Argos vs. Als again

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:43 AM ET

MONTREAL -- Here we go again.

The Argos and Montreal Alouettes will battle it out in the CFL East final for the fourth consecutive year, albeit this time in Toronto.

The Als provided the latest renewal by beating the Saskatchewan Roughriders 30-14 yesterday in the East semi-final at Olympic Stadium.

The Als jumped out to a 24-0 halftime lead, then hung on despite a valiant effort by the Roughriders.

A West division team which has crossed over for the playoffs has yet to win in four tries since the format was introduced in 1997.

The Argos watched the game together in their dressing room. They had a first-round bye after finishing first in the East division.

PREPARATIONS

"To me, it is not that important who we are going to play," Argos quarterback Damon Allen said. "We have been focused on what is going on with our team and on our preparations. Now we know who our opponent is and I'm looking forward to seeing Montreal in our house."

Als quarterback Anthony Calvillo had a big game yesterday, with three touchdown passes among his 22 completions in 31 attempts for 314 yards.

"We were able to create a game plan and execute it," he said. "We were able to move the ball down the field. But we have to do a better job in the second half. Overall it was pretty consistent in the first half -- offence, defence, special teams. That's something that you look for."

The Als defence, which underwent a makeover in personnel, thoroughly dominated the Roughriders, who committed six turnovers, including three by quarterback Marcus Crandell.

"Our team was very opportunistic defensively and we maybe got lucky a couple times," Als head coach Don Matthews said. "We did get a nice, sizable lead at halftime and then we played a zone that made them play in front of us."

Roughriders general manager Roy Shivers offered a simple summation of what happened to his team.

"No excuses we played horrible in the first half," Shivers said. "Defensively, we looked like we were lost ... We stepped back in the first half, plain and simple. We didn't play worth a crap in the first half."

Roughriders defensive tackle Scott Schultz offered an interesting perspective on the game as it related to the Roughriders' season, which included winning and losing streaks, quarterback controversies and the highly-publicized incident with linebacker Trevis Smith, who was charged with aggravated sexual assault.

"Our whole season has been plains, trains and automobiles," he said. "It has been a schmozzle for most of the season, but we've been able to overcome it, until now."

Corey Holmes, the Roughriders' versatile offensive player and the West division most outstanding player finalist, said his team simply came up short.

"It's real heartbreaking right now, but we've got to regroup in the off-season and just put this behind us," he said.


Videos

Photos