"No matter if we’re going to the playoffs or not, it’s another game that we get to play and I enjoy playing."

Winnipeg’s nominee for outstanding player, Edwards leads the league in receiving yards with a career-high 1,325 yards. He’s also second with a career-high 12 TD catches, two behind Calgary’s Romby Bryant.

Edwards has achieved his notable performance despite catching passes from four different quarterbacks this season.

On Friday he’ll be on the receiving end of throws by rookie Joey Elliott, who’s making his second straight pro start.

The Purdue product was Winnipeg’s fourth-string quarterback this season, but he moved up the ladder after starter Buck Pierce dislocated an elbow in September and then Steven Jyles (shoulder) and Alex Brink (broken collarbone) both went down in Game 16.

Like many of Winnipeg’s young players, Friday is a chance to leave a good impression on coaches before they start planning next year’s roster.

"As a quarterback, you’ve got to be able to execute and lead," Elliott said.

"In the CFL, you’ve got to make plays once the ball snaps. (Coaches) see you make all the plays in practice, but they want to see it on the game field."

Edwards isn’t the only Bomber who was a bright spot for his team this season.

Running back Fred Reid has rushed for 1,348 yards, second in the league behind Toronto’s Cory Boyd (1,359). Reid’s career high is the 1,371 yards he put up last season.

Second-year Bombers defensive end Philip Hunt has a league-high 16 sacks and aims to add to that total on Friday by pulling down Burris.

He expects his teammates will play with the same intensity even though it’s the final battle of the year.

"The guys that we have in this locker-room are guys that I consider as warriors, that will fight to the end, the last game, the last breath," Hunt said.

Notes: The Bombers signed rookie defensive back Deon Beasley and rookie linebacker Marcellus Bowman to two-year contract extensions on Thursday . . . Calgary is 3-7 in its last 10 games in Winnipeg, but 5-3 on the road this season . . . The Stamps are the only CFL club with three 1,000-yard receivers in Nik Lewis (1,225), Bryant (1,108) and Ken-Yon Rambo (1,088). It’s the first time the club has had a trio reach that milestone in a season since 2000.

— With files from Canadian Press reporter Donna Spencer

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