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Tales From Taylor Field – Reliving the Thrilling Riders vs Alouettes 2010 Canada Day Season Opener

Published: Monday, Jul 1st 2024, 9:07am

By Alex Dormuth (@RealAlexD)

 

July 1st, 2010. A day, like many of you, I will never forget. A game 215 days in the making. The rematch. Redemption day. It was the Canada Day season opener at Taylor Field between the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Montreal Alouettes. 

Mere months before this game, we witnessed (some of us in person) one of the worst days in Roughriders history. So this home opener, this rematch… it meant something more. It wasn’t just a kickoff to a new season. This was a game that us Rider fans NEEDED to have, the TEAM needed to have. And it needed to be a win. And for awhile, it sure didn’t look like it.

 

View from Section 27 Row 34 Seat 7

 

Sitting, well, standing, up there in Section 27, Row 34, Seat 7 was always my favourite place to be. I loved my decade in that spot, it was a second home to me. Like every other season opener, we get to our seats and say hello to the season ticket family around us that we hadn’t seen in months. But this year there was angst. The bitter taste of how 2009 ended was lingering. But we all knew the task. We all knew we as fans had to bring our A game for this one. 

 

Anthony Calvillo and the Alouettes did a good job of shutting us up for a while. After their long missed field goal return for a touchdown (side note, Rob Bagg was FAST on this play trying to track down the returner), the Als had a commanding 3 score lead. That’s it, the game is over, it just wasn’t our day and wasn’t meant to be today. Then figurative lightning struck. Darian Durant hit Rob Bagg deep for an 87 yard touchdown. GAME. ON. 

 

We got louder and louder in the stands and the Riders kept clawing back and eventually tied the game late with a Durant TD pass to Andy Fantuz. How the refs didn’t call that a TD to begin with is STILL beyond me, but they eventually got it right and we are off to overtime. By that time, I had no voice. Gone, all of it. But, like the Riders had that day, I had to dig deep and get ready for an OT the team needed me for. 

 

We get possession first and score a TD with the 2 point conversion. HOLY CRAP WE’RE LEADING IT NOW! The Riders might actually pull this comeback off! And then S.J. Green gets behind EVERYONE, is left WIDE OPEN, but the ball is thrown too far. INCOMPLETE! The Riders win 48-40!! WE HAVE OUR REDEMPTION!

 

Oh, just a second, my friends. There’s a penalty flag. What is it?? Too. Many. Men. Saskatchewan. ARE. YOU. KIDDING?? It could have been offside, roughing the passer, PI, LITERALLY anything but this. What has haunted us here in Riderville for 6 months has returned and the PTSD hits. It doesn’t happen often, but I was left speechless. What do you say when this happens. What can you say when this happens?

And then Calvillo picks on Donovan Alexander (yet again) for an S.J. Green touchdown. But it’s okay, we get loud immediately after that to try and affect the two point convert. Then we see what might be the greatest catch in CFL history, Green again, in the back of the endzone on a ball we thought was thrown WAY out of bounds. He one hands it, his elbow hits in bounds first… tie game. Again, speechless. Wow. Off to a second OT minigame we go.

SJ Green – photo courtesy Montreal Alouettes

 

Luckily, the Riders defense holds and Montreal settles for a field goal. 51-48. Riders ball. I remember thinking, it’s 3 down territory no matter what. We can’t play for a tie here. Not against this team, not with the way the last two meetings have gone. I’d rather go down fighting and lose this game than it ending up in a tie. 

 

Durant, on the first play of the second Riders possession goes deep, hits Weston Dressler who gets down to the 3 yard line, a play that goes right in front of us on the east side. LFG!! We’re bouncing up and down on those wooden benches, but we have to calm down. The team needs us to be quiet for the next play. Play-action fake to Wes Cates, Durant slides to his left and throws it low. TOUCHDOWN! WESTON. EFFING. DRESSLER!!! THE RIDERS WIN!! 54-51!! REVENGE, REDEMPTION!! IT’S OURS!!

 

The crowd at Taylor Field is going NUTS, probably the loudest I’ve ever heard that building immediately after a win. But I’m not yelling. Until the day I die, I’ll remember just standing there, smiling, looking around at the fans around me, hugging each other, high fives everywhere. Then one of the season ticket family in the row ahead of me turns around to high five me, but I legitimately have no energy left. I cheered it all out. I had nothing left to give that day. I double over and give the biggest exhales I think I’ve ever had in my life. 

 

At that moment, I realized the magnitude of what just happened. The win. The LOVE for the team shown by the fans. The Rider freakin’ Pride! That was the greatest regular season game ever (at least in my lifetime). I don’t think people realized it at the time, but I remember taking that five seconds to live in the moment, to separate myself from my surroundings to see what we just saw. It almost felt out of body, it was weird. 

But it was a moment that is etched in my memory. I’ll never forget the Canada Day opener in 2010. Happy Canada Day, Rider Nation!

 

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