Ottawa REDBLACKS stage late comeback to beat BC Lions

VANCOUVER — The Ottawa REDBLACKS battled back from a 19-point deficit late in the third quarter to stun the BC Lions 30-25 at BC Place on Saturday.

Greg Ellingson led all receivers with 149 yards on seven catches and a pair of touchdown in the second half. After being contained to just six points and no majors through the first two quarters, Trevor Harris found his stride midway through the game and finished the day with 380 passing yards and three touchdown tosses. It was Harris’ first game back after suffering a shoulder injury last month.

The Lions attempted to foil the REDBLACKS comeback on the final drive of the game, but fell short of spoiling Harris’ return.

Everything went the Lions’ way early in the game. BC got on the board first courtesy of the Manny Show. Jonathon Jennings made a short pass to Emmanuel Arceneaux and the receiver did the rest of the work, picking up 13 yards after the catch and powering into the end zone midway through the first quarter. The two-point convert attempt was unsuccessful, giving the Lions an early 6-0 lead.

The REDBLACKS got on the board before the end of the quarter. Harris marched Ottawa all the way to BC’s nine-yard line, but on a second down, the REDBLACKS were penalized for a time count violation and forced back five yards. Ottawa was unable to make up the ground and settled for a short 17-yard field goal from Brett Maher.

BC added another major in the second quarter. Jennings spotted Shaq Johnson in stride and threw a long ball towards the receiver. Johnson adjusted to the pass by turning around to make the catch. Trying to escape the REDBLACKS defense, Johnson leapt towards the end zone, knocking over the marker for a 58-yard major. The Lions once again attempted two points, but the pass was knocked down, keeping the score at 12-3.

The two teams exchanged field goals before the end of the half. Ty Long tied his longest field goal of the season by splitting the uprights from 50-yards out. Maher responded with a long 45-yard boot on the last play of the half to cut the Lions lead to 15-6 heading into halftime.

B.C. Lions’ Shaq Johnson (88) fails to make the reception as Ottawa Redblacks’ Sherrod Baltimore defends during the first half of a CFL football game in Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, October 7, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Solomon Elimimian racked up an impressive nine tackles through 30 minutes.

The Lions continued to pull further ahead in the third quarter when Jennings connected with Arceneaux for the receiver’s second touchdown of the game. Jennings went deep to Arceneaux, who caught the ball in stride and ran across the plane untouched for the major. The Lions opted not to attempt a two point convert this time around, settling for one.

Harris and the REDBLACKS controlled the remainder of the game as they clawed their way back into the match by scoring 24 unanswered points. The comeback started when Jerrell Gavins tackled Bryan Burnham and knocked the ball lose. Jonathan Rose recovered the fumble, giving Ottawa’s offence control deep in Lions territory. The REDBLACKS made the most of the turnover as Harris found Ellingson wide open just two plays later for the REDBLACKS’ first major of the game. The two-point convert attempt was no good.

The REDBLACKS took over the lead for the first time in the match at the beginning of the fourth quarter when Harris found Ellingson again for his second receiving touchdown of the game. Ellingson broke away from his defender and was wide open to make the catch. He ran untouched the rest of the way into the end zone for a 45-yard major.

Maher added another field goal midway through the quarter to put the REDBLACKS up 30-25.

The REDBLACKS improve to 6-9-1 with the win and trail the Toronto Argonauts by just one point for top spot in the East Division. The Lions dropped their third straight and currently find themselves out of the playoff picture.

Up next for the REDBLACKS is a date with the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Friday night while the Lions will take on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Saturday.

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