Ottawa REDBLACKS kick to win over Edmonton Eskimos

OTTAWA – Lewis Ward made seven field goals while Trevor Harris and Greg Ellingson connected for a fourth quarter touchdown as the REDBLACKS chipped their way past the Edmonton Eskimos 28-15 on Saturday afternoon.

The REDBLACKS defence held Eskimos star quarterback Mike Reilly at bay for most of the afternoon, and six touchdowns were erased from the board due to penalties and reversed calls on a quirky afternoon in the nation’s capital.

Each quarterback threw for one touchdown and one interception, and while Harris out-gained his counterpart in yards 313-253, Reilly added a rushing touchdown in the affair. Nonetheless, Ottawa’s rookie kicker was the main force that propelled Ottawa to an 8-5 record.

The REDBLACKS’ offensive trio got to work right away, as Harris and Ellingson connected for a 21-yard gain which led to a Lewis Ward field goal.

Reilly and his powerful Eskimos offence mounted a response, but a harsh wind dropped Sean Whyte‘s field goal attempt short at the one-yard line. Harris guided the REDBLACKS out of danger with a 40-yard completion to Diontae Spencer. The 26-year-old receiver nearly had a huge play later in the quarter, but his electrifying 80+ yard punt return for a touchdown was called back after a penalty.

The REDBLACKS were able to score on their first drive of the second quarter, which was made possible by C.J. Gable’s lost fumble. Lewis Ward nailed his 32nd straight field goal from 32-yards away to give Ottawa a 6-0 lead.

After another Eskimos punt, Harris brought the REDBLACKS back into Edmonton territory, but yet another Ottawa touchdown was taken off the board due to a flag. That penalty would prove to be critical, as Chris Edwards intercepted Harris inside the five yard line to give the ball back to Reilly and keep Edmonton within a score late in the first half.

The final four minutes of the first half proved to be the most entertaining. First, the REDBLACKS went on the offensive again with a 35-yard Harris connection, quarterback Trever to wide receiver R.J, which set up Ward’s third field goal of the half for a 9-0 lead.

The Eskimos offence finally rallied down the field with 20 and 39 yard completions to from Reilly to Martese Jackson. Edmonton’s pivot, the defending Most Outstanding Player, then scored his first points of the game on a one-yard sneak into the end zone to narrow Ottawa’s lead to 9-7.

In the 30 seconds, Harris brought Ottawa into field position and set up Lewis for his fourth field goal of the half to build a five-point REDBLACKS lead at halftime.

The REDBLACKS offence was the first to click in the second half, as Harris drove Ottawa from their own territory to inside the Eskimos’ 10 yard line. A sack on second down by Almondo Sewell, however, forced the home team to settle for a fifth field goal.

Ottawa’s inability to score touchdowns finally came back to haunt them later in the third quarter, when Reilly caught fire. He found Vidal Hazelton for a big completion, Duke Williams in the end zone for six, andBryant Mitchell for a two-point conversion to tie the game up at 15 on three four straight completions.

The Eskimos very nearly pulled ahead after a Trevor Harris sack and J.C. Sheritt took the ball to the house, but upon further review, Harris got his knee down a split second before the ball popped out, and yet another touchdown was taken off the board. Ward finished off the REDBLACKS drive with a 40-yard field goal, his 36th straight kick, to put Ottawa on top 18-15 in the fourth.

The Eskimos nearly stormed back into the lead right after when Williams made an unbelievable end zone catch in double coverage, but the referees rules the ball just barely touched the turf before he reeled in the ball, wiping away another touchdown.

Midway through the fourth, the Eskimos threatened to score once again and brought the ball down to Ottawa’s 10, but Reilly was picked off by Rico Murray at the goal line to preserve the REDBLACKS lead. Finally, Harris and his offence were able to punch the ball past the goal line after a 77 yard drive finished with an Ellingson reception in the end zone to extend their lead to 25-15.

The REDBLACKS defence did their part by forcing a Mike Reilly turnover after the three-minute warning, leading to Ward’s seventh field goal of the game to seal the deal.

Following their loss, Edmonton will prepare to rebound against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Sept. 29, while the REDBLACKS will enjoy a bye and face the Bombers the following week.

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