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Jon Cornish put together an historic season carrying the mail for Calgary; setting a single season rushing record for Canadian tailbacks and likely garnering serious consideration for the Most Outstanding Player award. Drew Tate is out for the season with a fractured forearm but veteran Kevin Glenn played well when Tate was injured for the better part of the regular season.
Travis Lulay was named the team's nominee for Most Outstanding Player this season, but would anybody have argued if Andrew Harris got the nod? Both players were terrific for the Lions, with Lulay finishing near the top of all major statistical categories for QBs, while Harris set the single-season record for yards from scrimmage by a Canadian.
The Stampeders defence has been one of the league's top units all season long. The group is led by Charleston Hughes, who finished second in the league in sacks, establishing himself among the best defensive linemen in the CFL, and Keon Raymond, who finished tied for second in interceptions, once again proving he's a top DBs.
JC Sherritt's record-breaking season in Edmonton overshadowed another terrific season out West, Adam Bighill's breakout campaign for the Lions. Bighill was second in the league in tackles and took home four Defensive Player of the Week awards. He heads the league-leading unit alongside another near-certain all-star in DE Keron Williams.
Rene Paredes, rather quietly, has put together one of the most impressive seasons by a kicker in CFL history. Parades connected on 37 of 40 field goal attempts, good for a success rate of 92.5%, less than 2% off Paul McCallum's single season record of 94.3% set a year ago with the BC Lions.
It's hard to fault K Paul McCallum for a drop-off in production from his record-setting season a year ago; the 42-year-old was solid connecting on 44 of 52 field goal attempts. Return man Tim Brown finished second only to Chad Owens in combined return yards on the season.
With Drew Tate sidelined, having veteran Kevin Glenn waiting in the wings softens the blow. When Tate was hurt in the regular season, he guided the Stampeders to a 9-5 record.
If Cornish can carry over his stellar regular season play into the Western Final, that arguably gives Calgary an advantage over every other team.
In close games, a kicker's importance is even greater. The Stamps shouldn't be afraid to use Parades, one of the most accurate kickers in the league.
The Lions receiving corps suffered a number of injuries throughout the regular season. BC will need veterans like Geroy Simon and Arland Bruce to be on their games in the playoffs.
The defence, without Solomon Elimimian for a large part of the season, was the top-ranked unit in points against. If Elimimian can have a big impact alongside Bighill, they'll be even more formidable.
McCallum has proven he's a terrific kicker, but his punting average wasn't sparkling this season. Field position could be a key.
The Big Man opened the playoffs going 2-0, correctly predicting the Argos and Stampeders semi-finals wins.
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