Canadian Football League

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Als advance to Canadian Football League East Final

For the sixth straight year, it's back to the drawing board for Saskatchewan Roughriders head coach Danny Barrett and general manager Roy Shivers after their team fell to the Montreal Alouettes 30-14 in the CFL East Division semifinal Sunday.
Since Barrett and Shivers came aboard before the 2000 season, the Roughriders have failed to reach the Grey Cup despite making the playoffs in each of the last four years.
"We were one of six teams to make the playoffs, now all we have to do is find a way to be better," Barrett said after Sunday's loss, noting he didn't feel his team took a step back this season because of all the adversity it had to face.
The disappointment of failing to advance against the Alouettes was just another in a long line of season-ending losses Barrett and Shivers have witnessed for the Roughriders over the last few years.
Saskatchewan fell in the East semifinal to the Toronto Argonauts in 2002, and have lost to the Edmonton Eskimos and the B.C. Lions in each of the last two Western finals.

A streak of near-misses like that might cause some coaches to worry about their future with the club, but Barrett didn't appear too concerned Sunday.
Though he wouldn't address the possibility that he will lose his job, Barrett did say he plans on being back next season, along with the rest of his coaching staff.
"I signed for two (years) with an option last year," Barrett said. "I'm a man that fulfils his contractual obligations."
Barrett's players appeared to want their head coach back on the Roughrider sidelines next year.
"I love Danny for giving me an opportunity to come here and get a chance to play again," said quarterback Marcus Crandell, whose three interceptions proved costly. "I hope those guys are here, because I love playing for him, he's a great coach and he deserves to be here."
Running back and kick returner Corey Holmes said the continuity of having the same guys at the helm year after year is a big positive for the team.
"They started this and you can't ask for nothing better," Holmes said. "We've been to the playoffs four years in a row, and they're our leaders. They've been doing a great job every year."
As is usually the case in playoff football, Sunday's game was decided by turnovers. Both Crandell and Barrett said the turning point was an interception just short of the Montreal end zone near the end of the first half. A Roughrider touchdown at that point would have made it 21-7 for the Alouettes, but instead Montreal marched downfield for a field goal to make it 24-0.
"Our nemesis all year has been turnovers, and that showed up again today at the most inopportune time," Barrett said. "If it's a two-possession game you have an opportunity to win, but it was a three-possession game because of the turnover."


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