Key Takeaways: Two defensive TDs pull Boatmen past Als
The Toronto Argonauts defence forced five turnovers, two for touchdowns, as they finished the pre-season with a decisive 30-10 win over the Montreal Alouettes Thursday night at Percival Molson Stadium.
A secondary still looking for the right blend of starters as the regular season nears found its footing, picking off three passes, two of which were taken back for touchdowns in the second quarter.
Similar to last win over Ottawa, Montreal opened the game with Jonathan Crompton under centre and most of the starting offence with him. Included in that group was a pair of veterans who were picked up in the offseason, Nik Lewis and Fred Stamps.
Crompton had instant field position to start the game following a big return by another veteran pickup, Stefan Logan, who took the opening kickoff back 55 yards. A 10-yard run by RB Brandon Whitker and 33-yard reception by Cody Hoffman allowed Crompton to hand the ball off to Johnathan Bryant on 3-rd-and-goal as he took the fly sweep one yard in for the opening drive major.
The Argos gave the start to Trevor Harris once again who will take on that role for the foreseeable future with Ricky Ray placed on the 6-game injured list earlier in the week.
Harris had a solid first possession, mixing up the pass and run and relying on rookie tailback Henry Josey, who’s carry of 10 yards and reception of 14 help set up a 42-yard Swayze Waters field goal.
Josey is vying for that secondary tailback spot which may quickly become a starting role after Curtis Steele was banged up in practice this past week and was listed as “questionable” for Week 1 by head coach Scott Milanovich.
After an impressive opening drive, Crompton quickly got contained by an active Argos defence. A forced two-and-out was sandwiched between two interceptions by Crompton which not only put Toronto back in the game, gave them the lead.
On Crompton’s last pass, his toss was jumped by Indiana grad DB Akwasi Owusu-Ansah who took the interception 40 yards to the house for a touchdown.
After the Argos added a field goal on their next drive, the Argos secondary once again put points on the board. This time it was Dan LeFevour who entered the game with 7:29 remaining for his first reps as a Montreal Alouette after spending his first two seasons in Hamilton.
LeFevour dropped back on his third attempt of the game, spotted a familiar target in former Ticat Sam Giguere but the veteran receiver couldn’t squeeze the pigskin and his drop fell into the hands of Argos DB Brandon Smith whose 29-yard interception return TD put the Boatmen up 20-7 before half.
The Alouettes had an opportunity to cut into the lead when they took over possession at the Argos 33 yard line following an Andre Durie fumble. LeFevour completed passes to Giguere and Dobson Collins but failed to convert a third-down-and-goal when his toss was dropped by Hoffman, sending Montreal to the locker room down by 15.
Quarterback Trevor Harris will lead the Argos into the regular season with Ricky Ray on the mend. In one half of play, Harris completed 10 of 12 passes for 98 yards with no TDs or INTs ... View more Stats
Both starting quarterbacks were done for the day after the first half. Harris finished 10 of 12 for 98 yards, no TD or interceptions. Crompton was 5 of 10 for 71 yards with no touchdowns and 2 interceptions.
The Argonauts went into halftime with a comfortable lead and continued to roll form the opening kickoff of the third frame. Diontae Spencer, out of McNese State, started things off by taking the boot 50 yards, net 65 following a major foul on Giguere. Mitchell Gale entered the game under centre with prime field position, completed a pari of passes, ran for a first down and then finished the drive where it started, in the hands of Spencer who hauled in a 7-yard touchdown pass. A two-point conversion from Gale to Lyle McCoombs put the Argos up 30-7.
The news wasn’t all positive for Toronto however, as two plays before the major, fullback/tight end Zander Robinson took a hit from Montreal DB Cliff Coleman and had to be carried off the field as he appeared to favour his knee.
The rest of the quarter finished up without incident but it did see QB Brandon Bridge enter for the Alouettes. The Canadian pivot only completed 4 of 8 passes last week vs. Ottawa but took command of the Montreal offence in his first game of pro ball.
Adrian McPherson closed out the fourth quarter for the Argonauts off only a few days in their camp and making his debut in the only other place he saw regular season action.
Each club finished the pre-season 1-1.
Both teams will take a few days to evaluate before making final cuts on Saturday.