Redblacks Offense Delivers in Last-Minute Victory Over Lions

Photo credit: Canadian Press

The Redblacks leaned on their offensive stars when they needed them most, right down to the wire. Ottawa made the timely plays necessary to come away with a clutch 29-25 victory over the BC Lions on Friday night.

Trevor Harris led a methodical game-winning drive that included a pivotal one-handed Greg Ellingson catch and ended with a two-yard William Powell push into the endzone with 49 seconds left. It completed Ottawa’s 10 point second half comeback.

“It wasn’t always pretty but I was proud of our guys for finding a way to make plays in the fourth quarter. The good teams find a way to do that so good on our players for making the plays necessary to win the game,” said Redblacks head coach Rick Campbell.

It was a bounce back game in general for Harris as he finished with 363 yards and a touchdown. Following two rough outings against the Stampeders, the Redblacks signal-caller looked confident versus the BC defense.

“It was a big difference on the sideline tonight as opposed to when things were going south earlier this season,” said Harris. 

Harris’ favourite target on the night was Brad Sinopoli. The former University of Ottawa Gee-Gee racked up 171 receiving yards and seemed to find ways to get open all game long. With his 148-yard performance against Montreal two weeks ago, Sinopoli now owns two of the top three single-game receiving performances in the CFL this season.

The Lions were without their central player for the matchup: star linebacker Solomon Eliminian. 23-year-old Canadian Jordan Herman started in his place and filled the role admirably however. Herdman racked up a game-high 12 tackles and was key in limiting Powell to only 50 yards rushing.

The game was a shootout between the two quarterbacks. Lions quarterback Travis Lulay was killing the Redblacks secondary with over-the-shoulder throws for most of the game, including two endzone shots to Ricky Collins Jr. and Bryan Burnham. Lulay finished the game with 325 yards, but the Redblacks outpaced the BC offense in the second half. Ottawa outscored the Lions 20-11 in the final two quarters, aided by two key turnovers forced by the defense.

Heading into the matchup, BC was the only team other than Calgary to hold a positive turnover ratio (+1). On Friday night however, the Lions made two costly errors in the second half that allowed the Redblacks back into the game: a botched punt and an Antoine Pruneau-forced fumble. The 2-3 Lions now fall to 0-3 on road so far this season.

For Ottawa, the turnover differential between wins and losses could not be any starker. In their three victories this season, the Redblacks have combined for only a single turnover on offense. In their two defeats, they have combined for seven.

With the win, the Redblacks remain atop the East Division standings. Every win will be critical in a 2018 CFL season filled with parity. Apart from Calgary, every CFL team already has at least two losses this season.

“I think we will look back on this one and be glad we got this win,” said Campbell. “To win at home and the way the league is looking this year and how things are playing out, every win is going to be really valuable”.

The Redblacks will travel to Hamilton next week for a Saturday afternoon matchup with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.