Als are D-stroyed

FRANK ZICARELLI -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:08 AM ET

Au revoir Alouettes, hello Lions.

The Argos are on their way to the Grey Cup after a masterful display against the high-powered and heavily favoured Alouettes here in Montreal last night.

In a stunning turn of events played out in front of 51,296 disillusioned fans at Olympic Stadium, the Argos knocked out Anthony Calvillo, made mincemeat of backup quarterback Ted White and used a stifling defence to power their way to a 26-18 win.

The Argos will play the B.C. Lions in the Grey Cup in Ottawa on Sunday. The teams met in the 1983 final with the Argos prevailing.

Both teams play under a dome, but the Lions have the edge because of a balanced offence and two proven quarterbacks. The teams split their season series with each winning at home.

Last night, though, the Argos emerged as the superior team against an Als side that beat up on Toronto in the past two Eastern finals, both of which were played at the Big O.

Damon Allen managed an offence operating under a brilliant game plan by coach Pinball Clemons and co-ordinator Kent Austin, while Arland Bruce shone the brightest whenever he touched the ball. He produced touchdowns on a 97-yard kickoff return and a reception.

Toronto's defence was near flawless. Calvillo's quick throws moved the sticks, but generated few points.

When Eric England knocked Calvillo out with a shoulder injury to his throwing arm on the second play of the second half, the tide turned and it was good night with White in control of Montreal's vaunted attack.

"All I've been hearing is how our offence can't produce," Clemons said. "What we've asked is for Damon to manage the game. If people want to call it winning ugly, I'll take one more ugly win."

Clemons appeared in three Grey Cups as a player -- winning each time -- but will make his championship debut as a coach. He matched wits with Don Matthews and will now have to coach against another CFL legend in B.C.'s Wally Buono, whose team needed overtime to beat Saskatchewan 27-25 yesterday in the Western final in Vancouver.

SAVOUR MOMENT

"I'm already thinking to next week," Clemons said. "My thought process is already shifting but I want our players to savour this moment."

And what a moment for the Argos, who were given no shot at upsetting the big-shot Als.

In all three phases, the Argos were efficient. They forced turnovers, won the battle of field position and were absolutely brilliant in running an offence that got the football to the team's playmakers in open space.

Incredibly, high-priced running John Avery was used mainly as a blocking back, though he did break loose for a touchdown run that proved to be the winning margin.

"He did an incredible job and really showed how unselfish he is," veteran offensive lineman Jude St. John said. "He stood in there and battled.

"John exemplified the team spirit we have and we're now going to the Cup."


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