BRITISH COLUMBIA

B.C. Lions, Calgary Stampeders seeking to build momentum for playoffs

11/06/2014 07:36 EST | Updated 01/06/2015 05:59 EST
VANCOUVER - The B.C. Lions and Calgary Stampeders will put on a quarterbacking show Friday in their final game of the 2014 CFL regular season at B.C. Place Stadium.

Both clubs plan to use two signal-callers as they get ready for the playoffs. Kevin Glenn will start as usual for the Lions (9-8) as they attempt to lock up third place in the West Division. But rarely used backup John Beck, the league's oldest rookie quarterback at 33, will also see action.

"It's one of those situations where I'm going to let (Glenn) play as much as he needs to," said Lions coach Mike Benevides. "I don't have any thoughts of having a sequence in and out."

Backup Drew Tate will start for the Stampeders (14-3), who have secured first place and a bye to the Western Final at home. Starter Bo Levi Mitchell will see limited duty as Calgary attempts to bounce back from an upset loss to Winnipeg during a snowstorm at home last weekend.

With a win, the Lions can clinch third and a road game against the Edmonton Eskimos. If B.C. loses, a possible cross-over to the East Division playoffs could result.

"To be honest with you, as anybody says, nobody really cares (about playing in the West or East), as long as we get an opportunity," said Benevides. "But I do think that, in order to have any sort of momentum and feel the way we should feel as a football team, or need to feel, we have to find a way to play well (Friday)."

While using multiple quarterbacks, both clubs will also make numerous lineup changes as they attempt to make up for embarrassing losses. The Lions are looking to bounce back after an embarrassing 37-3 loss in Edmonton last weekend.

Glenn said it's important for the Lions to play well even though the Stampeders will not be as strong as usual. The 14-year veteran said he understands his team needs to rest him, but he also has a strong desire to play. He does not need considerable playing time to tune up for the playoffs.

"It's the time that (coaches are) willing to give," he said. "I've been in this league long enough to know that I don't necessarily have to play the whole game to be ready, if that's the given situation and they want to play other guys, to see other guys."

Beck, a former NFL journeyman was initially slated to be No. 3 but moved into a backup role after Glenn assumed the No. 1 role in wake of Travis Lulay's shoulder troubles. Beck could see his most minutes yet behind centre.

"That's exciting for me," said Beck. "So whatever happens, happens. Nothing's really been set out (in terms of) specifics."

B.C.'s other most notable change on offence will see running back Stefan Logan assume the starting tailback role after he missed four games — two due to injury and two more after being displaced from the roster. Linebacker Adam Bighill's absence (hand) will be the most significant one on defence.

Despite the fact that the game is shaping up as a quasi-exhibition contest due to all of the lineup changes, B.C. defensive back Ryan Phillips said the Lions have a renewed sense of urgency in wake of the one-sided loss to Edmonton.

"We're not looking at this game as a meaningless game or anything like that," said Phillips. "Every game counts."

Meanwhile, Calgary general manager and coach John Hufnagel plans to play QBs Tate and Mitchell on a "50-50" or "60-40" basis depending on how the game goes. Hufnagel chose to start Tate in order to give him "added pressure" in case he has to play in the post-season.

The Stamps want to play well heading into a bye in order to avoid a repeat home loss in the West Final after they fell to eventual Grey Cup champion Saskatchewan last year.

"We definitely don't want to have that happen again, and (we want to) just take advantage of the opportunity that we all have (Friday)," said Tate.

The Stamps will try to regain their offensive momentum without CFL rushing leader Jon Cornish, who had to leave Saturday's game against Winnipeg in the second quarter after bouncing his head off the McMahon Stadium turf. Martell Mallett will see "the lion's share, so to speak" in his place, said Hufnagel.

While many teammates are rested, Calgary receiver Marquay McDaniel will return after being out since Sept. 13 with a broken wrist.

"(The game) might not mean anything, but it means something to me just being out there," said McDaniel.