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Inside the CFL: The end of an era?

Ted Michaels, CFL Editor

Hamilton, ON (Sports Network) - Montreal Alouette football fans may be watching history this Sunday.

The CFL Eastern semifinal game against the visiting Hamilton Tiger-Cats will be the final home game in Montreal this year, and it could be the final time Alouette fans get to see a familiar group of players.

The two-time defending Grey Cup champions head into the game against Hamilton with some obvious concerns.

BC waxed the Als 43-1 last Saturday in BC. With a win, Montreal would have clinched first place in the CFL East.

From an Alouette standpoint, the loss was bad enough, but way they lost, was even worse.

Quarterback Anthony Calvillo was sacked four times, completing just 9-of-17 passes for 63 yards before he was pulled, with BC leading 34-1.

Calvillo, instead of looking like the all-time passing yardage record holder, looked old and slow and became so frustrated, he took his anger out on backup running back Dahrran Diedrick, who, it appeared, either missed an assignment or ran the wrong route.

After the game, Alouette players faced the media, and the message they sent shouldn't give their fans a lot of confidence.

Thirteen year veteran offensive lineman Scott Flory said, "I think we need to take a long, hard look at ourselves and decide if we want it. I'm in absolute shock by the complete lack of competitive fire. This was a complete dismantling. I've gone to war with all these guys. I know how much they care and how good they are. Whatever ingredient is missing, we have to find it. And I believe we will."

Linebacker Diamond Ferri was more succinct, saying, "We were beaten up and we got outcoached. They schemed us every which way."

Monday afternoon, Montreal head coach Marc Trestman said he wasn't upset by Ferri's comments, instead saying the entire team, including the coaches, were responsible for the loss.

"At the end of the day, we didn't get it done and now the season is over and it's a new season and everything can be eliminated if we can take care of our business on Sunday," Trestman said. "If we don't, there will be more media speculation and rightfully so. The season's over. We did the best we could and we're going to move forward in a positive fashion and put our energy into Sunday's game."

But, when he continued to be pressed by the media to comment on what Ferri said, Trestman said, "He's a good man and I think that was part of his emotions in the moment. I wouldn't comment on it. Any time you win a game coaches are part of it and certainly if you lose a game coaches are part of it too. We all take equal accountability. I don't take it as more than knowing that's Diamond being Diamond."

What's most galling for Alouette fans, is the fact that the loss in BC was the third in a row, and each time, Montreal had a chance to clinch first in the East, and they fell short.

Injuries appear to be playing a factor, with left tackle Josh Bourke out for the year.

Linebacker Ramon Guzman may miss the Hamilton game, and the secondary is without safety Etienne Boulay and cornerbacks Jerald Brown, Mark Estelle and Dwight Anderson.

The Als finished the regular season with a 10-8 record, the worst under the Trestman regime.

They'll play a Hamilton team that went 8-10. The teams met four times this year, with each team winning both their home games. The Als managed to outscore Hamilton, 117-116.

The game will be played at the Olympic Stadium, where 55,000 screaming fans will give the Alouettes all the support they need.

The question is, will the champs respond, or will the old guard look...old?

Ted Michaels is the host of the Fifth Quarter, on AM 900 CHML.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Ted Michaels at ted@900chml.com.

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