Posted by: Jeremy | November 6, 2009

Argos set to call it a year


CFL/

Adriano Belli and the Argos look to finish on a strong note Saturday

The CFL regular season consists of 18 games over four months, but you can forgive the Argos for feeling like it’s lasted a lot longer. At 3-14 and long eliminated from postseason play, Toronto wraps up the 2009 season Saturday at Rogers Centre against the league-best Montreal Alouettes.

The Alouettes, 14-3 and locked into a first round bye, will likely spend much of the afternoon with big guns such as Anthony Calvillo and Avon Cobourne stapled to the sidelines to ensure their health for when the games actually matter. Similarly, Argos coach Bart Andrus will be sending out a few fresh faces, though for different reasons — he’s holding auditions for next year.

“It’s the last game,” Andrus said after Friday’s walk-through. “It’s their last opportunity to play and make an impression. Still, we’re approaching it from the standpoint that we’re playing to win this game.”

The most notable new face in the Argos lineup will be at quarterback. After spending almost the entire season on the practice roster, Stephen Reaves will get the ball for his first career CFL start. Reaves came in in relief last Saturday in Edmonton, completing 10-of-16 pass attempts for 122 yards and a touchdown in Toronto’s 36-10 loss.

“The last few weeks everyone has been auditioning for jobs,” Reaves said Thursday. “In this league, it seems like it could be one play that could either get you back or not get you back the next year. Personally, I see it as an audition for me.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity,” he added. “It’s not under the circumstances everyone wants, but I’m excited and hopefully we come out with a win.”

While Reaves and the Argo offense will be looking to finish on a strong note, the Toronto defense, which enters the finale amongst CFL team leaders in several major categories, is left to lament a season of strong play left to waste. Still, that doesn’t mean they’re ready to mail it in a week early.

“It’s the same mindset as every other game,” said defensive tackle Kevin Huntley, who leads the Argos and sits sixth in the CFL with nine sacks. “We want to go in and compete and do the best we can, regardless of whether they’re going to the playoffs and we’re not. We want to end the year on a good note.”

Adriano Belli, Huntley’s partner in crime on the defensive line, echoed his sentiments.

“Tomorrow’s our Grey Cup,” Belli said after the walk-through. “We’re going to go out there and have fun.

“More than anything, we feel bad for our fans, though it hasn’t been for a lack of effort. We’re going to play our hearts out.”

The Argos and Alouettes kickoff at one Saturday.

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