'Tis the season for 'Gades

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 11:30 AM ET

Alouettes 43

Renegades 23

Stick a fork in 'em.

The Renegades are done and so is coach Joe Paopao.

With a chance to extend their playoff hopes into the final week of the season, the Renegades blew it.

Yesterday's 43-23 loss to the Montreal Alouettes at Frank Clair Stadium sealed their fate.

And Paopao's.

Dropping to 6-11 on the season, the loss eliminated the Renegades from playoff contention for the fourth straight season, making next week's home game against the Toronto Argonauts meaningless.

It also makes it impossible for the Renegades to reach eight wins on the season, which would have contractually obligated the club's ownership to either allow Paopao to return next year, or get rid of him with a $200,000 cheque.

But now, owner Bernie Glieberman owes Paopao nothing, which paves the way for John Jenkins, currently the team's director of U.S. scouting, to become the team's next coach.

It's been a tough week for Paopao with news getting out that Jenkins had been patrolling the sidelines recently in another CFL stadium telling people he was "taking over in Ottawa" next season.

"You guys saw what was in the papers this week, and we're not not going to be here denying that, so you can interpret things as it is," said Renegades president Lonie Glieberman.

Paopao had little to say about his future.

"All I can talk about is that we've got a game to play next week against Toronto," he said. "At an appropriate time, my future, I'll talk about it, probably when next week's over with."

The Renegades had a chance to make next week's game meaningful, trailing 22-20 at halftime.

But in the final 30 minutes, the Ottawa offence went into the toilet, getting outscored 21-3 the rest of the way.

"They're always tough, particularly when something's final," said Paopao. "There is no football beyond next week for this club."

The Alouettes struck first in the second half when Anthony Calvillo connected with receiver Dave Stala for a seven-yard touchdown strike and a 29-20 lead.

The Renegades looked like they'd respond with a major of their own.

Starting from their own 25, Ottawa moved into Montreal territory and were 10 yards away from the end zone after Markus Howell sprinted 27 yards on a little end-around play. But on the next play, the Renegades tried a bootleg that the Alouettes read well.

Montreal's Anwar Stewart broke through the offensive line and sacked quarterback Kerry Joseph for a seven-yard loss.

Joseph then threw an incomplete pass into the end zone, and the Renegades had to settle for a 24-yard field goal by Matt Kellett.

The Alouettes got a 19-yard-field goal from Damon Duval on their next possession, but the score came after controversy.

The Renegades thought they had recovered a fumble by Stala deep in Ottawa territory, but officials huddled and ruled an incomplete pass. Paopao believes it was a fumble.

'DIDN'T SEE IT'

"The guy who called it said he didn't see it, that the sun was in his eyes," he said.

But it really didn't matter.

Jason Armstead returned the kickoff to near midfield, but a holding penalty during the return against Jason Kralt brought the ball back to the Ottawa 27.

The Renegades then went two-and-out, and the Alouettes got good field position after a good punt return by C.J. Jones brought it to their own 50.

Six plays later, the Alouettes were in the end zone again with Ben Cahoon catching a 20-yard pass from Calvillo.

The Renegades turned the ball over on downs on their next two possessions, and their season was finished.

"We had an opportunity to go out there and produce, and we didn't do that," said Armstead.

"We can't look at the coaches, or at the other team beating us. We beat ourselves all year long."

BARRE.CAMPBELL@OTT.SUNPUB.COM


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