Argonauts riding high

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:00 AM ET

There's nothing like a win to make all well in Argoland.

After losing last Friday in Saskatchewan -- and causing head coach Pinball Clemons to remark that all was not well in Argoland -- the team from Toronto found its winning way again.

The Argos beat the Ottawa Renegades 29-18 last night in front of an announced crowd of 24,886 at the Rogers Centre.

The Argos improved to 8-5 and reclaimed their four-point, first-place lead over the Montreal Alouettes, who have one game in hand. The Als play in Calgary on Saturday.

The Renegades, who have lost six games in a row and are all but mathematically eliminated, dropped to 5-9.

"This is a game that was crucial to the playoff race and we wanted to be able to extend our lead," Clemons said. "We took a couple weeks longer than we wanted to get to the eight-game win mark based on where we were going into Labour Day."

Receiver Arland Bruce, who led the Argos with two touchdown catches from quarterback Damon Allen, called the victory huge.

"It has been tough for us to get started, but we always find a way to win and that's big for us at home," Bruce said.

In the second quarter, Bruce completed a pass on an option play to fellow receiver Michael Palmer on a play that was put in specifically for the Ottawa game. The play began with a handoff from quarterback Damon Allen, who then handed off the ball to tailback John Avery. Avery then pitched the ball to Bruce, who ran with the ball and, with a defender trying to tackle him, threw to Palmer for a 31-yard gain.

"It was set up for the reverse, but I saw Palmer wide open and I got it to him," Bruce said.

The Argos scored the go-ahead touchdown late in the second quarter on a one-yard run by fullback Sean Millington, who had his most productive effort since ending a 2 1/2-year retirement and joining the Argos before their Labour Day game against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

The touchdown came off a turnover caused by defensive end Riall Johnson, who dislodged the ball from Ottawa quarterback Kerry Joseph.

"He was holding the ball kind of loose, so I was bring him in and put my hand on the ball," Johnson said. "That's what you're taught to do."

The defence had a huge game, limiting the Renegades to 14 first downs, four of which came on the first series, which ended with a field goal.

"The first series is always a feeling-out process, where you're feeling them out, seeing what they're trying to do," Eiben said. "Then we get comfortable in the game and we stop them."

Kicker Noel Prefontaine added a field goal and two converts.

The Argos also scored two points on a a safety when the defence pinned Ottawa deep.

It followed a series in which the Argos tried a trick play on third down, faking a field goal from the 15-yard line and electing to have Prefontaine pass to versatile lineman Jeff Keeping, who played tight end at the University of Western Ontario. But Prefontaine put a little too much zip on the ball and fired the pass out of bounds.


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