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article imageCFL: Montréal wins rematch against Riders, loses Calvillo Special

By Joseph DeClara     Aug 7, 2010 in Sports
Montreal - Montréal gets off to a strong start then holds off Darian Durant and the Roughriders in the second half to preserve a 30-26 victory.
The atmosphere was different at Molson Stadium Friday night. There were green flags, green shirts and even people with their whole heads painted green in the crowd. As the Saskatchewan Roughriders stormed onto the field they were met with a chorus of boos. Not from the faithful who went far out of their way to show their support for the Green Machine but by the home crowd who went far out of their way to let everyone know whose house it was. The home team responded.
In the first two plays of the game, Anthony Calvillo went two for two in passing with 89 yards with a touchdown toss to Kerry Watkins. As expected the vociferous crowd expressed their satisfaction. Two plays later on a shovel pass attempt, Darian Durant was intercepted by Chip Cox, his first of two on the night, setting up a Montreal field goal, and a 10-0 lead less than six minutes into the game. Cox went on to add eight tackles and a deflection to his two interceptions.
While the crowd may have given a boost to the Alouettes, the Roughriders proved they are not a team to be underestimated as they replied with a 20-yard pass to Weston Dressler to make it 10-7. After trading punts, Calvillo lead the Als 93 yards and threw his second touchdown of the game to Jamel Richardson, an 8-yard strike.
Saskatchewan looked good driving back down the field until Rider wide receiver, Wes Cates, took an unnecessary roughness penalty, pushing the Riders back to the Montréal 35-yard line on third down. The 43 yard field goal attempt was sent wide, which may not have been such a terrible thing for the Riders except that Tim Maypray returned the ball 118 yards for a touchdown, and a 24-7 Alouette lead. Saskatchewan made it 24-10 before half time.
In the first half the Montréal offense took charge, in the second half it was the Montréal defense that preserved the win, but not without making it close first. Neither defense gave up a touchdown in the 3rd but early in the 4th Durant hit Cates on a 6-yard pass to bring the Riders within four. Damon Duval punted a single and Luca Congi kicked his fourth field goal of the game cutting the Als lead to just two with less than seven minutes remaining. A quick two and out for the Als gave the ball back to the Riders but on the Riders second play of the ensuing drive, Cox made his second interception of the game. Another two and out by the Als and Saskatchewan had the ball again, this time on their own five-yard line.
Once again the Montréal defense showed that they may give up yards sometimes, 499 in this game, but they also make the big play when they need to. J.P. Bekasiak, with Jermaine Mcelveen close behind, chased Durant down in the end zone for a safety, giving the Als a four point lead. An intestinal ailment that Durant has been suffering may have helped slow the quarterback down on the safety.
While Durant was hard on himself after the game, Montréal head coach Marc Trestman was impressed with his effort. “He took a number of vicious hits, he was able to escape on a number of occasions and in both cases was able to pinpoint his passes when he had a chance to throw the ball. I think we saw something really special out of him tonight. He’s proven he’s a force to be reckoned with in this league.” He may be a force the Alouettes need to reckon with late in November.
The Als had the chance to end the game right there with a couple first downs, but with Calvillo hurt with a dislocated index finger on the previous drive, Chris Leak and Avon Cobourne were unable to get the ball moving, and another two and out gave the Riders another chance with less than two minutes to play. Durant made it close, driving the ball down the field, but Étienne Boulay managed to swat a final Hail Mary out of the air to preserve the win.
It’s been said more than once this season that the Montréal defense will bend but not break, but it is the Montréal offense that may be worrying fans. Cobourne had a rare off night, running for 34 yards on seven carries and catching only one pass for seven yards. The offense managed only four points in the second half with only one first down and six two and outs.
Regarding the offense in the second half Calvillo said, “It was ugly, it was tremendously ugly.” He also said that a finger on his throwing hand had been dislocated but put back in place and that they would be going to the hospital for x-rays to ensure it’s not broken. Vincent Lacroix, the team doctor, told Trestman that he was optimistic the injury is not serious.
Next week the 5-1 Als travel to Toronto to take on the Argonauts. These two teams met last week with Montréal coming out on top 41-10.
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