Final score: Calgary 23 Montreal 30
An 80-yard gain off a Durant pass to who-we-have-been-so-anxiously-waiting-to-break-out Ernest Jackson started what turned out to be an incredibly entertaining game against the Stamps. The weather was on our side, the fans were pumped and the cheerleaders looked especially great in their marine blue outfits. We couldn’t ask for more! The first sequence of the game ultimately led to a field goal from – – who else? – – Boris Bédé. It was poetic justice as our number 14, originally from Toulon, was the one who opened the scoring on France’s national holiday.
The wind in their sails
Right from the opening whistle, fans were able to see all the progress that’s been made during this week’s preparations. To counter the Stampeders’ impressive offence, the boys had to make sure the heat was turned up to the max and that the chemistry in the locker room would carry on to the field. All the players dressed in red, white and blue were aware of that going into the game. And all three units were guns blazing. With nine minutes to go in the first quarter, Stefan Logan broke free with a 36 yard return giving Darian Durant’s offence great position at the 46-yard line. That was followed by a 15-yard gain by the DD-Cunningham tandem, which although did not finish in the end zone, still gave the Alouettes‘ offence some momentum, necessary after Calgary had a successful field goal.
The first quarter ended in spectacular fashion with an aggressive Darian Durant rush for a first down, followed by a 14-yard gain from our quarterback to Tiquan Underwood, who grabbed the pass close to the ground after a deflection off B.J. Cunningham. While the series didn’t end with points on the board, it sure showed the Stampeders that, tonight, they’d be dancing to the rhythm of the Alouettes.
It was a lively Friday at Percival Molson Memorial Stadium. We got to see the kind of game that we enjoy watching: full of action. At the start of the second quarter, the defence quickly spoiled Bo Levi Mitchell‘s party, with one knocked down pass courtesy of Kyries Hebert and two quarterback pressures by John Bowman and Tyree Hollins. On their next offensive series, the Stampeders got dangerously close to the Alouettes‘ end zone, but were thwarted from crossing the goal line when Chip Cox defended against receiver Kamar Jorden, leaving the Stamps forced to be content with a field goal. With the visitors ahead 6 – 3, the Alouettes took the bull by the horns to regain the lead before the halftime intermission. In a series of offensive plays that took over three minutes, Durant and his favourite targets showed what they are made of.
An 11-yard gain on an Underwood catch.
Nik Lewis made an 11-yard grab, then had a 12-yard reception and with that overtook Ben Cahoon for sixth spot on the CFL’s all-time receiving yardage list.
Jean-Christophe Beaulieu ignited the rushing attack with a 27-yard gain.
And finally, a touchdown by the sensational B.J. Cunningham!
And then Bédé, reliable as usual, was on-target.
Wow! It was 9 – 6 Montreal, and the confidence level among Jacques Chapdelaine’s troops was readily apparent. The head coach addressed it in his post-game remarks: “What I saw tonight was our team’s confidence building throughout the game. I told them before the game that I hoped they could finally see just how good they are.” Jacques, trust us: those of us in the stands could definitely see that!
But that wasn’t all, everybody! After a fumble forced by Chris Ackie, it was linebacker Branden Dozier who pounced on the ball and ran for 20 yards right… to… the… you guessed it, END ZONE! It was the 23-year-old rookie’s first touchdown at the professional level.
Things were falling into place. Even though the third quarter score had become 20 – 16 in favour of Calgary, Tyrell Sutton took it upon himself to bring some order back to the game. He who had been somewhat quiet since the opening kickoff – – which was understandable, seeing as it was the receiving corps who were in the spotlight (Ernest Jackson ended the night with 118 receiving yards!) – – found his stride by the fourth quarter, running like there was no tomorrow. With 11 minutes and 19 seconds left in the fourth, Tyrell notched his second touchdown of the season, helping the Als to regain control of the situation. But when you are playing against the best offence in the league, you can’t celebrate until the final whistle is blown. The players, on all three units, stayed focused right up until the end. And it was this excellent team effort that led to our Alouettes coming out the victors in this hard-fought battle.
Paredes, the Stampeders‘ kicker, evened the score with 8 minutes and 45 seconds left to play, but there was no way tradition was going to be broken this evening. The Alouettes have beaten the Stampeders at home the past three seasons and had every intention of continuing that streak tonight. To do so, Durant and his teammates took the field by storm. Yup, we’re specifically talking about an offensive series that lasted more than five minutes during which Underwood, Cunningham, Sutton, Lewis and Jackson all contributed and that culminated with a quarterback sneak by Vernon Adams Jr. If the guys weren’t out of breath, we sure were!
One for all and all for one. It was the motto going into this game and the team definitely played up to it. Mission accomplished.
We’ll see you again at Percival Molson Memorial Stadium on August 11. Click HERE to get your tickets now. And until then, make sure to watch your Als’ next two away games on TSN and RDS on July 19 and 27. They promise to be exciting!