Als and Esks familiar foes

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:50 AM ET

VANCOUVER -- The Montreal Alouettes and Edmonton Eskimos are ready to renew their Grey Cup rivalry.

The two teams have played each other in the championship game of the Canadian Football League two of the past three years with one victory apiece. The latest game takes place tonight at B.C. Place.

Edmonton won the most-recent clash in 2003, which was preceded the previous year by a Montreal win.

"Seeing them for the third time in the past four years tells you something about each organization," Edmonton linebacker Signor Mobley said. "They're a very tough team to play against. We know them very well. They know us very well. I would definitely say they're one of our rivals especially because when we're playing them, it always seems it's in the games that count.

"They're a very solid unit. They play good football all year long and they deserve to be here. To face them, it's good because we can decide that tiebreaker."

There are common threads for both teams. Edmonton's Danny Maciocia began his head coaching apprenticeship in the '90s with the Als, while Montreal head coach Don Matthews started out with Edmonton in 1977, losing the Cup to Montreal. Edmonton won the next two.

"They had three Grey Cups in a row against each other and it seems like we're bringing that back up with three out of four times," Mobley said. "I think it is a rubber match. Of course, we just want to win. It really doesn't matter who is the opponent. We want to go out there and win. But it's Montreal and the two clubs have a lot of history together."

And that's something Als quarterback Anthony Calvillo touched upon.

"You look back in the '70s and (the two teams) were matched up year in and year out and right now it seems to be working out that way again," Calvillo said. "I'm glad to be in it and I'm sure they are. We want to get this victory and go home with the Grey Cup. The fact we lost our last one and it was against Edmonton was very disappointing, but they have a few different guys on their football team and we have a few different guys on our football team. The most gratifying thing will be walking away with a victory and that's what we're going to try to do."

Both teams have won their past two games, the Als doing it on the road against Toronto last Sunday in the East final after beating the Saskatchewan Roughriders the week before in Montreal. Edmonton has beaten Calgary and B.C., respectively.

"If we can execute we'll be fine. If we don't it doesn't matter what we do," Maciocia said. "We need to be sharp, and you're only going to have 60-65 snaps during the course of a football game, so I told the guys, 'Play ever single one as if it's your last one.' "

Matthews said the battle along the lines could decide the game.

"They play a lot of man-to-man coverage with a very hard rush by the people up front," he said. "We're not capable of playing that way but they are and they're good at it, so certainly we need to protect our quarterback. Defensively, we've just got to make the plays necessary."


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