LIVESTREAM PPV: CFL – Labour Day Classic – Edmonton Eskimos @Calgary Stampeders, Sept. 3, 1p (9p CET)

CALGARY — The Battle of Alberta reignites Monday afternoon in Calgary, where the first-place Stampeders will entertain the second-place Edmonton Eskimos in the annual Labour Day Classic.

The Stampeders are fresh off a statement victory over Winnipeg last week; at 8-1, Calgary could take a stranglehold in the West Division early in the second half of the season, beginning with Monday’s contest.

Edmonton, meanwhile, is coming off a disappointing defeat in Hamilton and at 6-4 runs the risk of falling back into the logjam that is the middle of the West Division standings.

Monday’s game is the start of a massively important home-and-home series between the provincial rivals, and with the sheer number of playmakers on both sides of the football, fans will be in for a treat.

Mike Reilly and the Edmonton Eskimos failed to score a single point in the second half of last Thursday’s 25-24 loss to the Ticats.

Needless to say, that output is unacceptable for a team with goals as ambitious and talent as elite as Edmonton’s — and Reilly is the first person to admit it.

“You’ve gotta take care of business on your side of the ball. We have faith in our defence, but we can make it easier on them by being on the field more than we were last game,” Reilly told “We were’t nearly good enough last week. “Playing against Bo (Levi Mitchell) and his offence, and (Dave) Dickenson gameplans really well…you give them enough opportunities, success happens for them.”

Consistency and discipline have been buzz words around Esks camp since virtually Week 1, with the team constantly battling themselves — Edmonton ranks last in penalties (101) and penalty yards (1,065) — through the first half of the season.

“We’ve had a lot of games where we’ve had stretches of really good football, but also not good football in the same game,” explained Reilly. “Consistency is the key, especially when you play against good teams. (Calgary)’s very disciplined, a team that doesn’t hurt themselves. If you’re going to beat them, you have to play four quarters of football.”

Edmonton receiver Derel Walker ripped off a 104-yard touchdown against the Stamps two years ago, and is hoping to bring another dynamic play to this year’s edition of the Battle of Alberta.

“It’s the intensity of the game, intensity of the week of practice, and going on the bus three hours down the road to play a great opponent,” said Walker. “It’s something that gets you going — if this rivalry doesn’t get you going, you shouldn’t be playing the game.”

The importance of getting back in the win column — especially against the high-flying Stamps — is lost on nobody on the Edmonton side of the matchup.

“It’d be great for us,” said Walker. “I don’t think we’ve won in Calgary in quite some time, and we want to get back to Eskimo football and do what we’ve done in the past, which is winning.”

The Stampeders put out a statement to the rest of the CFL with a downright dominant second-half performance against the Bombers in Week 11: Calgary is still the team to beat, the loss in Regina had been flushed, and Dave Dickenson’s team will make you look foolish at the slightest opportunity.

It’s the killer instinct which has defined the last two-and-a-half seasons in Cowtown — dominant through the regular season and early stages of the playoffs, only to somehow falter at the end.

“This is an important step for us in going in the right direction,” offensive lineman Derek Dennis told “Edmonton’s always an obstacle in the West Division, (and) we know if we go out here and handle business at home, it puts us in a great position to do what we want to do for the year.”

Monday’s trench battle will be its usual vicious contest, but the added hype of Labour Day will make things doubly difficult along the line of scrimmage.

“Labour Day’s always the best time of the year,” continued Dennis. “Games are really ramped up, the rivalries are a little more hectic, the atmosphere’s unmatched. It’s the biggest game of the year, (and you’ve) gotta be mentally prepared to handle the excitement behind it.”

The Stampeders’ elite secondary is excited by the challenge presented by Edmonton’s star-laden receiving group.

“The ball’s going to show up,” said veteran Calgary defensive back Emanuel Davis. “Duke Williams, Walker…they’re well-publicized, (and) I’ve been in the league with Mike Reilly a couple years so I know how he works. Everybody knows the ins and outs of that offence, (so) it’s another chance to prove we belong and we’re the best.”

With their eyes set firmly on the final prize, the Stamps have enough veterans like Davis to know that Labour Day is when the season kicks into high gear.

“When I was in Hamilton, my old defensive coordinator used to always preach (that) the games get magnified around Labour Day,” remembered Davis. “All the games on Labour Day (and) going forward are big games, and we’ve got to get every one of those.”

Calgary will make no changes to the roster which beat Winnipeg in Week 11, but did get some good news on the health front during the week as defensive coordinator DeVone Claybrooks was discharged from the hospital after a health issue related to diabetes.

While it remains unclear when Claybrooks will return to the sideline, he is happy and getting back to good health — a huge plus for him, his unit and the Stamps family as a whole.


By The Numbers:

16.9 – League-low points allowed by Calgary this season. The Stampeders also lead the league in opponent net yards (281) and have the best turnover ratio (plus-13) in the CFL.

25-8- Sack lead for the Stampeders against the Eskimos over the last six Labour Day meetings; Calgary shut out Edmonton in that department in their last two meetings (3-0 in ’17, 4-0 in ’16).

2013 – The last time the Esks held a lead in a Labour Day game, with 1:19 to go in the 2013 edition. Since that year, Calgary has led for 270:39 of the 300 minutes of play — the other 30-odd minutes were tied.

It’s go time in Alberta.

Jason Maas and his Esks team need to right the ship, and this home-and-home set with the league’s standard-bearer will go a long way towards determining what kind of second half Edmonton has.

Calgary, on the other hand, is on the verge of locking up the West Division; two wins — even a split — against the second-place team in the West would maintain the Stamps’ sizeable lead and all but secure them home-field advantage.

– With files from

AFI, Yare Media and the CFL

American Football International is collaborating with Yare Media and the Canadian Football League to present 2018 CFL games live. This is more than a livestream. This is a stream of the top flight TSN network television broadcast.

LIVE STREAM PPV: CFL – Edmonton Eskimos @Calgary Stampeders, Sept. 3, 1p (9p CET)

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