Playtime is over

TERRY KOSHAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:02 AM ET

HAMILTON -- Decisions, Bart Andrus has a few.

The Argonauts head coach will spend the day watching and rewinding video of last night's pre-season finale against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, a 27-17 Argos victory, their first of any kind since winning in Steeltown on Labour Day last year.

As he dissects his roster, Andrus has to decide which of Justin Medlock and Eddie Johnson will handle his kicking duties, and he has to come up with a returner before the Argos return to Ivor Wynne Stadium on Canada Day for the 2009 regular-season opener.

Jerome Mathis, who was hampered by a hamstring problem through much of camp, appeared to sprain his left ankle. Mathis had been signed to replace Dominique Dorsey.

"It really is a major concern of mine right now that we find the right guy to return for us," said Andrus, who must pare the roster by tomorrow afternoon. "I'm not sure what is going to happen there. We'll see where it goes."

Matt Black returned punts after Mathis went down, while Dovonte Edwards, Tyler Ebell and Kenny O'Neal fielded kickoffs. None truly stood out.

The same situation played out with Medlock and Johnson, as both were solid. Medlock, usually a place-kicker, played the first half and hit his lone field-goal try from 41 yards. Medlock averaged 47.3 yards on three punts and on four kickoffs, had a long of 95 yards.

Johnson, by trade a punter, took over in the second half, and had a field goal from 38 yards blocked. He also made a 42-yarder and averaged 51.3 yards on three punts. Johnson's longest kickoff of two went 69 yards.

"It is very close," Andrus said. "It will come to tenths of seconds on get-off time and handling time."

Johnson and Medlock benefitted from vastly improved punt protection, a sore spot in last week's loss to Montreal.

"You can't be perfect, but I felt great," Johnson said. "I'm not sure what happened on the field goal (that was blocked). But I thought everything went well."

Medlock was in the same boat.

"I didn't do anything bad," Medlock said. "Field goals are important. Points are points, and you have to go 80% or better and I know I can do that."

And the running back scenario behind Jamal Robertson is not clear. Jarrett Payton had seven carries for 20 yards, while Ebell had five carries for 20 yards.

Defensive end Jonathan Brown returned from a back injury and Andrus said Brown's play was "positive."

Andrus was encouraged by his team's tackling, which was more effective than it was week ago.

"We were a lot better on special teams," Andrus said. "They're listening, and they are learning. Everything went a lot smoother."

And Andrus got his first CFL win, pre-season or not.

"A great way to end camp," Andrus said. "Checkers, Monopoly, poker, playground, pre-season, it feels good to win. You can't deny it."


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