Preview: Alouettes head to Calgary to take on Stamps
The Montreal Alouettes (6-7) will be looking to snap their four-game losing skid when they take on the Stampeders (4-9) in Calgary on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET (TSN, RDS, TSN 690, 98.5FM).
This will be the second meeting between these two teams, as the Als managed to beat Calgary, 25-18, at Percival Molson Stadium on July 30th. Cornerback Kabion Ento scored a touchdown off an interception in that game. The Als also held the Stamps to six field goals and no touchdowns in that game.
After a one-game absence, running back William Stanback will be returning to the starting lineup. He missed last week’s game against Toronto with a hand injury. The 29-year-old had a solid performance in the first meeting of the season between these two sides, as he finished with 86 yards on 15 carries.
Getting the running game going, in general, will be important in this game. The Als are in the middle of the pack when it comes to total rushing yards (1270 – 5th in the CFL), rushing yards per attempt (5.1 – 5th in the CFL).
The Stampeders are eighth in the league in rushing yards allowed (1650 yards, 126.9 rushing yards allowed per game).
— CFL (@CFL) September 3, 2023
“Being able to be better on first down (will help the running game). I think that’s the biggest thing,” quarterback Cody Fajardo said after Wednesday’s practice. “So many times, in that last game, we were in second-and-long. We took some bad penalties on some run plays that were actually good plays for us, but it ended up pushing us back… Penalties are a big part of it.”
Game 2 for Darnell Sankey:
The Alouettes signed middle linebacker Darnell Sankey earlier this month to bolster the middle of their defence. After just three days of practice, Sankey managed to pick up enough of the defence to suit up against the Argonauts last Friday.
The 2021 West Division All-Star certainly didn’t look out of place, as he finished with five tackles which was second on the team.
“I would consider myself a student of the game,” Sankey said. “I definitely put in a lot of work in the film room. I put a lot of work here after practice, so I get some extra conditioning in every day. Any drill that I’m not in, I’m always doing something else to elevate my game. I don’t ever want to be just stagnant at practice. That’s something I never want to do.”
Sankey played for the XFL’s Arlington Renegades earlier this year and suited up with Saskatchewan in 2022 and Calgary in 2021. Last season, the 28-year-old led the CFL in tackles, with 120 on defence.
This is an important game for both teams, as the Als and Stamps are both looking to solidify a playoff spot.
The Alouettes head into this game in second place in the East Division, while the Stamps find themselves in fourth place in the West. Calgary is four points behind the Saskatchewan Roughriders for the final playoff spot in their division, but they could also cross over to the East if they finish with a better record than Montreal or Hamilton (6-7).
“I would say it’s a must-win game, but truthfully every game is a must-win,” Sankey admitted. “I go into every game the same way. I’m focused, I’m ready to go. Calgary has a great team. They have a great offence, great coaches. It’s going to be a battle. If you don’t expect a battle, you’re in the wrong profession.”
The Alouettes and Tiger-Cats are now in a race for the second seed in the East. The team that finishes in that position will get to host the East Division Semi-Final on November 4th