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Palardy pushes Winnipeg to win over Argonauts

Jul 9, 2011 - 4:09 AM Winnipeg, MB (Sports Network) - Justin Palardy knocked through a pair of field goals in the fourth quarter as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers slipped by the Toronto Argonauts, 22-16, at Canad Inns Stadium.

Palardy connected on field goals of 34 and 23 yards in the final frame to get the Blue Bombers (2-0) off to a perfect start to the 2011 CFL campaign after the squad won only twice in the first nine games of last season and captured a mere four victories for the entire 2010 slate.

The Winnipeg kicker hit on 4-of-6 field goal chances and finished the night with a total of 14 points for the hosts. Quarterback Buck Pierce converted 21- of-34 passes for 165 yards and also ran for another 34 yards in the triumph.

Palardy's counterpart, Noel Prefontaine, helped to carry the Argos (1-1) as he too made good on a pair of field goals (43 and 44 yards) in the fourth period and finished with 10 points altogether in the losing cause. Toronto quarterback Cleo Lemon converted 23-of-32 for 248 yards on the night, but was picked off once and was subjected to seven sacks.

Prefontaine kicked off the night's scoring for Toronto with a 21-yard field goal less than three minutes into the first quarter. Toronto receiver Jeremaine Copeland helped set up the field goal thanks to a 45-yard reception. Copeland finished the night with five receptions for 107 yards.

Shortly thereafter, Palardy was credited with a single, capping a brief five- play, 16-yard drive to make the score 3-1 after 15 minutes of action.

Winnipeg running back Fred Reid was responsible for getting the Bombers out into the lead in the second period when he hit the end zone on a four-yard run to make the score 8-3. Finishing off the final possession of the first half, Palardy booted a 40-yard field goal to give Winnipeg an awkward 11-3 edge at the break.

Early in the third quarter Winnipeg struck again, this time earning a couple of points when Prefontaine conceded in the end zone for a safety, advancing the Blue Bomber lead to 13-3.

Lemon finally got the Toronto offense into gear when his nine-yard touchdown run at the 6:10 mark of the frame cut the Argos deficit to 13-10.

Palardy's leg again played a crucial role for Winnipeg as he converted a 32- yard field goal later in the third to give the home team a 16-10 edge heading into the final 15 minutes of play.

Winnipeg's advantage swelled to 19-10 on the 34-yard FG by Palardy to open the fourth quarter, but the Argos refused to go away quietly and used the two field goals by Prefontaine to make the score 19-16 with just over two minutes remaining in the contest.

Toronto appeared to be on the move again, but Chad Owens was guilty of turning the ball over on a fumble after he reeled in a pass for the visitors.

Following the last of Palardy's field goals with 52 seconds remaining in regulation, the Argonauts saw their hopes dashed when Lemon fumbled a snap at midfield and defensive tackle Don Oramasionwu recovered for the Bombers to extinguish the threat.

Winnipeg defensive tackle Doug Brown, who was credited with two sacks himself, was keenly aware of how important the victory was for the Blue Bombers.

"Good teams are supposed to win at home and that is what we did today," Brown said after the game. "We have to take these little steps and add them all together."

The pressure on Lemon broke down countless plays and forced the signal-caller to lose control of the football several times which disrupted any rhythm he may have had at any point in the contest.

"Something we preached, we said as a team, we want to be the best ball- security team and the best take-away team in the league," Winnipeg head coach Paul LaPolice stated. "I think we are on that course, so we have to continue."

Game Notes

Toronto split the first two games of last season and after seven games was an impressive 5-2 before winning just four more games the rest of the way...Lemon, now in his second season in the league, finished with more INTs (19) than TDs (15) a year ago...Reid finished the contest with 19 carries for 63 yards...Toronto won all three matchups between the squads a season ago, the last win for Winnipeg being a 29-24 final September 26, 2009.