While Don Matthews was busy filling out his citizenship forms and preparing to take his oath, one wonders if Joe Paopao wasn’t covering his bets with forms of his own. Going into battle with the Montreal Alouettes with basically the back up squad, resulted in a thrashing of which we haven’t seen since the early days of the re-born Renegades.
By Half time Paopao would be forgiven if he hadn’t applied for the witness protection program, such was the carnage on the floor of the Big O Saturday afternoon.
Like a tonic for a weary squad, the Alouettes recaptured their game on Saturday, Anthony Calvillo delegating pass reception among his four key receivers and handing the ball off regularly to his running backs. The Alouettes celebrated citizenship day in fine style as they routed the Renegades 52-21. Ottawa was never in the game and seemed to score points only when Montreal took some mental breaks from the action on the field.
With Kerry Joseph and Darnell Kennedy out of action due to injuries the starting QB duties for Ottawa fell to Brad Roberts, who received his first start in the CFL. The former Heisman Trophy nominee had a bit of success at times, but could not sustain a drive and ran into trouble frequently at the hands of the veteran Montreal defence. The bulk of the Rens scoring came off of two passes one to Yo Murphy and the other to Sean Bennett, Banks finished off the Renegade scoring with a one yard run for a touchdown of his own.
Ben Cahoon accounted for almost half of all Alouette scoring as he registered three touchdown receptions in the blow out. With the win the Alouettes put an end to their October swoon, stopping the losing skid a three games. A large and boisterous crowd of over 53,000 took in the action and loved every minute of it. The Alouette offence set a new CFL record for reception yardage, as they now have four receivers who have accumulated over 1000 yards in a season. The Fab four in red, white and blue are: Ben Cahoon, Jermaine Copeland, Kwami Cavil and Thyron Anderson. Wherever Anthony Cavillo turns there’s somebody around ready to catch a ball, a QB can’t ask for more than that from a receiving corps.
The game became a tune up affair for the Als, as they got all facets of their game on the same page at the expense of an obviously outmanned Renegade squad. From the offence, to the defence and on to the special teams they Als finally found the form they had at the start of the year.
The newly Canadianized Matthews must have found the effort rewarding, as Montreal gets back into the winning mind set just in time for the Eastern playoffs.
The Big O will be filled again in three weeks when the Als host either Toronto or Hamilton in the Eastern division showdown. This will make for a day where the Als possibly triple the usual attendance of Molson stadium’s cosy confines.
For Paopao and the Renegades this season can’t come to a merciful end any faster. The slide down the standings, the bickering in the front office and the horrendous injuries week after week has finally taken its toll on what had been a promising start to the 2004 campaign. For the most part this now a discouraged and frustrated football team, waiting for the other shoe to drop. Now all that is left is for the final finger pointing and the farewells.
This team will be pulled apart and rebuilt anew for next year. The Renegades will be an off season renovation project in need of a foreman and some supervisors. With Eric Tillman expected to be leaving for other pastures, it will be interesting to see if Paopao survives the off season inquiry. That is if he hasn’t been give a new identify and new home by the time the post mortem is held.
Don Matthews swore the oath of allegiance on Saturday, Paopao would be forgiven if he did some swearing of his own, except none of his words would have anything to do with a Queen or loyalty to country.