Christmas is still a month away but that doesn’t mean a present can’t come early. The Montreal Alouettes have booked their ticket into the Eastern Final of the Canadian Football league post-season, posting a respectful 11-7 record during the 2008-2009 campaign.
The Al’s have several players running for CFL honors, such as Anthony Calvillo (Most Outstanding Player), Ben Cahoon (Most Outstanding Canadian), and finally the big man Scott Flory (Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman).
Calvillo is having one of his best seasons of his career, amounting to his league-leading 5,624 passing yards and his career high of 43 touchdowns in a single season. Not surprising, his favorite target Ben Cahoon is also having a tremendous season receiving for 1,227 yards. This is his seventh season receiving for more than 1000 yards.
There are also some other stars on the rise, such as running back Avon Cobourne from the University of West Virgina. He is in the midst of his best career since signing with the Al’s in 2006, rushing for 950 yards and receiving for more than 600 yards.
Another star on the horizon is rookie Larry Taylor who leads the league in missed field goal returns and is third overall in kickoff returns (24.5 yards).
None of this would have been possible without the acquisition of head coach Marc Trestman who transformed the team in such a short period. The team went from an 8-10 record in 2007 to an 11-7 record in 2008.
The Alouettes are six points ahead of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and look to be sailing into the East final.
Montreal is the host city of the Grey Cup this year and several festivities are on root, such as a huge billboard counting down the days to the Grey Cup on the corner of Peel and Rene-Levesque, and a Grey Cup village hosting five days of parties for fans situated in the heart of downtown, also including a family day for families and their children.
The fans are also anxious to see the Al’s make it to the Grey Cup. “Hopefully our defense steps up and our offense can produce, and let’s hope Calvillo can make a difference,” expressed Anthony Vignone who plays for the St. Leonard Cougars Junior AAA football team and hopeful Alouette prodigy.
Jonathan Pietandrea who’s been an Al’s fan for 18 years knows “Calvillo and Cahoon can produce just like they have during the season”. Not everyone agrees, suggests David Gubstapi of Dawson College. “The Al’s have no key players and will sink under the pressure."
The East final is scheduled for November 15th, 2008.