Weyburn’s own Brendan LaBatte was front and centre Saturday afternoon during the Roughriders 34-28 loss to the Montreal Alouettes, but it wasn’t because of his play.
In the second quarter between the whistles, Montreal linebacker Shea Emery punched LaBatte in the groin area and was subsequently ejected from the game.
“I had respect for him up until then. I knew the kind of player he was and that guys had labelled him as dirty … as long as it’s in between the play it’s all fair, but when you start doing stuff like that as we are lining up for (an extra point) that’s just being a goon and classless in my opinion,” said LaBatte after the game.
The loss for the Riders was the second in a row. With the Stampeders, improving their record to 10-6, with their win on Saturday night over Hamilton the Riders clinched a playoff spot, because with the loss Hamilton (5-11) can’t catch the Riders (8-8).
However, with the Stampeder win and the Rider loss the Green and White no longer can catch the Stampeders and host a home playoff game at Mosiac Stadium in Regina.
The Riders still remain ahead of Edmonton (7-9), who lost against BC this weekend. If the Eskimos are able to catch the Riders in the remaining two games and finish tied with Saskatchewan they will finish in third place in the West because they own the tie breaker, by winning the season series between the two teams. If Edmonton catches the Riders, the Green and White will then have to cross over to the East, where they will play Toronto in the Eastern Semi-final.
The loss on Saturday was LaBatte’s second game back after his return from an upper-body injury that sidelined him for several weeks.
LaBatte got the start at left guard against the Alouettes replacing veteran non-import, Chris Best in the starting lineup.
The Saturday game was impacted greatly by the 50-mile-per-hour winds that plagued and benefited both offenses. The Riders scored all their offensive points in the first and fourth quarters when they had the wind at their backs. The only other points came in the second quarter when Weston Dressler ran a punt return back for the special teams touchdown. When throwing into the wind the Riders offense was unable to do any offensive damage.
Montreal’s offense was equally as hampered going against the torrential winds, scoring 30 of their 37 points in the second and third quarter when they had the wind against their backs.
Als 40-year-old veteran QB, Anthony Calvillo, ran for two touchdowns in the victory. It was the first time in his career that he ran for two touchdowns in a game.
Between the two teams there were only two turnovers in the game and those came late when the Riders turned the ball over on downs in their final two efforts to tie the game
The Roughriders still hold their destiny in their own hands. They play Toronto at Mosaic Stadium on Saturday at 2 p.m. and finish off the regular season in BC against the Lions the following week.