Jordan Herdman (53) of the Calgary Stampeders before the game against the Edmonton Eskimos at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, BC on Thursday, August 9, 2018. (Photo: Johany Jutras / CFL)

Jordan Herdman has been waiting for this moment. Despite leaving Simon Fraser as the most productive defensive player in school history, the second-year linebacker/special teams ace never got to experience a game with implications like this. Far from it, actually. After enduring a pair of winless seasons with the Clan following a two-year span where they were only victorious on five occasions, he has a chance to help the BC Lions (8-7-0) punch their ticket to the CFL post-season with a victory over the equally hungry Edmonton Eskimos (8-8-0) on Friday night.

“We played some big games against Division I teams like Idaho State and the Senior Bowl was pretty huge,” recalls Herdman.

“This is a very exciting time right now. We just have to go out and compete, play our game and we’ll be fine.”

Vintage Herdman right there. He won’t overplay the stakes because deep down, he and his teammates know there could be even bigger games to come. First, they must officially lock up their spot in the November dance. Like the classic cliche goes, one game at a time.

“That’s true, really all we can focus on right now is Eskimos,” adds Herdman.

“We’re not wrapped up in what is going on next week and how it’s going to play out. We have to approach it that way until the end; just keep winning and the rest will take care of itself.”

A knee injury to Micah Awe means Herdman is expected to carry the torch at middle linebacker. Coincidentally, it was Herdman that was also called into action when Solomon Elimimian fractured his wrist way back in week five. Given his previously increased role, he won’t be the least bit fazed with the stakes higher than they’ve been all season.

“This is another spot where I’ve been given the opportunity to perform in the middle so, like last time, I’m going to approach it the way I always have,” he said.

“You try to approach it like it’s just another game, even if it has a little more meaning to it. I’m ready to go.”

Facing an offence led by Mike Reilly should be all the motivation Herdman and this rejuvenated defence needs. Reilenjoyingnoying another MVP-like season and as long as the Eskimos have him behind centre, you cannot count them out of this crazy West Division race. Despite dealing with the flu, he engineered a big second half and finished with 369 yards in their 34-16 win over Ottawa last week.

“He does a lot of good things well. We just have to try to limit what he can do, get after him and make him uncomfortable out there,” explains Herdman.

“We’re going to fly around, let our defence go crazy. It’s about having fun and playing fast and physical football.”

You can hear it in his voice. He’s ready to play some more meaningful games.