Aside from his 56th birthday, Danny Maciocia had little to celebrate on Friday night. His team faced the Rouge et Noir, in Ottawa, in the first preseason game of the season. Despite a 22-21 victory in extremis for the Alouettes, the general manager would certainly have liked a more convincing performance from his team.
It took just over 51 minutes before the Rouge et Noir scored the first touchdown of the game. Prior to Daniel Oladejo’s catch in the end zone, every point had been scored through field goal kicks.
As for the Alouettes, they scored their first – and only – touchdown of the game with less than two minutes remaining in the game, courtesy of Quartney Davis.
Like Rudy in the hit film of the same name, Maltos finished the encounter on his teammates’ shoulders with his fists in the air.
Yet this victory has very little value. In fact, it will have no bearing on the rest of the season. The Alouettes can, however, celebrate having toppled a team that sent their A roster onto the field, while the Sparrows decided to dress the B team, or even C.
One thing is certain, barring a disaster, Cody Fajardo will be the starting quarterback on June 10 in the first game of the season. He was not in uniform on Friday, so that the team’s three candidates for the second quarterback position could be evaluated.
Head coach Jason Maas started the match with Caleb Evans, a former Rouge et Noir. The 24-year-old quarterback had an unconvincing start. He had difficulty throwing passes quickly and his reading was poor on many plays.
Maas had mentioned before the meeting a possible rotation between the quarters during the match. However, it may have happened sooner than expected. After just two unsuccessful streaks, Evans was replaced by Davis Alexander. The latter had spent his first season in the CFL with the Als last year.
Late in the game, he was the one who sent the ball in Davis’s direction for the touchdown, thanks to an accurate 26-yard pass and clever reading.
Late in the third quarter, Mike Glass III entered the game. The lowest quarter in the hierarchy, it was he who orchestrated the victorious comeback.
With the departure of Eugene Lewis during the free agent period, the Alouettes will have the heavy mandate to make up for the loss of one of the most prolific receivers on the circuit.
With the signing of Greg Ellingson, the team has secured the services of a reliable receiver, but a bit of depth will certainly help the Montreal team’s cause.
Ellingson wasn’t in uniform, so it was an opportunity for the other receivers to woo the leaders. At first glance, all eyes were on Austin Mack. The former NFL player looked good, standing out for yardage after catch. It will certainly take more to completely reassure the Alouettes’ staff, but there is room for optimism in his case. Especially since his outfit since the start of the team’s camp in Trois-Rivières has been impeccable.
The other interesting case is that of Davis. With 87, Lewis’ old number, he may be playing with a little more pressure. One thing is certain, he can handle himself. His catch, very similar to what Lewis could do in the same uniform, as well as his layout on the sequence allowed him to shine.
By the way, there will still be a lot of work on Maas’ drawing board regarding the ground attack, as it was miserable in this first game, especially in the short win and first down attempts. The lack of cohesion between the players and the offensive line is undoubtedly to blame, but there is certainly a lot of progress to be made if Maas and his coaches are to deploy their strategy properly.
However, they will have the chance to recover next week at Percival-Molson Stadium, when the majority of the team’s starters are expected to take to the field.