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Friday, August 25, 2000

MAULED!

Lop-sided Argh-ohs loss expected to cost coach his job

By FRANK ZICARELLI, SUN MEDIA

TORONTO -- The noose around the neck of besieged Argos coach John Huard just got tighter.

On a night when the SkyDome's lid was open, the roof figuratively caved in on Huard and the rest of the Argos, who were embarrassed last night 51-4 by the B.C. Lions.

Most of the announced crowd of 11,350 lustily booed the Argos when they left the field at halftime trailing 34-1 and when the game's final gun mercifully sounded. Almost as many began chanting: "Fire the coach.''

The turnstile total was the lowest to watch a CFL game since the SkyDome opened in '89.

The Argos, whose record dropped to 1-6-1, have 10 days before they play the Tiger-Cats in Hamilton.

Argos managing director J.I. Albrecht, who hired Huard, was unavailable for comment last night. But a CFL official requesting anonymity said he expected Huard to be fired today.

Huard's replacement could be John Jenkins, a former offensive co-ordinator with Toronto and Hamilton who was seen watching yesterday's game with his agent, Gil Scott.

Huard doesn't believe his players, who've reportedly been poised to revolt against their militaristic coach for some time, hung him out to dry.

"I've never been hung out to dry," Huard said. "You would need some big clothes pins to do that."

QB Jimmy Kemp echoed the vast majority of Argos players afterwards when asked about Huard's uncertain future.

"I hate to see anybody go through a difficult time," said Kemp. "I don't know what's going to happen, I don't have an opinion on what's going on but we're a team."

The Argos could manage only 43 yards of offence during the opening half, along with just three first downs at intermission and very little in the way of entertainment.

In comparison, the Lions, who improved to 4-4, were running and throwing the ball very well on offence under QB Damon Allen.

New Lions coach Steve Buratto gave Allen the freedom to call his own plays for the first time this season and the veteran took advantage of his new-found luxury.

When Allen wasn't handing the ball off to Robert Drummond or Sean Millington in the backfield, he was finding his receivers open down field. When he left the game in the second half, Allen had completed 15 of 22 passes for 257 yards and two touchdowns. He also scored the game's opening touchdown.

Drummond, a former Argo, scored two rushing touchdowns for the Lions.

B.C. LIONS 51

TORONTO ARGONAUTS 4