TORONTO – Destination Hamilton and the Gray Cup final for the Alouettes! Powered by its defensive unit, which managed a total of eight turnovers, the Montreal club defeated the mighty Argonauts, 38-17, Saturday in Toronto in the Eastern final.
The Alouettes defense, ably led by coordinator Noel Thorpe, caused four turnovers in the first half and just as many in the second.
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“I’m so proud of these guys,” Thorpe commented at the end of the meeting. It was an incredible effort, they stayed together the whole game, they were physical and the execution was at a high level.”
Quebec’s Marc-Antoine Dequoy struck first as the Argonauts threatened from their opening offensive sequence. The Marauder then intercepted the ball at the nine-yard line to go down the oval 101 yards for a touchdown.
“I watched certain plays during the week,” agreed Dequoy, explaining this important interception. And honestly, I couldn’t be more proud than I am right now.”
If Dequoy’s middle finger was to set the tone for the game, it was another interception returned for a touchdown by Kabion Ento in the third quarter that should have dealt the Argos a heavy blow. The Alouettes then took a 24-3 lead against the defending Gray Cup champions and holders of a 16-2 record during the recent regular season.
Greed of the Argonauts?
On two occasions during the first half, the Alouettes spectacularly stopped the opposing offense with a third and a yard to go. Drowning in goal-gate greed, Toronto could have wisely opted for a short three-pointer in one of the situations.
Also in the first half, lineman Shawn Lemon forced a fumble against running back Chad Kelly as Darnell Sankey recovered the ball for a touchdown. After another turnover early in the third quarter, a Reggie Stubblefield interception, the Alouettes finally scored a touchdown. Tyler Snead caught a pass from Cody Fajardo and scored the go-ahead goal.
A costly penalty
Moments earlier, after David Côté’s field goal attempt, the Argonauts received a costly roughing penalty after contact with the Alouettes’ long throw specialist. This would lead to regaining possession in a favorable position for Montreal. The sixth of the Alouettes’ seven turnovers was an interception by Sankey, also in the third quarter.
- The Alouettes will be participating in the Gray Cup Finals for the first time since 2010. That year, the Montreal team won its second consecutive title after the one in 2009, after defeating the Saskatchewan Roughriders each time in the final game. It was in the era of running back Anthony Calville, now the team’s offensive coordinator.
- With his 101-yard game, Marc-Antoine Dequoy moved closer to the Canadian Football League playoff record for longest interception return for a kickoff held by Kenny Wheaton. This brand was founded by former Argonauts in 2004.