Goodwin's deflection throws Argos off course


November 13, 1994|By Roch Eric Kubatko | Roch Eric Kubatko,Sun Staff Writer

Matt Goodwin's knack for blocking punts came in handy yesterday. It turned the game in the Baltimore CFLs' favor.

The CFLs were trailing the Toronto Argonauts 10-3 early in the second quarter. Tracy Ham had just thrown an interception. The first football playoff game at Memorial Stadium in 17 years was beginning to look like a dud.

Then came two incompletions from Toronto's Marvin Graves, the call for punter Wayne Lammle, and Goodwin's fourth block this season.

"I only got a little bit of it," Goodwin said. "I think I blocked it with my elbow, I was in there so quick."

Seven plays later, Baltimore had the tying touchdown on a 1-yard plunge by Robert Drummond. And by halftime, the CFLs were ahead by 10 points and on their way to next Sunday's East Division final, winning, 34-15.

Baltimore's special teams were an integral part of yesterday's victory, especially their ability to contain Mike "Pinball" Clemons, Toronto's explosive kick returner who had just 11 yards off five punts. His longest gain was 8 yards.

"The first game against Toronto [a 28-20 win July 7], he ran two back and one was called back," Goodwin said. "Nobody wanted that to happen again.

"We got some really good punts from Josh [Miller]; they hung up in the air a while, and [Clemons] sat there waiting for them and we had three or four guys around him the whole time. You never quit on a guy like Pinball."

Said Alvin Walton: "You know at any time he'll break one, so we were worried about containing him, keeping him in the middle of the field, keeping him bottled up."

By doing so, the CFLs kept themselves in the hunt for the Grey Cup.

Moving thought

CFL commissioner Larry Smith, who attended yesterday's game, said the league is exploring the possibility of moving the Las Vegas franchise to either Birmingham or San Antonio.

Smith also said the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, in one week, have sold 4,000 seats for next year. They must sell 12,500 and get $1 million in corporate sponsorship by Dec. 23, or lose the franchise.

Sixty percent of the seats sold are new subscribers.

Smith stood on the 55-yard line with CFLs owner Jim Speros before kickoff and thanked the fans for their support.

Regular crew

It may seem that Baltimore's 37-man roster has undergone many changes over the course of the year, but 20 players dressed for all 18 regular-season games, including all five defensive backs (Charles Anthony, Karl Anthony, Michael Brooks, Irvin Smith and Ken Watson). Thirty played in at least 14 games.


Baltimore running back Mike Pringle, whose groin injury sidelined him for yesterday's game, was honored at halftime for setting the single-season rushing record with 1,972 yards. He was given a plaque by Willie Burden, who held the record of 1,896 yards for 19 years. . . . The ceremonial coin toss was performed by Johnny Unitas, who was given a rousing ovation. . . . The Baltimore Colts marching band donned its new uniforms, paid for by Speros at a cost of $45,000, for its halftime performance. The shirts were gray, dark blue and white, and the pants were dark blue with a white stripe down each leg. . . . Actor Daniel Baldwin, who stars in the NBC detective series "Homicide," watched the game from Speros' private box. . . . CFLs spokesman Mike Gathagan said 270 press credentials were issued for the game, including 98 for field photographers and 98 for the press box. The only other time he needed to distribute that many was when Doug Flutie and the Calgary Stampeders came to Memorial Stadium for the regular-season home opener July 16. . . . Toronto requested 200 tickets, the most it has asked for in any city this year. Defensive tackle Swift Burch, a native of Washington, D.C., wanted 50. . . . The East and West Division finals are Sunday and will be shown by CBC as a doubleheader. The East game begins at 1:30 p.m., followed by the West game at 4:30 p.m. The two playoff games yesterday began at 4 p.m. and were regional telecasts because the CBC committed to an equestrian competition.

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