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Former Gryphons enjoy return to Guelph in CFL preseason game (4 photos)

4,000 turn out to Alumni Stadium to watch Toronto Argonauts play the Ottawa RedBlacks

Toronto Argonauts’ slotback Alex Charette had to be smiling when he heard the reigning Grey Cup champions would be playing their CFL preseason game against the Ottawa RedBlacks at Guelph’s Alumni Stadium because he’s sure had some good performances there over the years.

Thursday night Charette found the end zone on a 63-yard catch-and-run play, the longest play of the game.

“I was just thinking ‘run,’” Charette said of his first ever touchdown in a CFL game of any kind. “It was an awesome feeling. Obviously it wasn’t the result we wanted, but that play was special to me and I’ll always remember it forever.”

That catch was the lone catch of the match for Charette who found a little extra coverage following a six-catch performance in the Argos’ preseason opener a week earlier. It was also the longest play of the game won 32-17 by the RedBlacks.

It’s a play that’ll stay in Charette’s mind beside his first TD when he was with the Guelph Gryphons. That one came in a preseason scrimmage against the Concordia Stingers back in 2011 when the Alumni Stadium field was still a natural grass field.

“It was my first ever play, actually,” Charette said. “Regular season, that didn’t happen until my second year. It wasn’t that significant, I guess. I remember my longest touchdown in Waterloo.”

His first TD for the Gryphons in a regular-season game came on a seven-yard pass from quarterback Jazz Lindsey in a win over the Toronto Varsity Blues at Alumni Stadium in 2012 and the long one he remembered was a 125-yard return of a blocked field goal against the Warriors at Waterloo in 2013.

In his four seasons with the Gryphons from 2011 to 2014, Charette scored seven touchdowns at Alumni Stadium.

“It was definitely nostalgic just coming back and with all these fans,” Charette said. “I walked around the field before and I was remembering even my very first play. It was a little different, I wasn’t in the same locker room, I was in the new one, but it was surreal being here.”

While there was a possibility of five former Gryphons seeing game time, only three did. Argos’ long snapper Jake Reinhart, a Guelph native, wasn’t in the lineup and watched the game from the sidelines.

Ottawa offensive lineman Andrew Pickett suited up for the game, but he wasn’t given any playing time.

Charette played the whole game, also seeing some time on special teams.

Defensive lineman Jeff Finley played the first half for the Argos, making two defensive tackles and a special teams tackle.

Fellow Argos defensive lineman Cam Walker played the entire game on special teams and also saw a quarter of action on defence. He had a tackle and a fumble recovery.

In Thursday’s game, both teams scored one their first possessions, Ottawa getting a field goal and the Argos collecting an unconverted touchdown. The RedBlacks added an unconverted TD of their own on their next possession to gain a lead they wouldn’t give up. Ottawa led 9-7 at the end of the first quarter, 22-10 at halftime and 32-10 after the third quarter.

The game, which attracted 3,921 spectators, was the final one of the preseason for both teams.

Both are to start their regular seasons with a game against the Saskatchewan Roughriders. The Argos and Saskatchewan are to play June 15 in Regina while the RedBlacks are to host the Roughriders June 21 after getting the first-week bye.