Alouettes eyeing first in CFL East ahead of season-ending two-game set with Argos – CHAT News Today

  • October 22, 2022

MONTREAL — With two games remaining, the Montreal Alouettes are set to embark on a home-and-home series that will decide first place in the Canadian Football League’s East Division.
The Alouettes (8-8) will host the Toronto Argonauts (10-8) on Saturday afternoon before heading to Toronto for a regular season finale .
Although four points back of the Argos in the standings, Montreal can steal top spot by winning both games.
General manager and interim coach Danny Maciocia said that his team has an opportunity to surpass expectations. The Alouettes suffered through a dismal 2-6 start to their season, which cost former coach Khari Jones’ job, but rallied with a 6-2 record over their last eight games to reach a .500 record.
“This opportunity probably wasn’t there in the last few weeks,” Maciocia said. “And a lot of people were asking questions about the team but they created this opportunity for themselves and now I hope they take advantage of it. “
For Alouettes quarterback Trevor Harris, it’s “business as usual.” The veteran would prefer not to look ahead to next week and rather focus on the task at hand, winning their last home game of the regular season.
“We’ve been in playoff mode since we hit the 2-6 mark and it’s been one week at a time, one-week season, so our goal is to go 1-0 this week,” Harris said.
“We can’t win two games this week, we can’t clinch a home playoff game this week, we can’t win the East this week. All we can do is give ourselves a chance for the following week.”
The Argonauts (10-6) haven’t won at Percival Molson Stadium since 2015 but breaking that streak on Saturday would secure an East Final game at BMO Field on Nov. 13.
“Home-field advantage, right?” said Argos head coach Ryan Dinwiddie. “That’s why this game is so big, so we can get home-field advantage in the playoffs. It’s tough to win on the road especially these days so that’s why this game is so darn important.”
The Argos enter the last two games of the season having won six of their last seven games. For linebacker and former Alouette Henoc Muamba, Toronto’s confidence level is “really high.”
“We’re excited for the challenge that’s up ahead and we’re looking forward to the game that’s coming,” Muamba said. “We like where we’re at and we’re still trying to continue to grow as we have a couple more games to be the best football team that we can be entering the playoffs.”
The teams haven’t played each other since the Argos won a 20-19 game after Alouettes kicker David Cote missed a last-second field goal in Week 2. With the Alouettes now counting on William Stanback and Walter Fletcher at running back, Dinwiddie is expecting a different matchup in Week 20.
‘(Fletcher) is a little jitterbug, he brings a different style of running so we gotta be prepared for both,” Dinwiddie said. “Stanback (didn’t get) a lot of carries in the last game. I expect him to get a lot more this week … They’ll have a two-headed monster.”
Muamba has noticed “lots of change” with the Als over the last 18 weeks and is expecting a battle on Saturday.
“First of all, they’ve discovered their identity, they’re gelling together better,” he said. “Potentially getting rid of Vernon Adams, as much as he’s a good player to have, the uncertainty of not knowing who’s gonna be your quarterback and the chemistry during the week made Trevor Harris more comfortable and gave him more confidence in games.
“They’re at a good place and they’re trending up, like we have as well, and it’s going to be a real challenge for us.”
FLYOVER: The Montreal Alouettes will honour the Canadian armed forces during Saturday’s game. Two CF-18s will fly over Percival Molson Stadium at 4:04 p.m. and 4:08 p.m. The Alouettes hold their nickname as a nod to the first French-Canadian squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force.
CHASE FOR 4,500: McLeod Bethel-Thompson is nine passing yards away from reaching the 4,500-mark. The feat would be a personal record for the San Francisco native and the first time a CFL QB has reached that mark since the 2018 season.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 21, 2022

Tristan D’Amours, The Canadian Press

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