Canadian Football League

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Two teams clinch Canadian Football League playoff spots

The Toronto Argonauts and the Montreal Alouettes clinch playoff spots tonight even before taking to the field in Week 18. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats defeated the Ottawa Renegades 40-32 at Ivor Wynne Stadium this evening, allowing the teams' East Division rivals to slide into the 2005 playoffs.
With the loss, Ottawa is unable to catch the Argos or the Als in the East standings, however, the team can still make the playoffs if they finish tied or ahead of the fourth place team in the West Division.
For the Alouettes, this is the ninth-straight year they have qualified for the post-season and will mark the 18th playoff season for head coach Don Matthews when they take the field on either November 13 for the Scotiabank East Semifinal game or November 20th for the Scotiabank East Championship. Matthews' 18 seasons of playoffs will set a new CFL record for most all-time playoff seasons as a head coach. He is currently tied with legendary Frank Clair at 17.
Toronto will enter post-season play for the fourth-straight season. The Argos will be looking to finish top in the East for the first time since 1997. Tomorrow's Toronto versus Montreal game carries heavy playoff implications, as the winner will take the season series and the tiebreaker should these two teams finish tied in the standings.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Canadian Football League player of the week awards

Montreal quarterback Anthony Calvillo is the CFL offensive player of the week after leading the Alouettes to a key victory over the B.C. Lions on Sunday.
Calvillo completed 35 of 49 pass attempts for 435 yards, two interceptions and four touchdowns. His 20-yard TD pass to Dave Stala on the final play of the game gave the Als a 46-44 win. Calvillo also moved into fourth place in career passing yards, passing Matt Dunigan's 43,857 yards. Calvillo now has 44,149.
Lions quarterback Casey Printers and Winnipeg Blue Bombers running back Charles Roberts were runners-up for the honour.
Calgary Stampeders linebacker George White captured the defensive award after recording 12 tackles, two special teams tackles and returning an interception 53 yards for a touchdown in a 34-17 win over Hamilton.
Linebackers Tim Strickland of the Alouettes and Thomas Stancil of the Saskatchewan Roughriders were also considered.

Winnipeg's Gavin Walls earned the top lineman honour after recording four tackles and a sack in a 35-32 loss to Toronto.
Eric England or Toronto and Saskatchewan's Scott Schultz were runners-up.
The special teams award went to Edmonton Eskimos kicker Sean Fleming, who had four field goals, punted nine time for 360 yards and had five kickoffs for 301 yards in a 19-18 win over the Roughriders.
Saskatchewan running back Corey Holmes and Winnipeg punter Jon Ryan were also considered.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Argos battle for Canadian Football League East Divison tile

Noel Prefontaine's fourth field goal of the game, a 20-yarder as time expired, gave Toronto a 35-32 victory over Winnipeg in CFL action from Winnipeg Stadium.

Damon Allen threw for 484 yards and a pair of touchdowns and ran for another score to help the Argonauts (9-6) complete a season sweep of the Blue Bombers. Arland Bruce finished with eight catches for 137 yards and Andre Talbot had 122 yards on five receptions, including a touchdown, in the win.
Kevin Glenn had two scoring passes and 171 yards through the air for Winnipeg (5-11), which had won two of three coming in. Charles Roberts ran for 176 yards and a TD on 24 attempts in defeat.
The winning kick was set up by Allen's 46-yard deep pass to Bruce, which put the ball inside the Winnipeg 10 in the final seconds.
The Blue Bombers trailed 32-22 with under three minutes remaining before roaring back to tie it on a five-yard pass from Glenn to Darnell McDonald and a 31-yard field goal from Troy Westwood.
The Argonauts put up 19 straight points between the second and third quarters to turn an early 11-point deficit into a 22-14 lead.
Allen, who completed 26-of-39 passes, connected with John Avery for a 25-yard touchdown with 9:30 remaining in the second quarter to bring Toronto within 14-10. The Argonauts added a safety five minutes later when Winnipeg punter Jonathan Ryan stepped out of the end zone, and took a 15-14 edge at the half when Prefontaine kicked a 22-yard field goal in the final minute.
Talbot hauled in an 11-yard touchdown toss from Allen less than three minutes into the second half, but the Blue Bombers would cut their deficit to 22-21 when Glenn threw a 19-yard scoring strike to Keith Stokes with 5:17 remaining in the period.
Toronto increased the margin to four on a 15-yard field goal by Prefontaine early in the fourth quarter. A Blue Bombers' single made it 25-22 before Allen scored on a one-yard run with 4:10 to go to give the Argos a 10-point cushion.
After Winnipeg opened the scoring with a single, Roberts gave the Bombers an 8-0 lead with a one-yard first-quarter plunge. Both teams added a field goal before the opening frame would expire.
Westwood's 12-yard field goal two minutes into the second quarter staked Winnipeg to a 14-3 advantage.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Eskimos secure Canadian Football League playoff spot

