Ancient Allen awesome

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:01 AM ET

MONTREAL -- On the eve of his 42nd birthday, the oldest player in the Canadian Football League propelled the Argos to the Eastern penthouse.

The remarkable Damon Allen threw four touchdown passes as the Argos (3-2) vaulted to first in the CFL East with a huge 36-24 win over the Montreal Alouettes (2-3) before a sellout crowd of 20,202 at Molson Stadium last night.

"(All the talk about age) really doesn't make sense," Allen said after he and once-struggling running back John Avery played big roles in Toronto's first win at Molson Stadium since 2000.

"(It's mentioned) every week. Once the whole country knows already, just really talk about my play. When I look at all the other great players like Gretzky, you guys don't say their age. You just say Wayne Gretzky or Mario Lemieux. For me, I don't know why I'm always reminded. I know I'm (42 today) and I know I have a grandson but it really just takes away from my play. If you're amazed, just say you're amazed."

Allen, who threw for 320 yards and is on pace to throw for 5,000 for the first time in his career, found Robert Baker over the middle for a 55-yard catch-and-run touchdown with 1:04 left, putting the Argos up 36-24 and ending the Als' comeback hopes. The CFL actually sent out an e-mail yesterday congratulating Allen on turning 42 and noting he's the oldest player in the league.

When asked if Allen will ever get old, Argos coach Pinball Clemons said, "Yes, in about 50 years.

DON'T MENTION IT

"Please don't mention it. He just wants to be our starting quarterback and keep playing football ... I'm sure (the CFL meant well with the e-mail), but that's not what he wants to be known as (the oldest player). If he keeps playing like this, we might send out another e-mail saying he's the best."

Avery, who was left at home for the Argos' previous game in Vancouver against the B.C. Lions, made a pivotal catch in the fourth quarter. With Allen under pressure, he rolled to his right and found Avery in the back corner of the end zone for a 13-yard major.

Avery, who even threw a 15-yard pass to Andre Talbot, rushed with zeal and had 28 yards on seven carries and 51 yards on four receptions.

"If I get the ball in my hands, I can answer all the questions," Avery said. "I can't answer if I'm not playing ... Mentally, I'm really proud of myself."

Tony Miles and Byron Parker, a defensive back making his CFL debut, caught the other touchdown passes for the Argos, while Eric Lapointe and quarterback Anthony Calvillo rushed for touchdowns for the Als.

The Als are under .500 for the first time since starting 0-3 in 1996 and are not on top in the East for the first time under fourth-year coach Don Matthews' watch.

The Argos, meanwhile, have some much-needed momentum halfway through their crazy week.

They chartered home last night and will practice today to prepare for a game against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Monday afternoon at the Rogers Centre.

"We got the victory, that's the main thing," Parker said. "We're No. 1 in the East and we can move forward from here."


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