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Alouettes rally to beat Stampeders 30-26 to remain unbeaten

MONTREAL — They left it pretty late, but the Montreal Alouettes scored 15 unanswered points in the final quarter to beat the Calgary Stampeders 30-26 and keep their unbeaten streak alive at Percival Molson Stadium on Saturday night.
Calgary Stampeders quarterback Tommy Stevens (15) is congratulated by teammates on his touchdown against the Montreal Alouettes during first half CFL football action in Montreal, Saturday, July 6, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christinne Muschi

MONTREAL — They left it pretty late, but the Montreal Alouettes scored 15 unanswered points in the final quarter to beat the Calgary Stampeders 30-26 and keep their unbeaten streak alive at Percival Molson Stadium on Saturday night.

The Alouettes, with five wins in as many games, took a late 30-26 lead after running back Walter Fletcher ran the ball in from 31 yards with 63 seconds left in the CFL contest.

“My coaches always put together a game plan, and I might not always get a carry, but even a simple check down is a touch for me,” Fletcher said following the comeback victory.

“The beauty about my game is that I’m a receiving back, and I try to make a play every time I get the ball.”

Fletcher was a threat in the passing game, tallying 104 yards through the air on nine receptions. Fletcher became the fourth different Alouettes' receiver to register a 100-yard game this season.

Tyson Philpot reached the 100-yard mark for the third time this campaign, catching 12 passes for 134 yards.

Montreal quarterback Cody Fajardo had another strong outing, completing 35-of-42 passing attempts for 374 yards and two touchdown tosses. The 32-year-old also accumulated 35 rushing yards on four carries.

Fajardo led the Alouettes on an impressive drive down the field to claim the late lead, pulling off a 39-yard pass to Philpot to move into field-goal range with time winding down.

“There’s a lot of belief in this locker room,” Fajardo said about his team's resiliency. “When the chips are stacked against us, and everybody wants to point fingers at us, we don’t point fingers at each other.”

Calgary starter Jake Maier completed 18 passes for 106 yards and a touchdown in the loss.

The Stampeders were especially effective with their run game, totalling 148 yards on the ground, led by Peyton Logan (65 yards) and backup QB Tommy Stevens (49 yards).

“The hard part is you put that much effort into something and you feel like you deserved a better fate, and it doesn’t come through for you,” Stampeders head coach Dave Dickenson said. “You gotta make sure you reload and do it again and again and again.”

The Alouettes were sloppy in possession on the night, notably giving up an interception and a fumble on consecutive drives early in the second quarter. Montreal turned it around in the second half, putting together long drives and consistently finishing with points on the board.

“The turnovers were uncharacteristic for us,” Fajardo said. “I felt like we put together good drives, we just kept kicking field goals instead of finishing with touchdowns.”

Als' star defensive back Marc-Antoine Dequoy left the game with an injury in the second quarter and did not return to the field. Head coach Jason Maas told reporters after the game that they’ll get an update on Dequoy’s status on Sunday.

An interception by Dionté Ruffin with 32 seconds left in the game sealed the win for Montreal.

A Montreal field goal by backup kicker Jose Carlos Maltos brought the score to 26-24 at the 5:07 mark of the fourth quarter, setting up the exciting finish.

Maltos was a late addition to the lineup after starting kicker David Cote was ruled out with an injury just before kickoff. For Maas, it was yet another example of the Alouettes flexing their strength in depth.

“We talk about The Hangar for a reason,” Maas said after the win. “Guys that are in our building, we expect them to play, like the 45 guys that are chosen to play on that day.”

Cole Spieker caught a 15-yard touchdown pass to cut the Alouettes’ deficit to 26-21 with 11:36 remaining in the contest. Montreal’s subsequent two-point conversation was unsuccessful.

Maltos converted on a 22-yard field goal to bring the score to 26-15 ahead of the final frame.

Rene Paredes’ 31-yard field goal with 6:23 to go in the third quarter padded Calgary’s 26-12 lead.

Maltos’ field goal cut the deficit to 23-12 as the teams headed in for the halftime break.

The Stampeders extended their lead 23-9 when Maier hit Reggie Begelton on a six-yard pass for a touchdown at the 1:36 mark in the second frame.

Calgary’s extra point attempt was blocked by Mustafa Johnson and returned down the length of the field by Kabion Ento to bring the score to 16-9 at the 2:36 mark of the second quarter.

An interception by Bentlee Sanders helped set up the Stampeders’ next scoring drive, capped off by a one-yard rush into the end zone by Stevens to make it 16-7 with 2:39 remaining in the first half.

Paredes put Calgary ahead 10-7 at 10:02 of the second frame with a 22-yard field goal.

The Stampeders tied the game at 7-7 with 1:31 left in the first quarter, with Stevens punching the ball in the end zone from the one-yard line after his 39-yard rush put his team in scoring position.

Kaion Julien-Grant opened the scoring at 6:47 of the first quarter on a five-yard pass from Fajardo to make it 7-0 after the Alouettes marched down the field 45 yards on seven plays.


Stampeders: Visit the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (1-4) on Friday.

Alouettes: Host the Toronto Argonauts (2-2) on Thursday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 6, 2024.

Olivier Neven, The Canadian Press

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