The Edmonton Eskimos are going to the CFL playoffs for the 34th consecutive season.
Ricky Ray's touchdown on a quarterback sneak with less than a minute to play helped the Eskimos squeak out a 19-18 victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders Saturday afternoon before a season-high 53,216 at Commonwealth Stadium.

Edmonton Eskimos quarterback Ricky Ray scrambles during the second quarter on Saturday.
The crucial West Division matchup guarantees the Eskimos (10-6) a berth in the CFL's post-season, while the Roughriders (8-8) will have a chance to secure a spot next week.
Ray completed 20-of-32 passes for 231 yards to become only the third quarterback in team history to throw for more than 5,000 yards in a single season. Warren Moon (1982 and 1983) and Jason Maas (2004) were the others.
Kicker Sean Fleming accounted for the rest of Edmonton's scoring, hitting field goals from nine, 25, 38 and 28 yards.
"I've got my swagger back," said Fleming, who suffered a rough patch earlier in the season. "I want to get out there and be the guy."
Saskatchewan had one final shot at victory after Edmonton was flagged for pass interference with three seconds left on the clock. But Roughrider kicker Paul McCallum's 51-yard field goal attempt was short and wide, giving the Eskimos the win.
The Roughriders held an 18-12 lead with three minutes remaining in the game, only to find the slim lead disappear thanks to a superb ground game by newly-acquired running back Troy Davis.
Davis, the CFL's rushing leader a year ago, was recently picked up in a blockbuster trade with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and has made an immediate impact.
On the nine-play, 83-yard drive that won the contest, Ray relied on his new teammate to find holes and slash his way through a tired Roughriders defensive front.
Davis finished Saturday's contest with 96 yards rushing (17 carries) and 65 yards receiving (six receptions).
The Riders took a 14-9 lead into the dressing room on the merits of a one-yard plunge by quarterback Marcus Crandell and a 86-yard punt return by CFL on CBC Warrior of the Game Corey Holmes.
McCallum added a 22-yard field goal in the fourth and a single to account for Saskatchewan's scoring.

B.C. signs new-old Canadian Football League kicker

The B.C. Lions have a new, 39-year-old place-kicker and he just happens to be the third-highest scorer in Canadian Football League history.
Mark McLoughlin recorded 2,848 points during 16 seasons with the Calgary Stampeders without ever scoring a touchdown. He played his last CFL game during the 2003 season. McLoughlin still lives and works in Calgary, but will take time off from two jobs in order to handle the B.C. place-kicking duties after incumbent Duncan O'Mahony missed too many field goals. O'Mahony will remain with the team as the punter.
B.C. coach Wally Buono contacted McLoughlin recently and this week he signed a contract with the Lions. He'll kick tomorrow in Montreal against the Alouettes.
Former Lions great Lui Passaglia is the CFL career scoring leader with 3,991 points in 25 seasons. Paul Osbaldiston, playing with three teams, had 2,939 points in 17 years before his retirement after the 2004 season.