November 10, 2023

Als confident as they prepare to face Argos in EF

Minas Panagiotakis/

TORONTO — Don’t tell the Montreal Alouettes they are not favoured in the Eastern Final.

An Alouettes team that is riding a six-game winning streak with a dominant defence and an efficient offence believes they can beat anyone, including the Toronto Argonauts on Saturday at BMO Field.

The Argos had a perfect 10-0 division record in 2023 and a 3-0 record against the Als, but the last time these two teams met in Week 15 the game went down to the wire with the Argonauts winning on a late missed field goal. Montreal is not concerned with how many wins or losses these two teams had during the regular season.

“I don’t think you ever feel that (being an underdog) as a player and as a coach,” said head coach Jason Maas to reporters. “You go in every game expecting to win and just leave the prognosticators to prognosticate. As a player and as a coach you are focused on what’s at hand. The point spread, the records all get thrown out.”

» Three storylines to watch in the Eastern Final
» Als, Argos battle for Grey Cup berth
» Buy Tickets for the Eastern Final: Alouettes at Argonauts



One of the reasons why records get thrown out when the playoffs come around is that teams change drastically during the season. Look no further to the additions of Darnell Sankey and Shawn Lemon to what was already a good Montreal defence that took the jump to the next level to become one of the strongest units in the CFL.

Sankey echoed his head coaches’ thoughts that all that matters now is who executes better for 60 minutes on Saturday at BMO Field.

“I think once playoff comes the whole myth of the underdog kind of gets thrown out the window because records don’t matter,” the linebacker told reporters.

Montreal’s defence was third in net yards allowed per game and second in preventing first downs and points per game. A fierce defensive front led by Lemon, Sankey, Mustafa Johnson and Tyrice Beverette is joined by a secondary that features Ciante Evans and All-Star Marc-Antoine Dequoy.

All that talent was put together only a few months ago, which means there might be a version of this unit that is even better than the one we’ve seen so far.

“I think as as a defence we can even improve more than what we’ve shown,” said Sankey. “I think we played a great game (in the Eastern Semi-Final against the Tiger-Cats) but there were still parts of the game that we felt like weren’t up to our standards.”

Another factor that makes the Alouettes confident that they can go out there and compete with anyone is the fact that they feature an experienced quarterback that has been through this before in Cody Fajardo.

The veteran played in a couple of Western Finals as a member of the Saskatchewan Roughriders, both times against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2019 and 2021.

“Having that experience to be able to go out there, and when things don’t go our way – because they’re gonna make some plays too – I’m gonna have that experience to draw on just like last week on the red zone interception,” Fajardo told reporters. “I told you guys after the game, coming off the sidelines and knowing I’ve been in that situation for helps you rebound faster.”

Confidence is often a product of repetition. These Alouettes have been here before.

“We play our game the way we know we can play it, we’ll have a good result,” added Sankey.

That confidence will be put to the test on Saturday, November 11, at 3 p.m. ET when Als and Argos battle at BMO Field to decide who advances to the 110th Grey Cup.

The comment system on this website is now powered by the Forums. We'd love for you to be part of the conversation; click the Start Discussion button below to register an account and join the community!