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TORONTO — The Montreal Alouettes have preached greatness all season. Now they are one game away from accomplishing it.
The Alouettes went into Toronto to take down a 16-win Argonauts team with a 38-17 Eastern Final victory that sent them to the 110th Grey Cup.
It was a full-team effort by Montreal, scoring touchdowns on all three phases to control the game from wire to wire against an Argos team that had yet to lose a division game in 2023.
If you ask head coach Jason Maas, it’s nothing the Alouettes didn’t see coming.
“I don’t think anybody was surprised with the result in this locker,” Maas told TSN’s Matthew Scianitti after the game. “We’ve continued to believe in each other all year and play for one another. It was a three phase football game. And it feels tremendous.”
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The defence led the way for Montreal with nine turnovers, including two returned for touchdowns by Marc-Antoine Dequoy and Kabion Ento. The former scored with a pick six on the first drive of the game that stopped the Alouettes from scoring on first-and-goal and set the tone for the rest of the afternoon.
Montreal also got a touchdown on special teams when James Letcher Jr. returned a kickoff for a score to stop a comeback attempt by the home team. Cody Fajardo and the offence played complementary football and scored two majors, one by Tyler Snead and one by Jeshrun Antwi to ice the game late in the fourth quarter.
The Alouettes started the season 6-7 but have since won seven straight games and seem to be playing their best football as they head to Hamilton next week. Fajardo knows they still have one more mission, but there’s already a lot to celebrate in Montreal.
“The job isn’t done just because when you have a dream you have to go out and execute,” Fajardo told Scianitti. “Our defence played phenomenal. Tonight, our special teams made a huge kick return right after they scored, offence scored touchdowns when we needed to.
“This team is incredible and I’m very thankful because we get another week together, another week in that locker room with my brothers, and I can’t be any happier for them.”
What was already a good defence in Montreal became even better with the mid-season arrivals of Darnell Sankey and Shawn Lemon. The duo combined for three turnovers, including a crucial third-down stop in the first half, pressuring Chad Kelly all afternoon to keep Toronto’s explosive offence from finishing drives.
The Alouettes talked all week about being able to compete with anyone and backed it up with their best game of the season, showcasing the confidence that teams that strive for greatness usually do.
“We talked about the Great Eight the first day we got together,” said Maas. “Now we have a chance to be great and we love it. We can’t wait to get back to work.”
They now head to Hamilton on Sunday, November 19, for a chance at their eighth Grey Cup win, first since 2010.