The start of summer means the return of football. As the NFL gears up for training camp, the Canadian Football League kicks off the regular season. The season opening double-header was one that fans would love. The night would start with the battle of Ontario as Toronto made the short trip to Hamilton. Across the country, the Alouettes visited the Stampeders in a Grey Cup rematch.
Toronto 30 @ Hamilton 17 –The start of the new season in Hamilton resembles the last few Ti-Cats campaigns. After going 3-15 in 2008, Hamilton showed little signs of improvement as they were thoroughly manhandled by the Toronto Argonauts to open the 2009 CFL season.
The two Ontario rivals renewed acquaintances quickly with a couple of scrums breaking out on the first drive. The Double Blue scored on their first possession when Kerry Joseph hit Arland Bruce from 21 yards out for the major. Bruce was subsequently flagged for objectionable conduct when he did a mock funeral celebration. Toronto missed the convert because their kicker was injured so RB Jarrett Payton stepped in and shanked the kick. The Agos would go on to notch a pair of majors before the end of the quarter on a 7 yard pass to Reggie McNeal and a 5 yard run by Jamal Robertson. Hamilton would cut the lead in half before the end of the half with a 3 yard toss from Quinton Porter to Terry Cauley and an 18 yard field goal by Nick Setta. The Argos answered back with a 25 yard field goal before the half ended.
The second half started even more quickly than the first when Joseph hit Matt Lambros from 22 out for the touchdown. Up 30-10, the Argos put it on cruise control. The Ti-Cats managed a major in the final minute of the fourth but it was too little, too late.
Kerry Joseph wasn’t very accurate (14/29) but made the most of his completions (227 yds., 3 TD). Meanwhile, it was a tough day for Hamilton’s Quinton Porter (2 TD, 2 Int.) though he did complete more passes (26/40) for more yards (229 yds.) than Joseph. DE Ronald Flemmons led the way for the Argos D with 8 tackles and 2 sacks. The win was also the first for new Argos coach Bart Andrus who was hired in the off-season.
Montreal 40 @ Calgary 27 –With CFL commissioner Mark Cohon on hand, the Grey Cup rematch was an absolute Albertan barnburner.
Montreal was dominant out of the gate, scoring 20 unanswered points. Less than 3 minutes in, Anthony Calvillo put it in Kerry Watkins hands for a 37 yard TD catch. Avon Cobourne had a 10 yard run for the game’s second major while Damon Duval kicked a pair of field goals. Then it was the Stamps’ turn to explode offensively. Titus Ryan answered the second field goal with a 104 yard kickoff return. Henry Burris then hooked up with his favourite target Jeremaine Copeland for a 4 yard touchdown. Damon Duval put the Als back on the board with two more field goals and a rouge (single point) to make it 27-17 going into the half.
Calgary picked up the offense again in the third. Burris called his own number for a 4 yard TD run and Sandro DeAngelis made a 41 yard field goal to tie the game heading into the final quarter. Duval gave the Als the lead back with a pair of field goals at the start of the fourth quarter to go 6/6 on the night. The Stamps were making a late drive for the win but Keron Williams stripped the ball from Burris and Chip Cox rumbled home with an 80 yard fumble return to seal the win.
Anthony Calvillo may have played only one quarter in the pre-season but he came to play last night. He completed his first 15 attempts and went 24/32 for 255 yds., 1 TD, and 1 Int. Burris wasn’t much outdone as he went 17/33 for 247 yds., 1 TD, and 1 Int. while rushing for a team high 35 yds. and 1 TD. The star of the game really was Damon Duval tonight. He went 6/6 on field goals, 2/2 on PATs, and had a pair of rouges.
Offensive Player of the Night: Jamal Robertson (TOR) – 124 Yds. rush, 14 carries, 53 Yds. rec, 3 rec, 1 TD
Defensive Player of the Night: Chip Cox (MTL) – 7 Tkls, 1 TD
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