LIVESTREAM PPV: CFL – Ottawa REDBLACKS @Edmonton Eskimos, Friday, Aug. 9, 8p (10p EDT, 4a Aug. 10 CEDT)

EDMONTON – Trevor Harris will line up against some familiar faces when the Edmonton Eskimos welcome the Ottawa REDBLACKS to The Brick Field at Commonwealth Stadium for the second half of a Friday Night Football doubleheader.

Harris spent three seasons in the nation’s capital, serving as the starter for two of them. He helped the REDBLACKS to back-to-back regular season first place finishes in the East Division, as well as an appearance in the 106th Grey Cup.

Harris was one of a handful of players who left the REDBLACKS in the off-season, with a number of fan favourites also moving west. In addition to Harris, Greg Ellingson and SirVincent Rogers joined the Eskimos via free agency (although Rogers was injured during training camp and has yet to see game action).

The Harris-Ellingson connection appears to be as strong as ever, with Ellingson on pace for his fifth straight 1,000-yard season.

“Coach [Jason Maas] always says it’s a faceless, nameless opponent, so you try to treat it the same way, even though you do have history with the guys,” Ellingson told Esks.com of Friday’s game. “But when you’re in the moment, everybody’s a competitor no matter which team you’re on, so you’re just trying to win.”

“It’s just like any other game,” Brad Sinopoli told OttawaREDBLACKS.com. “It will be nice to see some old friends and teammates, but outside of that you can’t worry about who you’re playing. Besides, a lot of those guys are on offence, so I don’t even need to go against them.”

» Depth Charts: OTT | EDM

Ellingson may see even more of the ball in the coming weeks, because the Eskimos dealt veteran receiver Kenny Stafford to the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

The REDBLACKS put an end to a franchise-worst four game losing streak with their overtime victory over the Montreal Alouettes last week.

Ottawa’s “bend but don’t break” defence was on full display against Montreal. The REDBLACKS gave up 301 yards and the Als dominated the time of possession, but the defence kept things close and allowed Dominique Davis to claw the offence back into the game.

The emergence of running back John Crockett has led to an improvement of the Ottawa ground game in recent weeks. A 27-year-old who briefly spent time with the NFL’s Green Bay Packers, Crockett has enjoyed a promising start to his CFL career, rushing for over 300 yards during his first four games.

Crockett will be tested by a stiff Eskimos front seven that has given up the second-fewest rushing yards in 2019, but if the REDBLACKS can establish the ground game, that will take some pressure off of the interception-prone Davis.

Special teams will worth watching on Friday, as two of the league’s best kickers and two of its most exciting returners are set to square off.

Lewis Ward and Sean Whyte are having tremendous starts to their 2019 seasons. Ward hasn’t missed a field goal attempt – in fact, he hasn’t missed a three-pointer in the regular season since his first very game last year.

Meanwhile, Whyte leads the CFL in field goals (22 in seven games) and is on pace to flirt with Justin Medlock’s CFL single-season record of 60.

In the return game, DeVonte Dedmon had a jaw-dropping performance against the Montreal Alouettes in Week 8. He brought two returns to the house, while his 382 return yards outgained the entire REDBLACKS offence.

“Every time I step out there, I give it my all,” said Dedmon. “I got sent home during training camp. That really woke me up and I don’t want that to happen again. The quarterbacks have been trying to get me involved and trying to teach me little things so I can understand the offence better.”

The Eskies will get a look at their shiny new acquisition in Christion Jones. Arriving in Edmonton via the Stafford trade, Jones appeared in only three games with the Riders this year. The former Alabama Crimson Tide standout has averaged 24 yards-per-kickoff return and has brought three punts back for touchdowns over his three-year CFL career.

“I’m just glad that I came to a team like Edmonton,” Jones said. “They have so much drive, and they want to be good and so much attention to detail, so much focus here. And a great group of guys. The vibe in the locker room is great. No hesitation on introducing themselves or introducing me into the offence or kicking game.”

Despite being close, REDBLACKS receiver RJ Harris will not return to the lineup this week as the offence is missing some key receivers. Caleb Holley will also miss Friday’s game and will be replaced by American Rafael Araujo-Lopes. On defence, the return of safety Antoine Pruneau is certainly welcomed after spending time on the six-game injured list.

The Eskimos are getting reinforcements on both sides of the football. Defensive backs Don Unamba and Anthony Orange are back in the starting lineup, while Greg Ellingson and DaVaris Daniels are slated to start on offence.

Kick return specialist Martese Jackson is on the six-game injured list and will be replaced by trade acquisition Christion Jones, while Shaq Cooper has also been added to the Eskimos’ roster this week after being out in Week 8. Receiver Kevin Elliott is off the roster after making an impact in his debut last week.

BY THE NUMBERS

2 – Game-winning drives orchestrated by Dominique Davis this season, more than any other CFL quarterback.

3 – Punts inside the 10-yard line for Edmonton’s Hugh O’Neill in the last two games.

16 – The number of players – including DeVonte Dedmon – who have returned two kicks for TDs in the same game in CFL history.

5 – Deep throws completed by Trevor Harris in Week 8 – that’s as many as the rest of the league combined.

– With files from OttawaREDBLACKS.com/Esks.com

AFI, Yare Media and the CFL

American Football International is collaborating with Yare Media and the Canadian Football League to present 2019 CFL games live. This is more than a livestream. This is a stream of the top flight TSN network television broadcast.

LIVE STREAM PPV: CFL – Ottawa REDBLACKS @Edmonton Eskimos, Friday, Aug. 9, 8p (10p EDT, 4a Aug. 10 CEDT)

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