There might be no team happier to see the end of Ivor Wynne Stadium more than the Montreal Alouettes. For the fifth straight contest, the Ticats pounded the Als in front of a raucous home crowd, this time to the tune of 41-28 on Friday night. It was complete dominance by the Ticats as their big stars played like big stars.
Henry Burris was out of this world. He completed 28 of 32 passes for 326 yards and five touchdowns. Yes, five touchdowns. When the player of the week awards are announced on Tuesday, Burris should expect to be adding to his trophy case. But Burris wasn’t alone on the excellence train; Andy Fantuz and Dave Stala each caught two touchdown passes, while Avon Cobourne had his third 100-plus-yard rushing performance in the last four weeks. Everything clicked for the Ticats offensively on Friday night and it started from the very beginning of the game.
The Tabbies got the scoring started after forcing a two and out on the Als’ first drive of the game. The Ticats took the ball 74 yards and ended the drive when Burris hit Fantuz to give the Ticats a 7-0 lead. The Ticats extended that to 14-0 on the next drive when Burris hit Chris Williams on a short slant.
The Als finally got on the board thanks to a miscue by the Ticats. Rookie running back Chevon Walker, playing in his first game since Labour Day, fumbled on his first carry of the game, which set Montreal up deep in Hamilton territory. The Als did not waste the opportunity and cut the lead to seven on a one-yard Adrian McPherson plunge.
The Ticats responded back following an excellent return by Onrea Jones. Burris took advantage of the short field and connected with Fantuz for an eight-yard touchdown pass, which put the Cats back up by 14. The Als came right back on their next drive and cut the lead to 21-14 when Anthony Calvillo hit Jamel Richardson on a 21-yard pass.
The Ticats answered the answering with a touchdown of their own when Burris found Stala on a four-yard touchdown. Stala had an Als defender draped all over him but still managed to pull the ball in. The Cats increased their lead to 17 when Burris orchestrated a stellar drive to set up Luca Congi for a 24-yard field goal to end the half and the Ticats hit the locker room up 31-14.
The third quarter was a bit of a dead zone for both teams as the only score was a five-yard touchdown run by Montreal’s Chris Jennings with about three minutes left in the quarter. The Cats went into the final quarter up 10.
The Cats responded quickly with another touchdown pass from Burris to Stala on the first play of the final quarter. The Ticats kicked another field goal the Als got a meaningless touchdown in the final three minutes to make the final 41-28 for Hamilton.
With the win, and with Edmonton’s loss to Calgary later in the night, the Ticats are back in sole possession of the final playoff spot in the East Division. Hamilton will travel to Edmonton to play the Eskimos next Friday it what will be a huge game for both teams. The winner of that game at Commonwealth Stadium will be in the driver’s seat for the third playoff spot.
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