TORONTO – It is not very often that a team has the opportunity to hoist the Grey Cup trophy on their home turf. It happened in Vancouver in 2011 as the B.C Lions defeated the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, becoming the first team since 1994 to win the Grey Cup at home.
The Toronto Argonauts have accomplished that very same feat in 2012 as they defeated the Calgary Stampeders 35-22 on Sunday night to win the 100th Grey Cup at Rogers Centre.
Dating back to 1970, the Argonauts and Stampeders had met on only two occasions in the Grey Cup. In 1971, Calgary defeated Toronto in a low scoring affair in which a total of only 25 points were scored. Two decades later in 1991, the Argonauts’ claimed their franchise’s eleventh Grey Cup title with a 36-21 victory over the Stampeders.
The Argonauts’ entered Sunday’s 100th Grey Cup on a five-game winning streak dating back to their playoff clinching victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders on October 27.
After receiving the opening kickoff, Argonauts quarterback Ricky Ray would be intercepted by Stampeders’ defensive back, Quincy Butler. Luckily for the Double Blue, the Argos’ defence would hold and force the Stampeders to punt.
On the ensuing Stampeders’ offensive possession, Jon Cornish fumbled and Ricky Foley would recover giving the Argonauts’ favourable field position at Calgary’s 49-yard line. The Argonauts’ would convert the turnover into points as the Flyin’ Hawaiian Chad Owens capped a six-play, 44-yard drive with a five-yard touchdown reception giving the Argonauts a 7-0 lead early on.
Rene Paredes would get the Stampeders’ on the board later in the first quarter with a 30-yard field goal cutting the deficit to 7-3.
Pacino Horne’s first career pick-six early in the second quarter would extend the Argonauts’ lead to 14-3. The 25-yard interception return was the longest of the season for Horne.
Swayze Waters connected on a 16-yard field goal later in the quarter to extend Toronto’s lead to fourteen.
Kevin Glenn’s 61-yard completion to Nik Lewis led the Stampeders’ inside the Argonauts’ 20-yard line where the Double Blue defence would hold Calgary to another field goal.
The Argonauts’ would answer Calgary’s scoring drive with an impressive seven-play, 75-yard drive touchdown drive capped off by Jarious Jackson’s one-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver, Dontrelle Inman. The Argos’ would head into halftime with a commanding 24-6 lead.
The Calgary Stampeders would cut into the Argonauts lead early in the third quarter as Rene Paredes connected on a 27-yard field goal. Paredes finished the game 4-for-4 on field goal attempts.
Swayze Waters would respond for the Argonauts’ as he split the uprights on a 20-yard field goal to extend the Argos’ lead to 24-9.
The Argonauts’ would catch a break later on in the quarter as Larry Taylor’s 105-yard kickoff return was denied due to a holding penalty on Keon Raymond.
The Argos’ victory would not come without controversy as Adriano Belli was ejected from the game late in the third quarter. Belli was penalized for unnecessary roughness and was immediately thrown out of the football game.
On the final play of the third quarter, the Argonauts’ elected to concede a safety as they were pinned at their own two-yard line.
Following an Ahmad Carroll pass interference penalty, Rene Paredes would convert on a 19-yard field goal attempt at the beginning of the fourth quarter, cutting the deficit to 27-14.
The Argonauts’ would throw away any Calgary comeback hopes as Andre Durie recorded a seven-yard touchdown reception putting the Argos comfortably ahead 34-14 with less than six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
Noel Prefontaine would record a single-point late in the quarter to extend the lead to 35-14. Maurice Price added a meaningless touchdown with less than one minute to play.
Argos’ running back, Chad Kackert was named the 100th Grey Cup’s Most Valuable Player. Kackert recorded an astonishing 133 yards rushing along with 62 yards receiving on eight receptions.
Ricky Foley was named the game’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player as he recorded four tackles and one sack in the Argonauts’ victory.
Argos’ quarterback, Ricky Ray claimed his third Grey Cup Championship on Sunday night. He finished the game 18-of-30 with 231 yards passing, two touchdowns, and one interception.
The Argonauts’ are Grey Cup Champions for the first time since the 2004 CFL season.
– Daniele Franceschi –