do-or-die for the Renegades

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Joe Paopao's Ottawa Renegades have reached their last stand.

They may resemble the maimed black knight from the Monty Python movie, but they are not done yet. Almost certainly, massive changes are in store, but for the 2005 CFL season one rallying cry remains: "Everything is on the line."

That was the head coach's message to his players yesterday.

Everything.

The club's playoff hopes, Paopao's job, his assistants' jobs and many players' jobs.

For four years, Paopao has been the great survivor. The face of the Renegades has survived an ownership change, a cost-cutting accountant's reign, a football operations power struggle, four losing seasons, 48 defeats and one giant egg last week in Hamilton.

The escape routes are now closed. Nothing short of a long post-season run can change that now, and even that might not be enough.

As reported yesterday, former CFL offensive co-ordinator John Jenkins has contractual guarantees to become the Renegades' new coach in 2006 if Paopao is not retained. Team president Lonie Glieberman claims ownership has not made a definitive call on its coach next season, saying Paopao will be evaluated after the season.

Today, that evaluation can end.

If the Renegades lose to the visiting Montreal Alouettes at Frank Clair Stadium, their post-season hopes die, and the face of the franchise changes. But should they win, the season finale next week against the Toronto Argonauts gains significance, and Paopao would be one win away from triggering an extension clause that will guarantee his salary next year, if not his job.

"We'd love to. We want to win for him," quarterback Kerry Joseph said. "Eight wins hopefully gets us to the playoffs and eight wins puts him in a good situation also."

Unlike previous seasons, the Renegades have been the beneficiaries of fortune this year.

Their injuries have been manageable, and the Joseph-Josh Ranek-Jason Armstead triumvirate has played all 16 games.

They caught the Calgary Stampeders and Saskatchewan Roughriders at the right times, winning three of four against teams that became their post-season competition.

Almost without fail, the pieces of the playoff puzzle around them have fallen into place over these past two weeks, including Toronto's division-clinching victory over the Tiger-Cats Thursday, a result that renders this game meaningless for the Alouettes.

"You know I am a strong man of faith, and I thought about that last night," Joseph said.

And, of course, the biggest break came at Frank Clair Stadium on Canada Day, when Montreal blew a 23-point fourth-quarter lead and handed the Renegades' an overtime victory.

Alouettes head coach Don Matthews has no intention of handing Ottawa a win this time.

Yesterday, Matthews said the Argonauts' result, which locked Montreal into second place in the East Division, would not change his approach whatsoever.

"We're going to try to win the game -- that's it," he said. "It's an interesting game for us. We have to see some people, get back on track and prepare for the playoffs."

The Alouettes have seven starters scratched due to injury, and they continue to tinker with their defensive scheme and personnel. But quarterback Anthony Calvillo is expected to play so long as the game is competitive, and he alone makes the Alouettes a much better club than the Tiger-Cats' outfit that stomped the Renegades last week.

"We shouldn't be underestimated," Joseph said. "We've had our struggles in the second half of the season, but we've always played well at home."

Notes: Those with ticket stubs from the Renegades-Alouettes game can purchase discounted tickets to tomorrow's Canadian Interuniversity Sport playoff game between the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees and the University of Guelph Gryphons. Adult and seniors tickets cost $5 and children's tickets cost $3 when presenting the stubs at Bank St. ticket booths. Kickoff is at 2 p.m.


the Renegades are 0-3 in games that coach paopao dubs 'must win'...so im guessin they will lose today too.

well…the game is about to begin…does Ottawa have the drive and determination to make it?

stadium looks suprisingly crowded…22 000+ fursure…lots of montrealers.
O-LAY O-LAY O-LAY O-LAYYYYYY…lol

TOUCHDOWN MONTREAL......its all over for Paopao and the Gades....
see you next year!

It is perfect football weather , on a SAT , near NOV. A game with play off implications.....and it looks and sounds like more MONTREAL fans are there than OTTAWA , fans.

well....TD Ottawa....maybe i wrote them off too soon.....time will tell

7-7

Alouettes and Cavillo off to another great start I see.......Bad defense and bad QB work.

ottawa IS showing determination this game....where was that against hamilton????

22-20 montreal, at the half

Bad defence yes
Bad QB?
You obviously don't know what you are talking about

calvillo is amazing....they defense is why they have 7 losses this year

Come on Ottawa. You must keep the East Division playoffs pure. No West teams allowed.

yeast#5....werent u cheerin for hamilton last week?

had the ti-cats lost last week, then ottawa woulda been THAT much closer to the playoffs, and preventing the cross-over.

I always cheer for the Tabbies. This is about keeping the East playoffs all East. This game means nothing to Hamilton.

It's official!
Montreal for the second straight year have 4, 1000 yard receivers!
The only team to ever do it, and quite an accomplishment by Cavillo (who calls his own plays) considering the only repeat 1000 receiver from last was Ben Cahoon!
2 Canadians in Cahoon and Stala and 2 Americans in Vaugn and Watkins and you still have Anderson and Girard.
And Cavillo once again has a chance next week of having his 2nd straight 6000 yard passing season and already has his 4th straight year of over 5000 yards tieing Doug Flutie for most ever!

29 to 23 Mon (that's the real score)

WAY TO GO MONTREAL!!! SHUT THOSE BUGGERS OUT!!!!

Sad that they are going down on the ref error saying no fumble when it was clear itwas.

43 to 23 MONTREAL

it's all over!!!!!!!!

I have nothing but the utmost contempt for the Ottawa owners and Forrest "the football Neanderthal" Gregg. As much as I like the CFL, the guys who own this franchise and Forrest Gregg are a stain on the CFL and the quality of the game in Canada.

What they have done to harm this franchise is unbelievable. They have zero credibility and they will never restore this once great franchise no matter what.

Joe Paopao has more class than the entire clowns at the top of Ottawa have seen at the circus they always seem to create.

Why the CFL owners let the Glosermans back into the League defies all logic.

Today, their team played well only to have the refs change the entire momentum on the Stala fumble that they put the game in the bag for the Also.

Like I've ranted in the other thread, "big-footed referees", the ref stalled any and every momentum Ottawa could possibly muster. Frustrating game to watch due to the ref and I'm not even a fan of either team.

Good teams go above bad calls to win.

Agreed