Khari Jones on Als’ resiliency: ‘I still love the fight our team has’

HAMILTON —  Falling to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the Eastern Semi-Final 23-12, the Montreal Alouettes’ season came to an end.

After getting the go-ahead field goal during their opening drive, the Alouettes were met by an awakened Ticats’ defence and an office that hit their stride which resulted in a 20-3 deficit at halftime.

Rally as they might, with Trevor Harris finding Eugene Lewis in the end zone for six points in the third, the comeback was snuffed out by Hamilton.

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Following their loss, Khari Jones spoke candidly about the performance of his team.

“It was pretty frustrating just knowing that we were moving the ball well,” said Jones to the media. “We did some good things on offence and on defence. We were in at least field goal range before we got the turnover and that just that kind of changed the momentum of the game. It’s kind of a little microcosm of the season a little bit just because penalties were an issue, they came back to haunt us. Turnovers at times were an issue, they came back to haunt us in this game.”

Though they ultimately came up short of Eastern Final appearance, Jones admired the passion his team played with on Sunday. Starting the season out 2-4, the team as a whole had been through a lot in 2021. From injuries to their offensinve line and their quarterbacks to getting Harris up to speed amidst a playoff push, the Als fought until the very end.

“I still love the fight that our team has, I still love the drive that they have – they never gave up, we just didn’t make enough plays,” said Jones.

On the topic of Harris, Jones had nothing but compliments for him.

“I was really happy with Trevor’s play this season,” said Jones. “Coming in as he did and in a tight race and a tough situation, he’s a quality quarterback and it just didn’t go our way.”

Coming into the Eastern Semi-Final as the league’s leading rusher with 1,176 yards and a vital player in the Als’ offence, Hamilton seemingly had all the answers for William Stanback who amassed only 29 rushing yards. In addition, the Als offence as a whole was held in check on the ground as they only recorded 46 yards on the ground.

“They’re tough up front,” said Jones. “We knew that was going to be the battle. They did some good things, I wish on the second down near the goal line they made a play; wouldn’t necessarily take the call back, but we just have to win those one-on-one battles to get over the hump. Unfortunately, we didn’t win enough of them.”

Hamilton’s ability to stop the run also played a large factor in the Als’ passing game as with constant pressure on the offensive line, the unit was not able to hold blockers long enough for Harris to go through his progressions. Surrendering six sacks on the game, Jones was hoping for more from his O-line.

“Right now, they were just a little better than us up front,” said Jones. “That makes a difference when you’re just trying to find ways to make everything work and we found a few things here and there, but when you’re driving a long field all the time, you just have to put plays together. That’s a good team, they’re bound to make a play at some point and they found ways to do that.”

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