The Toronto Argonauts will pulling out all the stops for their second-place showdown against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats Friday night (7:30 p.m. ET) at the Roger Centre.
They will be relying on the leg of newly acquired kicker Noel Prefontaine, who was brought back this week from Edmonton for his second stint with the Double Blue. To make room, Toronto waived kicker Justin Medlock, who was coincidently claimed by the Eskimos on Thursday.
Having spent 10 years with the Argos before being traded to Edmonton in 2008, the 36-year-old Prefontaine is happy with the change of scenery.
“If there’s anything I’m going to take from the last two and a half years I played in [the Eskimos’] system,” the kicker told TSN.ca, “I didn’t excite the Edmonton fans as much as I would have liked.”
Igniting the crowd is something he’ll definitely need to do this week in a crucial tilt against the team’s Q.E.W. rival.
While both squads have identical 7-7 records, Hamilton holds the tiebreaker as it has won two of the last three matchups versus the Argos this season.
Each team is coming off hard-fought victories as the seesaw battle for second in the East continues.
The Boatmen rallied against the Saskatchewan Roughriders last week, thanks mainly to their special teams play.
Head coach Jim Barker reached into his bag of tricks and called a fake punt in the fourth quarter. Bryan Crawford ran the ball off the formation to the Riders’ 29-yard line, eventually leading to a 27-yard touchdown connection between quarterback Cleo Lemon and Jeremaine Copeland for the winning play.
Copeland finished the game with five receptions for 70 yards, including the red zone strike.
Perhaps more importantly, was defensive end Ricky Foley’s play to set up the drive.
The former BC Lion came off the edge on a field goal formation to block a Luca Congi attempt and rob the Riders of three points, effectively sealing the eventually 24-19 victory for his squad.
Hamilton has its own deadly weapon on defence in Stevie Baggs.
In three games since joining the Tiger-Cats in September, he has amassed nine tackles, two quarterback sacks, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries, one which went for a touchdown.
He will need to keep Lemon scrambling if the Ti-Cats hope to come out victorious. The lineman was also a big factor in Hamilton’s 36-11 drubbing of the Eskimos last week.
Quarterback Kevin Glenn played well in the victory, completing 22-of-32 pass attempts for 339 yards and three touchdowns.
Former Argonaut Arland Bruce was all over the field and caught six passes for 142 yards and a major, rounding a dangerous passing game into shape.
Toronto intercepted Roughriders’ quarterback Darian Durant twice and will need much of the same defensive intensity if it hopes to stop Hamilton’s aerial assault.
Adding to the pressure of the game is that both teams have equally tough schedules in the weeks ahead.
Toronto will face off against the East-leading Montreal Alouettes in the final two weeks of the season, while Hamilton squares off against the Alouettes and West-leading Calgary in Weeks 16 and 17.