Argos wiggle past 'Cats

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:28 AM ET

The Argos have won the right to play host to the first -- and what will surely be the only -- Wiggles Bowl.

With their 38-31 victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats last night at the SkyDome, the Argos clinched second place in the CFL Eastern Division with a 10-6-1 record.

That means the Argos will play host to the Tiger-Cats, who dropped to 8-8-1 but had already wrapped up at least a third place finish in the East, in a division semi-final game on Nov. 5 at the SkyDome.

"Our first goal was to make the playoffs and our second goal was to host a playoff game," Argos coach Pinball Clemons said. "We've accomplished part two of our goal and (there's) a couple more to go."

The semi-final game would have been played on Nov. 7, but the SkyDome is already booked for a children's show by the Australian act The Wiggles.

Before the announced crowd of 30,369 had a chance to sit down last night, Toronto return specialist Bashir Levingston took the opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown.

"I think some guys on our kickoff team might have taken the play off," Hamilton coach Greg Marshall said. "You can't take a play off when Levingston is returning the ball. He made us pay."

In between Levingston's two touchdown returns, the Argos scored a touchdown on a one-yard run by quarterback Damon Allen and a touchdown by defensive back Clifford Ivory on an 18-yard interception. That made it 28-0 before Hamilton interrupted the scoring streak with a 15-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Danny McManus to slotback Craig Yeast on the final play of the first quarter. The two clicked on two other plays for touchdowns.

Hamilton battled right until the end scoring 17 second-half points, including a touchdown with 37 seconds to go.

"I'm proud of the guys. We fought for 60 minutes and came back after giving up (28 points)," Hamilton quarterback Danny McManus said.

"It's something that if it's a playoff game we can't do. It was a dogfight out there and it was a lot of fun to be a part of. It's just discouraging to get the loss."

Dual-purpose kicker Noel Prefontaine suffered a hip pointer in his plant leg on the kickoff after Toronto's second touchdown and could barely walk afterward. He tried to kick a 44-yard field goal in the second quarter but missed it badly and did not return to play afterward.

"I think it's serious," he said. "I've never come out of a game because of an injury and I've been injured before," he said.

Backup safety Chris Hardy handled the kicking and punting. He nailed three field goals, including a 40-yarder.

Prefontaine may be forced to miss the regular-season finale on Thursday at home against the Montreal Alouettes, who have clinched first in the East.

The Argos defence registered five turnovers and held Hamilton's strong running game in check.

Argos running back John Avery eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark for only the second time this season -- coincidentally both against Hamilton.

Allen hit on only 12 of 20 passes in his first start since suffering a leg injury on Aug. 12 and said he never got into a groove.


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