The Alouettes are playing their best football at the right time of year.
The Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League (CFL) just completed their most successful regular season in 11 years, finishing with 11 wins and seven losses. This effort earned the squad a spot in the Grey Cup playoffs with home field advantage in the first round.
The CFL is the Canadian equivalent to the wildly-popular National Football League (NFL) in the United States. Although there are some differences in the rules between the two leagues, the CFL puts out a good brand of football to the spectators that have watched over its storied history. Locally, the Alouettes have won seven Grey Cup championships, most recently in 2010. In 2023, they will try to hoist the historic trophy once again.
This season has been successful for the Alouettes. The 2022 offseason saw the Alouettes lose quarterback Trevor Harris, as well as star wide receivers Jake Wieneke and Geno Lewis, but the team filled the spots successfully. Newly-acquired quarterback Cody Fajardo stayed healthy, something the Alouettes desperately needed, playing all 18 regular season games this year. He also found a connection with former NFL player Austin Mack, who finished the season fourth in passes caught among all CFL receivers.
These statistics are in large part due to Concordia alum Kristian Matte, who was a CFL East All-Star in 2019 and 2021, and the rest of the offensive line. Montreal’s strong defense protected Fajardo from getting sacked and helped keep opponents off the scoreboard. Montreal gave up the second-least amount of points this season.
On Nov. 4, the Alouettes hosted the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the CFL Playoff East Semi-Final. In front of a 20,127 fan sell out at Percival Molson Memorial Stadium, the Alouettes punched their ticket to the CFL Playoff East Final with a 27-12 win. Running back William Stanback led both teams in rushing yards, finishing the game with 95 and giving Fajardo extra options when passing yards were hard to come by.
This year’s East Semi-Final was a rematch from last year’s and so will be the East Final on Nov. 11 against the Toronto Argonauts. Last year, the Alouettes beat Hamilton 28-17, but ran into the Argonauts (who would go on to win the Grey Cup), losing a heartbreaker, 34-27. Montreal is hoping history doesn’t repeat itself in 2023.
It will surely be a tough test for the Alouettes this year if they want to clinch a berth in the 110th Grey Cup Final. Toronto finished this season with 16 victories out of 18 games and haven’t lost a single game at home. However, the Alouettes haven’t lost since Sep. 15, winning five straight games and finding themselves two wins away from becoming champions.