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Inside the CFL: One for the ages

Ted Michaels, CFL Editor

Hamilton, ON (Sports Network) - Classic: something that is a perfect example of a particular style, something of lasting worth or with a timeless quality.

It's a term that's used a lot when people talk about football games and many times it's overused.

But, when people look back to November 13, 2011, there's no doubt the world classic will be used.

The 2011 CFL East Semi-Final, played at Olympic Stadium in Montreal, went into overtime, and when it was all over, the third place Hamilton Tiger-Cats beat the defending Grey Cup champion Montreal Alouettes 52-44.

It was the highest scoring playoff game in CFL history exceeding the 89 points scored by Montreal and Hamilton on November 17, 1956, when Montreal beat Hamilton 48-41.

And it surpassed the point total of what many call the greatest Grey Cup game ever, the 1989 contest that saw Saskatchewan beat Hamilton 43-40.

Montreal quarterback Anthony Calvillo's passing total of 513 yards was the second-highest in playoff history and 5 yards short of the all-time league record of 518 set by Tony Curcillo in the above 1956 game.

The combined net offence of 1,048 yards was the third highest ever.

Hamilton rookie receiver Chris Williams, who had 5 catches for 62 yards, raved after the game, "this is the most craziest game I've ever played in. Not because of the fact that it went into overtime, or the score, just how we got there and everything that happened."

Former Alouette Avon Cobourne exacted his revenge on his former team, with 14 carries for 97 yards and touchdown.

"They're a great team but it shouldn't have come to this (overtime). I respect them, but their time is over. For five years I was with them and four of the five years I was successful. But our team is better, flat out."

Calvillo completed 30 of 42 passes for 513 yards, 3 TD's and an interception.

"We fought hard overall and we just came up short," he said. "You have to give Hamilton credit, they fought just as hard. They made a couple of more plays than we did."

The win was Hamilton?s first playoff victory since 2001, and was their first win in Montreal in fifteen games, dating back to October 20, 2002.

The loss no doubt will add fuel to the argument that the Alouettes have gone from a CFL powerhouse to a team that looks old and slow and needs an overhaul.

And the 39 year-old Calvillo needs to decide if he wants to play next year. Indications are he will.

The Tiger-Cats, who finished 8-10 in the regular season, now travel to Winnipeg on November 20 to play in the Eastern Final, with a berth in the Grey Cup on the line.

One would suspect from an entertainment value, the Eastern Final won't come close to the semi-final.

Notes: Vancouver is the scene of next week's Grey Cup and Vanier Cup, the championship game for Canadian University Football.

It could also feature teams from the same city playing in both championships.

McMaster Marauders, from Hamilton, are playing the Acadia Axemen, this Friday night in Moncton, NB in the Uteck Bowl.

With a win, the Marauders would play in the Vanier Cup, Friday, November 25 at BC Place.

The last time two teams from the same city played in both championships, was back in 2007, when the University of Manitoba Bisons, from Winnipeg, and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, played in both games at the Rogers Center in Toronto.

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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