Sunday night’s Alouette/Argo clash will see Eric Lapointe set up on his own in the Alouette backfield. The pride of Montreal by way of Mt. Alison University, will finally have reached that rare place of honour for Canadian running backs, the main carrier of the mail in a winner take all game.
In a league that more often than not gives it’s running back spots over to highly prized and anticipated imports, Montreal has slowly developed Lapointe to the point where head coach Don Matthews will call his number out for the starting assignment in the Eastern Division final.
Lapointe has always been just on the verge of success, only to have injury send him back a few steps. He passed through, Edmonton, Hamilton and Toronto before finally landing in Montreal ironically back to the coach who first put him through his paces. Don Matthews watched Lapointe in the Eskimo training camp of 1999, but released him then as he “didn’t fit into the Eskimo plans”, interestingly enough Matthews would suffer the same fate with the Eskimos shortly thereafter.
Lapointe picked himself up, dusted himself off and landed in Hamilton as a free agent. From there it was on to Toronto and then Montreal where he has remained. Replacing Autry Denson in the Als backfield for the Eastern Final, this very well may be Lapointe’s best chance to finally establish himself as a premier CFL back.
One person who thinks that Matthews is on the right track is someone that will have to try and stop Lapointe’s run on Sunday. Argo defensive coordinator Rich Stubler describes Lapointe as the Als best back. He’ll no doubt be trying his best to make sure that Lapointe’s step into the spotlight features lots of shades of double blue.
It’s going to be a heck of a coming out party for the native of Montreal, 50,000 fans in the stands and a huge prime time TV audience following every run. So far Lapointe has met every challenge; Sunday night should not be any different!