TORONTO – Hosting the first home playoff game in the city of Toronto since 2007, the playoff fever was in the air in Toronto as the road to the 100th Grey Cup kicked off on Remembrance Day as the Argos looked to punch their ticket to the East Final in Montreal.
The Eskimos would strike first on a 91-yard, nine play drive that would be highlighted by a 40+ yard run by running back Hugh Charles. Quarterback Kerry Joseph would cap the drive with an 11-yard TD strike to slotback Cary Koch who made a diving grab at the front pylon. 7-0 Eskimos early.
Following the score, the Argos and Esks would trade possessions and both offensive units would struggle to move the ball.
Jordan Younger would drop a sure interception on a Kerry Joseph deep ball and a Grant Shaw punt would pin the Argos deep in their own territory. Another two-and-out would follow, the second in as many possessions.
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That is when the first turnover of the football game would come. Former Argos running back Cory Boyd would fumble the football at the end of the first quarter and the ball would be scooped up by Defensive End Ronald Flemons, his first recovery of the season.
It would look like the turnover was all for not as Ricky Ray would appear to get picked off in the end zone. However, recently extended Head Coach Scott Milanovich would challenge the play and the call would be over turned. A huge momentum swing for a struggling Double Blue offence.
On the next play, Chad Kackert would take a check down pass from Ray and scramble through some defenders for the 12-yard score. All tied up with 12 minutes left in the half.
The Esks would go two-and-out on their next possession and be forced to punt. That’s when Chad Owens would finally break through.
Owens would take the Grant Shaw punt back 59-yards for the touchdown. It would be his first return TD of the season and his first return since October 10, 2011 at Montreal. A big special teams play from a unit that has struggled at times this season would pace the Argos to a 14-7 lead.
Fred Stamps would finally make his presence felt, catching a deep ball on the next Esks possession. However, some huge pressure from the Argos defence would see another turnover come the Argos way.
Joseph would attempt a flip pass to Hugh Charles and rookie LB Marcus Ball, the Argos nominee for Best Defensive Player, would step in front of the pass and intercept it. He would take it back deep into Esks territory.
The Argos offence would finish what the defence started as Ray would find WR Maurice Mann for an 11-yard TD to the right pylon. 21-7, and the Argos had all the momentum.
Towards the end of the half, the Argos would add a field goal as Waters would nail a 34-yard field goal to stretch the Argos lead to 24-7.
It looked like that is where the team's would head into the half, but Ricky Ray had other plans. He orchestrated a drive downfield and wrapped up the 31 point quarter with a seven yard scamper into paydirt.
The 31 second quarter points scored by the boatmen would be the most in CFL playoff history in one quarter.
Going into halftime the Argos would lead the Eastern Semi-Final 31-7.
A change at quarterback would come for the Eskimos in the second half as Coach Kavis Reed would make the call and hand the offence over to rookie QB Matt Nichols.
Nichols and company would strike first in the second half as Grant Shaw would nail his first field goal attempt of the day. The boot would cut the lead to 31-10 for Double Blue.
That’s when a huge blow would come for the Esks as Matt Nichols would be forced from the game with a gruesome leg injury. He would be carted off the field after he was chased down from behind by DE Ronald Flemons. Kerry Joseph would check back in at quarterback for the Eskimos.
The Argos would tack on a single after a 39-yard field goal miss from Waters would sail wide but would make its way out the back of the end zone. 32-10 Argos.
Swayze would tack on another field goal on the next Argos drive, this time connecting from 38-yards out.
Kerry Joseph would add a TD and a two point convert to bring the Esks deficit to 35-18 but it was too little too late with just 3 minutes left in the game.
Chad Kackert however, would put an exclamation on the Eastern Semi-Final as he added a late TD run to stretch the lead to 42-18 in favour of the Boatmen.
With the game out of hand, Coehoorn would tack on a TD with 23 seconds left but the game was already done. Argos move on to the East Final and face division rival Montreal next Sunday.
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