End of the first half

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:01 AM ET

At the halfway point of the season, the Argos are feeling good about what they have done, but looking to do better.

Following their 25-16 win over the Calgary Stampeders on Wednesday at the Rogers Centre, the Argos have a 6-3 record, the same mark as a year ago after nine games.

Head coach Pinball Clemons said after the Calgary win that more good things than bad have transpired in the first half.

"We are further along than we were a year ago, but now we're not in that position where we're sort of hiding under the radar," he said. "As defending (Grey Cup) champions, we've got to learn how to play on top. Now is the challenge of going into the second half and playing more Eastern Division teams and being able to maintain that momentum and play on top; to learn how to protect our home field and give teams the feelings they can't win games when they come into our house.

"It's a new challenge -- a different challenge than a year ago -- and over the course of the first half I say we're a solid 6-3. Certainly we pulled a game or two out and a game or two we had a chance to win. We've been in every football game and I don't think you can ask for too much more than that."

Defensive lineman Eric England described the Argos as a bunch of "blue-collar workers" who are finally putting in some good work as a collective whole.

"We're coming together at the right time, but we haven't peaked yet," he said. "There's still a lot of things we can do to get better as a team. Right now we're on the right track and it's not time to get cocky or anything, but it's time to really work hard and perfect our craft."

Quarterback Damon Allen said the Argos are pleased about where they want to be at this juncture, starting the second half of the season in first place in the East.

Allen is healthy compared to a year ago at this juncture, when a fractured tibia sidelined him more than seven weeks. He is on pace to throw for more than 5,000 yards for the first time in his 21-year career.

"They're letting me throw the football. That's all," Allen said.

He is more concerned about the team than personal glory.

"If I'm able to stay healthy the rest of the year and put our team in a situation where we can play for the championship once again, obviously this is the season that we want," he said. "It's all about the championships. Our goal this year was to host the Eastern final and everything is right in front of us right now."

The Argos, who played two games in five days beginning with last Friday in Edmonton, don't play again until Labour Day when they travel to Hamilton to play the Tiger-Cats in the first of a home-and-home series that ends the following Saturday at the Rogers Centre. The Argos are 3-2 at home.

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NINE DOWN, NINE TO GO

The results of the Argos' first nine regular-season games this year, and their remaining schedule:

DATE OPP. RESULT

June 25 vs. B.C. L 20-27

July 1 @ Cgy. W 22-16

July 9 vs. Ssk. W 27-26

July 15 @ B.C. L 22-30

July 28 @ Mtl. W 36-24

Aug. 1 vs. Wpg. W 34-27

Aug. 12 vs. Mtl. L 10-18

Aug. 20 @ Edm. W 22-18

Aug. 24 vs. Cgy. W 25-16

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DATE OPP. TIME

Sept. 5 @ Ham. 5:45 p.m.

Sept. 10 vs. Ham. 3 p.m.

Sept. 23 @ Ssk. 9 p.m.

Sept. 28 vs. Ott. 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 10 vs. Edm. 1 p.m.

Oct. 16 @ Wpg. 4 p.m.

Oct. 22 @ Mtl. 3 p.m.

Oct. 27 vs. Ham. 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 5 @ Ott. 3 p.m.


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