Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Meaningless loss has meaningful repercussions

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CALGARY -- The Calgary Stampeders await prognoses on three key starters, but head coach and general manager John Hufnagel did not sound optimistic about their chances of playing in the CFL's West Division final in two weeks.

"Any time you have players on crutches it doesn't look good and that's all I can say right now," Hufnagel said Saturday.

The Stampeders lost defensive tackles Micah Johnson and Demonte Bolden to knee injuries and receiver Marquay McDaniel to an ankle injury in the first half of Friday night's 26-7 loss to the B.C. Lions in Vancouver.

Hufnagel said the players needed to undergo MRIs to conclude the exact nature of the injuries and how long they would be sidelined.

The Stampeders finished first in the CFL with a 14-4 record and host the division final Nov. 17 at McMahon Stadium. They'll face the winner of the division semifinal between the Lions and Saskatchewan Roughriders on Nov. 10.

CFL rushing leader Jon Cornish left the game in Vancouver after gaining 14 yards on four carries. Hufnagel said Cornish suffered a bruised shoulder and the coach didn't want to risk further injury to it.

McDaniel posted his first career season of over 1,000 receiving yards filling in for slotback Nik Lewis, who is out with a broken leg.

The loss of important players to injury Friday was especially hard because the game did not impact the standings or have playoff implications.

"It's something you don't want to see, but it's a football game and as much as the media wanted to say it was a meaningless game, to me there is no such thing," Hufnagel said. "We tried to prepare to win.

"When you play good football teams, especially in a difficult situation or stadium that B.C. Place is, you better have an edge. That's one thing I didn't think my team had. We didn't have an edge for whatever reason."

Hufnagel fielded all three quarterbacks Friday with Kevin Glenn starting and Drew Tate and Bo Levi Mitchell rotating in during the game. They combined for 122 passing yards with no touchdown throws and no interceptions.

"My quarterback pecking order has not changed," Hufnagel said Saturday.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 3, 2013 $sourceSection0

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