Saturday, July 7, 2018

SINOPOLI TAKES FLIGHT, REDBLACKS WIN 28-18 IN MONTREAL

It was close for one quarter. Then it wasn’t. And suddenly, in the fourth quarter, it was tight again.
After a comfortable three quarters, the Ottawa REDBLACKS had to white-knuckle their way through a fourth-quarter comeback attempt to earn a 28-18 victory over the Montreal Alouettes on Friday Night Football.
Quarterback Trevor Harris threw for 342 yards and a trio of touchdowns in the win for Ottawa, while Brad Sinopoli caught a career-high 11 passes en route to a game-high 148 receiving yards and a touchdown. REDBLACKS feature back William Powell also ripped off a season-high 138 rush yards.
Friday’s win was the fifth in a row at Percival Molson Stadium for the REDBLACKS, who have now won nine of their last 10 contests against Montreal.
The Als attempted to mount a late-game comeback attempt, but it fell short due to a combination of penalties and incompletions.
The REDBLACKS opened the scoring on the first drive of the ballgame, as Harris found former Alouette J.C. Beaulieu in blown coverage for a 47-yard touchdown; the subsequent two-point convert fell incomplete.
Montreal’s offence — aided by 25 yards in Ottawa penalties — responded on its opening drive, as Tyrell Sutton plunged in from the 2-yard line for a major. Boris Bede nailed the convert to give the hosts a 7-6 lead.
A booming 59-yard punt single from Bede then made it 8-6 Montreal.
The REDBLACKS retook the lead late in the first quarter on a 12-yard chip shot field goal from Lewis Ward.
Quarter No. 2 belonged entirely to Ottawa, as Harris and co. marched at will and Noel Thorpe’s defence shut the door on Mathews and the Als.
The visitors forced the Montreal offence into a pair of two-and-outs to begin the quarter, then Harris marched his own offence 65 yards on six plays into the end zone — a 37-yard connection to Brad Sinopoli being the touchdown cherry on top. Harris then zipped a dart to Beaulieu for the two-point convert, and the REDBLACKS led 17-8.
One uneventful Als drive later, the REDBLACKS were back in possession and marching; the duo of Harris and running back William Powell combined for a 10-play, 87-yard drive, capped by a nine-yard Harris-to-Noel Thomas Jr. touchdown with just six seconds left in the half. Powell then raced in untouched on the two-point convert to send Ottawa to the locker room with a 25-8 lead.
The REDBLACKS continued to roll in the third quarter, with a 31-yard field goal from Ward pushing the lead to 20 and the defence limiting Montreal to just three first downs.
Montreal finally managed a major offensive play early in the fourth quarter, when Mathews connected with Eugene Lewis for a massive 65-yard gain. Two plays later, Mathews partnered with Chris Harper for a 14-yard major. Following Bede’s convert, the Ottawa lead stood at 28-15.
The Als’ next possession was kept alive despite a Mathews interception — returned by Kevin Brown back to Montreal’s goal line — by an Ottawa penalty, and ended with a 43-yard Bede field goal to cut the lead to 10.
It was as close as Montreal would come, as a Jermaine Robinson penalty and a handful of Mathews overthrows would seal the end result.
The Alouettes got beaten up in the closing stages of Friday’s game, as veteran kick returner Stef Logan was carried off the field with an apparent ankle injury and Mathews took a pair of massive hits to close out the ballgame.
With the win, the REDBLACKS moved to 2-1 on the young season; they will now return home for a Thursday Night Football date against the first-place Calgary Stampeders next week (Thu. Jul. 12, 7:30 p.m. ET).
Campbell’s team looked solid in all three phases, and created separation between itself and Montreal in the East Division standings (two points with a game in-hand) with the win.
The loss dropped the Alouettes to 1-3, and killed any momentum Mike Sherman’s team gained from its Week-3 win in Regina. It will be back to the drawing board for the Alouettes as they enter a bye week; they, too, will face the Calgary Stampeders in their next game (Sat. Jul. 21, 9:30 p.m. ET).
Montreal has now failed to break the 20-point mark in three of its four games to begin 2018.

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