Volume 93, Issue 6
Friday, June 18, 1999
Alberta battle for West
Photo courtesy of the Calgary Stampeders
WHY DO I ALWAYS HAVE A HORSE ON MY HELMET? Former Mustang Duane Forde of the Calgary Stampeders gets ready to stamp on the opposing teams.
By Chad Thompson
The battle of Alberta will be renewed this season in the Canadian Football League, as the Edmonton Eskimos and the Calgary Stampeders will likely battle for first place in the West.
Calgary has the best chance to repeat their Grey Cup victory if quarterback Dave Dickinson doesn't crack under the pressure of being a starter. Coach Wally Buono has always put a strong team on the field and this year will be no different.
Slotback Allan Pitts is set to have another great year and will aid in pulling the team ahead in many games. The team's defence will be strong and will keep them in the game if the offence struggles.
The Eskimos could be a surprise team this season if coach Don Matthews has his way. The problem, however, may be their offence since Jack Kemp has had minimal success as a quarterback in the CFL. If Kemp plays well, the Eskimos may be able put enough points on the board so the team's defence won't have to carry the whole game alone.
Utility man Henry "Gizmo" Williams will surely be Edmonton's spark plug this season. He can change the complexion of a game with one kick return. If Matthews can work his magic, the team will play above their heads and may be able to dethrone Calgary at the top.
The British Columbia Lions could be the dark horse of the year. Quarterback Damon Allen knows the system and was the best quarterback in the league last year.
The team's wide receivers are strong but their running game is questionable as there is not a solid number one runningback. The fate of the team lies in Allen if he has a bad year, the team will have a bad year as well. Lions fans better hope the offensive line does not let to many sacks occur on their aging quarterback.
Finally, there is the perennial basement dwellers, the Saskatchewan Roughriders, who are hoping quarterback Reggie Slack doesn't slack off this season. Mike Saunders is a strong runningback but the offensive line will not make the holes he needs.
Wide receiver Donald Narceess poses a threat on offense but there isn't a solid number two receiver to help him out. The Roughriders defence was roughed up all over the field last year and better show up every game if Saskatchewan wishes to play in the post season.
Copyright © The Gazette 1999