Trick or treat for Bombers, Jets?

Blue Bombers offensive lineman Glenn January celebrates his touchdown against the Argonauts with...

Blue Bombers offensive lineman Glenn January celebrates his touchdown against the Argonauts with Ibrahim Khan at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ont., Sep. 24, 2011. (MIKE CASSESE/Reuters)

PAUL FRIESEN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:27 PM ET

WINNIPEG - It’s the Blue Bombers and the Jets, together again — the first real, live, home smorgasbord of pigskin and pucks we’ve seen in these parts in 20 years.

The question is, will it be a twin-bill worth celebrating, or Halloween come early?

Because let’s face it, both sides have produced their share of fright this fall, the football freaks losing five of their last seven games, the hockey horror show on Hargave producing one knee-knocking victory in six tries.

This might not be a Saturday for the faint of heart.

For the Jets, it doesn’t seem to matter who they play — it’s like they’re dragging balls and chains into the offensive zone, handling the puck like it’s a tarantula in their own.

Over on Maroons Road, where the wrecking balls are on standby, the bleeding Bombers will open their doors to the Montreal Alouettes, kind of like Jonathan Harker cutting himself shaving in the presence of the Count in Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

When the Als smell blood — in this case it’s the colour of first place in the CFL East — they usually end up in a post-game, celebratory drink.

“We’ve been in this situation many times before,” Anthony Calvillo, Montreal’s go-for-the-throat quarterback, was saying, Friday. “That goes a long way. But we still have to go out there and execute.”

That’s the fear — that this could become an execution.

Montreal has won four straight, five of its last six, as Calvillo has shredded defences this season to the tune of 31 touchdown passes and just five interceptions.

The horrifying part is he might not even be Montreal’s nominee for the Most Outstanding Player Award, as receiver Jamel Richardson has already reached the century mark in catches and is putting up one of the best seasons in three-down receiver history.

“I wouldn’t say any offence is scary, necessarily,” Bomber defensive back Brandon Stewart said, doing his best to whistle past the graveyard. “But they’re efficient, for sure. We’re very aware of it. It’s going to take us a lot.”

Over on the other side of the ball, Montreal’s defence is salivating like starving zombies over Winnipeg’s decision to start Brendon LaBatte at centre over the more experienced Obby Khan.

The last thing you want is for the shotgun snap to quarterback Buck Pierce to become an adventure.

“I’m not even going to think about it,” Pierce said.

LaBatte has been.

“It was new to me,” the career guard, who’s done some practising at centre this season, conceded. “But I’ve got 18 weeks doing it, now. So there should be no excuse for the ball not to be right where Buck needs it.”

Of course, that’s not Winnipeg’s only fear.

Give the Bombers credit for an early start on a costume, I suppose, but the Jekyll and Hyde act of the offence has to be keeping head coach Paul LaPolice up at night.

One week, Pierce and Co. show the ruthlessness of Jason in eviscerating the Ticats in Hamilton.

The next, they carelessly open closet doors and walk through the dark hallways of Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, falling victim to the razor’s edge of turnovers and two-and-outs.

It’s a far cry from the cold, efficient manner in which the Bombers buried their opposition the first half of the season.

They could have buried the Alouettes a little deeper, too, a couple of weeks ago, but this is one creature that dies hard.

And now it’s back, looking as fierce as ever and coming to claim what it believes is rightfully its own.

So settle in for Part 1 of what should be a hair-raising double bill.

And don’t let the afternoon start time fool you. This is still the witching hour.

“We’ll find out who the Beast of the East is,” Stewart said. “When the clock strikes zero, we’ll see.”


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