Clinched!

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:06 AM ET

Ain't that a kick!

Brian Diesbourg, a 25-year-old mechanical engineer from Belle River, booted a 50-yard field goal to collect a cool $1 million as part of a contest during halftime of the Argos' game against Hamilton last night at the Rogers Centre.

And the Argos put the boots to the Tiger-Cats, winning 34-11 to clinch first place in the East Division.

In front of a jazzed crowd of 40,085, the largest gathering for an Argos game since Oct. 28, 1990, the Argos simply did just about everything right to improve to 11-6 on the season. They are four points ahead of Montreal and have clinched the season series with the Als.

Hamilton dropped to 4-13.

"Mission accomplished," head coach Pinball Clemons said of the Argos clinching first, one of three goals the team set out for itself at the start of the season. The other two are winning the division final and the Grey Cup.

"I can't tell you how extremely proud I am of the players and coaches -- as a matter of fact the whole organization," Clemons added. "You talk about things and you try to instill the killer instinct. As Ben Franklin said, 'Well done is better than well said.' Ultimately you want them to answer the call is what you're trying to do. As an organization we accomplished that."

"That was the road we had to take," quarterback Damon Allen said. "We don't like to do anything easy. We've had to work for everything we've had this year."

Defensive back Kenny Wheaton, who made a great play to break up a touchdown, said it was an uphill battle to win the East.

"We really worked hard and came together as a team lately in all three phases and it showed," Wheaton said.

The Argos close out the season in eight days in Ottawa against the Renegades then return home to prepare for the division final Nov. 20 at the Rogers Centre.

Allen eclipsed the 5,000 mark in passing yards on the season last night for the first time in his career and moved ahead of the 69,000 mark in his 21-year career.

He was relieved in the fourth quarter last night by backup Michael Bishop, who tossed a touchdown pass on his second throw, connecting with receiver Tony Miles on a 26-yard play.

Some other highlights:

- Running back Jeff Johnson, starting for the first time since he joined the Argos in 2002, caught two touchdown passes among his eight catches for 157 yards. He also had six rushes for 40 yards.

- Receiver Robert Baker exceeded the 1,000 mark in receiving yards for the second consecutive year. He joined Derrell (Mookie) Mitchell as the only players in team history to record 1,000-yard seasons in their first two years.

- The defence stopped three third-down gambles by the Ticats, including two inside the five-yard line, and physically laid a pounding on rookie QB Kevin Eakin. But the plucky pivot connected on a 22-yard touchdown pass to Kamau Peterson with 2:02 to go in the game.

- The special teams played solidly, aside from allowing a 93-yard runback on a kickoff return by Craig Yeast. And yet the play may have gone all the way for a touchdown if not for the hustle by Argo cornerback Jordan Younger.

Hamilton scored four of its points on two safeties, one deliberately given up by the Argos on a punt, the other on a run stopped inside the Argos' end zone.


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