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Shologan looks to cap big week with win over Stampeders

OTTAWA - With a one-year contract extension in hand and a baby boy on the way, Keith Shologan hopes he can cap off his big week with a win over the Calgary Stampeders on Sunday.

The Ottawa Redblacks defensive lineman signed the new contract Friday, and earlier this week he and his wife, Anna, learned the gender of their baby who is expected to arrive in January. Shologan also has a one-year-old son, William.

The 28-year-old native of Rochester, Alta., has quickly become a fan favourite with his performance on the field and his outgoing personality within the community.

Shologan has started in all seven Redblacks games this season and has registered nine defensive tackles.

"I'm excited to be back in Ottawa with the Redblacks at least one more year," said Shologan. "I want to be a part of something and grow something special here. They have a ton of good pieces of the puzzle in the locker-room, and the coaching staff and the management and I want to be a part of that. I'm excited to be here."

Shologan said he believes the team is headed in the right direction, despite its 1-6 record, and said he's looking forward to taking on more leadership role and playing a role in the franchise's development.

"We're building a foundation," he said. "Once we build that strong foundation then things will start coming and I'm hoping the rest of the season that we're in an upward spiral and we have an arrow pointing up and that's what I'm focused on."

Despite the team's recent struggles Shologan said there were a number of factors that enticed him to remain with the Redblacks.

"You've got a head coach that lets his co-ordinators coach and that's a big thing," Shologan said. "You've got a 'D' co-ordinator and defensive line coach that I enjoy being around and they know their football.

"Just being around the city, I was surprised by how great the fan base is here, because you never know and it's unbelievable and we've been welcomed in the community and I want to be a part of that."

Shologan is hoping to reward the fan base with a win this weekend, but knows it won't be easy as they face the Stampeders — the West Division co-leaders who boast an impressive 6-1 record.

The last time the two teams met the Redblacks suffered a 38-17 loss, and that was without Jon Cornish in Calgary's lineup.

Cornish, the CFL's most valuable player and leading rusher last season, has been out with concussion symptoms since the first game of the season, but is expected to return for Sunday's game.

"Jon's a good back, but it all starts with their offensive line," said Shologan. "We need to shut down their offensive line and their run game."

Cornish will be a significant addition for the Stampeders, but the Redblacks are also looking forward to seeing defensive back Jovon Johnson return to the lineup after missing the last three games with a bicep injury.

"It seems like it's been a long time since I last played a game," said Johnson with a laugh. "I'm excited and looking forward to the opportunity to get back."

Johnson's return will give Ottawa a veteran presence.

"Hopefully I can get out there and bring that experience factor and help the young guys that are out there," Johnson said. "In this league the only way to put wins together is to be consistent on a week-to-week basis. We know a simple mistake can cost you a game and hopefully we can minimize those and continue to get better."

Last week the Redblacks suffered a heartbreaking 10-8 loss to the Edmonton Eskimos after failing to convert on their opportunities. They know that to have any hope for success against Calgary they will need to be at their best.

It was a difficult game for receivers last week with several dropped passes, but quarterback Henry Burris says everyone will make mistakes and what counts is learning from them.

"We did some good things in that past game and we continue to build off those good things, but the bigger picture is being consistent in doing those things," Burris said. "We're going to have opportunities to make plays (against Calgary), but we have to make those plays on a consistent basis, stay on the field, keep the chains moving and score some touchdowns when we get the ball close to the end zone."

Burris admitted losing is starting to take a toll and that he's physically losing sleep thinking about the Redblacks record, but he has faith that this team can turn things around.

"I believe in my guys and I know that compared to the plays they won't make, they're going to make a heck of a lot more plays to bail me out on a bad throw or get open and make a play as far as in a big situation," Burris said. "I know those plays are going to be made and that's the only way I can think when I have my guys out there. We're going to have some chances against some very good players coming up here against Calgary and I know my guys are going to do what they can to make big plays."

Notes: WR Khalil Paden is expected to get an opportunity to play Sunday as WR Carlton Mitchell is sidelined with a minor injury. Dobson Collins is also expected to be back in the lineup. The Redblacks are anticipating their fourth consecutive sellout.

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