September 8, 2018

Comeback attempt falls short, REDBLACKS drop 26-14 decision in BC

BC Lions defensive back Anthony Orange (26) tackles Ottawa Redblacks wide receiver Diontae Spencer (85) during the first half of CFL football action in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday, Sept. 7, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

A second-half comeback attempt fell short for the Ottawa REDBLACKS in Vancouver, as Rick Campbell’s team dropped a 26-14 decision to the BC Lions on Friday Night Football.

REDBLACKS quarterback Trevor Harris completed 21 of 36 pass attempts for 216 yards in the loss — throwing one touchdown and two interceptions along the way — and was under pressure most of the night. Ottawa’s offensive line allowed six sacks in the defeat.

BC opened the scoring three minutes into the ballgame; after breaking through on special teams to block a Richie Leone punt and earn strong field position, BC found the end zone on a 33-yard touchdown pass from Travis Lulay to Ricky Collins Jr. Ty Long’s ensuing convert gave the hosts a 7-0 lead.

Ottawa’s offence struggled to find a rhythm in the first quarter, and Harris was intercepted by former REDBLACK Winston Rose after taking a bump while throwing.

The defence stood tall, with Randall Evans and the Ottawa special teams stopping an ambitious BC fake-field goal attempt dead in its tracks at the Ottawa 38-yard line.

Richie Leone got Ottawa on the board early in the second quarter with a 55-yard punt single, but strong pressure from the BC defensive line kept the REDBLACKS offence at bay through the first half.

With Harris’s stat line reading 7-for-16 with two interceptions at the break, Coach Campbell opted to begin the second half with Dominique Davis under centre.

The East Carolina product’s second pass attempt was intercepted by Lions linebacker Bo Lokombo, who sprinted the ball back to the Ottawa 15-yard line. Three plays later, BC quarterback Jonathon Jennings found Bryan Burnham in the end zone; the hosts failed to bury the two-point convert, and the lead stood at 16-1.

After two series on the sidelines, Trevor Harris returned to the field and combined with some strong William Powell runs to march the offence down inside the BC 5-yard line.

Once there, the Ottawa pivot floated a pass to an unmarked Brad Sinopoli for the latter’s fourth touchdown of the season; Lewis Ward’s convert cut the deficit to 16-8.

Matching field goals from Ward (44-yarder) and Long (37-yarder) early in the fourth quarter made it 19-11.

A 31-yard boot from Ward with five minutes to play shaved BC’s lead to just five points, but it was as close as the REDBLACKS would come.

Jeremiah Johnson sealed the win with a six-yard touchdown dash inside the final two minutes; Long’s convert rounded out the scoring at 26-14.

The loss dropped the REDBLACKS to 6-5 on the season; head coach Rick Campbell’s team will now have to regroup ahead of a tough Week 14 test in Regina next Saturday (9:30 p.m. ET) against the red-hot Roughriders (6-5).


What They’re Saying

“It’s a disappointing. We’re not playing our best football right now. We need to make sure we do basic stuff well and take care of the football. Can’t turn it over. Have to keep the penalties down. Too many good coaches and players to keep playing like this. I’m not going to point any fingers (offensively), but it’s obviously got to be better. We have good players on that side of the ball, we’re just not finding the rhythm right now. We’ll look at everything.” — HC Rick Campbell

“We just didn’t finish when we needed to. We had to make a stop. We had them, and it just didn’t work out for us. We just didn’t execute. That’s all that happened. It’s really frustrating, but the good thing about football is you live to see another day and play another down. It’s going to sting, but we’ll learn from it and take it into the next game.” — LB Kevin Brown II


Game Notes

This is the first time in 2018 the REDBLACKS have lost two in a row… Corey Tindal led Ottawa with eight tackles in the defeat…BC quarterback Travis Lulay (upper body) left the game


Scoring Summary

First Quarter
BC — TD Lulay to Collins Jr. (Long conv.) — 11:29

Second Quarter
OTT — Single Leone — 13:52
BC — FG Long — 1:34

Third Quarter
BC — TD Jennings to Burnham (2-pt conv. failed) — 12:13
OTT — TD Harris to Sinopoli (Ward conv.) — 2:57

Fourth Quarter
OTT — FG Ward — 13:46
BC — FG Long — 10:04
OTT — FG Ward — 5:34
BC — TD Johnson (Long conv.) — 1:55