Friday, July 1, 2016

HARRIS STELLAR ONCE AGAIN AS REDBLACKS TOP ALS IN MONTREAL

 The star power of Trevor Harris continued to grow on Thursday night in Montreal.
The Ottawa pivot was once again a difference-maker for the REDBLACKS, who edged the hometown Alouettes 28-13 to move to 2-0 on the young 2016 campaign. Harris consistently shredded the Montreal secondary, completing 20 of 26 passes for 395 yards and a trio of passing touchdowns.
Thursday proved to be a tough night for kickers in Montreal, and the theme began early when Ottawa’s Chris Milo pulled his 35-yard attempt wide right just over five minutes into the ballgame. Als return man Stefan Logan took a knee, and the REDBLACKS took a 1-0 lead.
The visitors nearly scored the game’s first major midway through the opening quarter, when Harris hit Brad Sinopoli over the middle for a lengthy pickup; Sinopoli seemed destined for pay dirt, but Chip Cox stripped him deep in Als territory. Montreal recovered, and the REDBLACKS were left to wonder what could have been.
Montreal kicker Boris Bede then levelled things up with a 52-yard punt single late in the first quarter.
Bede’s miss from 36 yards early in the second quarter — his first career miss from less than 40 yards — tacked on a single, and Montreal led 2-1.
Ottawa surged back on its next possession, with running back Travon Van stringing together a series of slicing runs, highlighted by a 28-yard dash down the right side into the Montreal red zone.
Trevor Harris then hit a wide-open Ernest Jackson steps from the end zone two plays later, and the REDBLACKS led 7-2 following a missed two-point convert.
Montreal’s receiving core took a blow midway through the second quarter, when S.J. Green (leg) was forced out after falling awkwardly on a 50/50 ball against Jerrell Gavins.
The injury bug continued to make its presence felt, as Ottawa special-teamer Olivier Goulet-Veilleux went down with a serious leg injury which placed the game in a lengthy delay.
Another steady Ottawa drive late in the first half was wrapped with an exclamation mark by Harris, who rolled out to his right before threading a needle to receiver Greg Ellingson in the end zone. With the PAT, Ottawa led 14-2.
Bede was able to redeem himself somewhat on the final play of the first half, a field goal he drilled from 53 yards to cut the Als deficit to nine at halftime.
Montreal clawed its way back into the game at 7:41 of the third quarter; quarterback Kevin Glenn found receiver Duron Carter, who took a hard hit but hung on to the ball, in the end zone for the hosts’ first major.
Carter’s consequent celebrations sent him barreling into Ottawa head coach Rick Campbell; after a dust-up and some gentlemanly group discussion, Carter and Ottawa defensive back Jerrell Gavins were both ejected.
Bede added a single on the ensuing kickoff to cut the Ottawa lead to 14-13.
Milo countered just two minutes later with a field goal of his own from 30 yards out to push the REDBLACKS lead to four.
The Ottawa kicker split the uprights again, this time from 41 yards, four minutes into the final quarter to open the REDBLACKS lead up to 20-13.
Harris put the game on ice for Ottawa at the 6:35 mark of the fourth quarter, when he hit Chris Williams deep in Als territory; Williams had torched Jovon Johnson, and would not be caught en route to the big house. Milo added the PAT and the visitors had their insurance cushion, up 27-13.
A late-fourth quarter punt single from Milo polished off the scoring on the night and pushed the Ottawa lead to 15.
The Als’ comeback efforts were hampered by the absence of receivers S.J. Green (injury) and Duron Carter (ejection); Montreal’s packages were limited and the REDBLACKS were able to key in on Nik Lewis.
Injuries hurt Ottawa, too, as running back Travon Van was forced from the ballgame after a promising 86-yard, 12-carry start with a lower-body injury. Canadian Kienan Lafrance was decent in relief of Van.

Week 3 will see the REDBLACKS return to the nation’s capital to host their home opener, another Thursday Night Football showdown on July 8th against Calgary, while Montreal will have an extra week to reflect on the defeat before a Week 4 matchup against Hamilton.

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