CALGARY - Henry Burris will need a big performance in familiar territory for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Burris makes his return to Calgary on Saturday when the Ticats take on the Stampeders.
"Trust me, it feels weird," said Burris, who played seven seasons for the Stampeders before he was traded to Hamilton in the off-season for fellow quarterback Kevin Glenn.
"It feels strange, but it's good to be back here and we're really looking forward to this game."
The Tiger-Cats (5-10) are battling with Winnipeg (4-11) and Edmonton (7-8) for the third and final East Division berth with three weeks remaining in the regular season. The Eskimos are well-placed for a crossover berth. (If the fourth-place team in the West has a better record than the third-place team in the East at season's end, the westerners will qualify, but face eastern competition.)
The Calgary Stampeders (9-6) have already clinched a playoff berth and are four points back of first-place B.C.
Although Burris has thrown for an impressive 4,348 yards and a league-leading 35 touchdowns this season, that hasn't equated to success in the win column for the Ticats.
"All we need is one victory to get us going and right now would be the perfect time to make that happen," Burris said. "I'm going to do whatever I can just to make sure I'm making good decisions and getting the ball to our playmakers and we've got a lot of them on offence."
Stampeders defensive back Keon Raymond says Calgary's plan is to make life tough for Burris.
"The amount of games that he's played, the type of leadership he brings to their team, you can't (relax) on him, because he's going to come to play," Raymond said. "You've got to make sure you watch him. Even though he is getting a little older, he'll take off every now and again. He sees some space to run, he'll run.
"We've got to make sure we contain him though, make sure he uses his arm and make sure that when he throws us the ball, we take full advantage of it."
Although Hughes recorded just one tackle during Calgary's 31-20 road victory over Hamilton on Aug. 9, the 6-foot-1, 250-pound defensive lineman is motivated to add to his total of eight sacks, which is third best in the league.
"I don't think I sacked him, but I hit him a couple times," recalled Hughes of his first meeting against Burris. "I got a few licks on him. I'll make them count this time."
Calgary coach and general manager John Hufnagel warned that the Stamps definitely shouldn't take the Ticats lightly.
"They have outstanding talent in key positions and they're a very dangerous football team," he said. "I'm sure that there'll be lots of excitement, not only because of the return of Henry, but also because of the importance of the football game to both football teams."
Glenn, who played the past three seasons for the Ticats, talked about the importance of having a strong start against his former team.
"Something that we've been preaching for the last couple weeks is to come out fast and try to jump on the other team," Glenn said. "They have an offence that can explode and put a lot of points up on the scoreboard, so we want to make sure that we come out fast and try to match that."
Defensive tackle Torrey Davis, who the Ticats acquired from the Stamps on Sept. 5 in exchange for future considerations, recorded a pair of tackles for Calgary the last time the two teams met.
This time, he'll be on the opposite side playing for the Ticats.
"I believe every game from here on out is a must win," Davis said. "We're ready to go. We know what situation we're in. We just want to come out and get a W."
Hamilton coach George Cortez, who served as Calgary's offensive co-ordinator under Hufnagel from 2007 to 2009, said his squad has all the motivation it needs to beat the Stamps.
"The players understand what's at stake," Cortez said. "No matter what happens right now, the most important thing is for us to win because nothing good comes from not winning."