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By Richard Obrand,
Montreal – With just nine seconds left in the 96th Grey Cup, Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo steps back and completes a 17-yard pass to receiver Brian Bratton.
Falling to the turf as the final seconds tick away, Calvillo walks off the field with the rest of his teammates, leaving the Grey Cup champion Calgary Stampeders and their fans alone to celebrate.
And with that, for the eighth consecutive season, it’ll be another “there’s always next year” for the Montreal Alouettes.
Calvillo was unable to find his rhythm in the second half, completing a total of 29 of his 38 passes for 352 yards and no touchdowns, while his counterpart Henry Burris threw for 328 yards and a touchdown, earning MVP honours in the process.
“We did it, we did it!” said an emotional Burris hugging his mother following Sunday’s matchup.
In a game that had all signs pointing towards an offensive shootout, it was the defence that took centre stage.
With just one touchdown allowed by both, kickers Damon Duval of Montreal and Sandro DeAngelis from Calgary both got more action than expected.
DeAngelis connected on all five of his field goal attempts – the longest coming from 50 yards out – contributing 15 of his team’s 22 points.
Duval was also busy, kicking two chip-shot field goals, a single and punting six times.
After an amazing season in which the Alouettes turned in an 11-7 record and their sixth East Division title in nine years, Sunday’s loss may prove to be the last for other star veteran Alouettes.
Will we ever hear PA announcer call out another “Ben Cahoooooon” first down?
Will we see centre Bryan Chiu snap the ball ever again?
Will Calvillo be there to deliver one of his trademark passes downfield?
While it’s too early to answer those questions, head coach Marc Trestman – who had an exceptional first season at the helm of the Alouettes – believes that this year’s journey can only motivate to improve even more for next year.
“The relationships I’ve built with the players this season are definitely something I value,” said Trestman. “We aren’t a perfect team; we did have our ups and our downs and at the end of the day we’re one win short of where we wanted to be.”