The Redblacks end 40 years of frustration in Ottawa with Grey Cup win over Stamps in OTRedblacks 39, Stampeders 33 (OT)
November 28th, 2016
November 27th, 2016
TORONTO — Move over, Tommy Clements. Make some room, Tony Gabriel. Henry Burris and Ernest Jackson are joining you in Ottawa’s hall of heroes.
Burris ominously limped out the field after the pregame warmup, but he limped back on just before opening kickoff and he sparked the Redblacks to 3933 overtime victory against the Calgary Stampeders in the Grey Cup game at BMO Field, ending Ottawa’s 40 year Canadian Football League championship drought.
The winning points came on an 18yard pass from Burris to Jackson, who juggled it ominously before latching onto it for a touchdown on the first possession of what was Ottawa’s fifth overtime game of the year.
In becoming the oldest quarterback to lead his team to a CFL crown at 41 years 177 days, Burris ran for two touchdowns and threw for others by Patrick Lavoie and Brad Sinopoli, while Ray Early added two field goals and three converts.
“We always believed, we never stopped believing,” said Burris, who added it was far too soon for him to ponder thoughts of retiring and going out on top of the CFL mountain.
“I can’t say that right now. I’m still riding this rollercoaster,” he said.
The Redblacks defence also intercepted Stampeders quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell three times, two of them by Forest Hightower.
Jerome Messam, Lemar Durant, Andrew Buckley and DaVaris Daniels scored the Stampeders touchdowns on two passes from Bo Levi Mitchell and two runs, with Rene Paredes adding two field goals and three converts.
“It’s tough for all of us,” Stampeders head coach Dave Dickenson said. “The finality of it. We didn’t get it done. We were right there, knocking. Just didn’t get it done.”
Burris was named the Grey Cup game MVP after completing 35 of 46 passes for 461 yards. Sinopoli was voted top Canadian after catching six passes for 94 yards and a touchdown.
After the pregame intrigue, Burris was in behind centre for the Redblacks’ first offensive series and led them on a 10play, 66yard scoring drive. Most of that distance was covered by passes to Greg Ellingson, but Burris pushed across from the oneyard line for the touchdown. Early’s convert made it 70 midway through the first quarter.
The Stampeders required just four plays to march 79 yards for a tying score, however, the last of them a sevenyard swing pass to Messam, who trotted into the endzone.
The big play on the drive was a 51yard pass and run by Marquay McDaniel, but the Stamps’ leading receiver during the regular season apparently injured a shoulder on the play and was done for the night.
The Redblacks also scored on their next drive, which was capped Early’s 37yard field goal, and their next break came six minutes into the second quarter, when Jake Harty and Andrew Marshall forced a fumble by Stamps returner Roy Finch and Serderius Bryant recovered on the plus side of midfield.
Five plays later, the Redblacks were in the endzone again. Fullback Lavoie fumbled after his second catch of the dive, but slotback Ernest Jackson recovered and Lavoie repaid his teammate for that favour by catching a fiveyarder from Burris for another score that, with the convert, made it 177.
Then a turnover festival broke out: Ottawa’s Forrest Hightower and Jeff Richards both intercepted Calgary quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell around a fumble by Redblacks tailback Travon Van.
This time the Redblacks held onto the ball, with a 31yard pass and run by Sinopoli getting them out of the shadow of the goalposts, and they capped a timedraining drive with Early’s 29yard field goal for a 207 halftime advantage. The Redblacks received the kickoff to start the third quarter and promptly marched 70 yards for another score, this one by Sinopoli, putting the Stamps in a 20point hole.
Ottawa’s defence forced another punt, but then wideout Khalil Paden fumbled after a helmettohelmet hit by Calgary’s Josh Bell. Fortunately for the Redblacks and their boisterous supporters in the crowd of 33,421, the Stamps managed only a 32yard field goal.
The Redblacks got nowhere on their next drive and had to punt, and the Stampeders went 64 yards in four plays to get back in the touchdown by Durant. He caught a pass and fell to the turf, but wasn’t touched by either Hightower or safety Antoine Pruneau, so he got up and completed the 34yard journey across the goalline. With the convert, it was a 10 point game at 2717.
After another failed Ottawa possession, Calgary scored again. A successful coach’s challenge led to a passinterference penalty at the oneyard line and thirdstring QB Andrew Buckley scored on the next play.
Paredes missed the convert, leaving Ottawa ahead by four, but a bad pass by Burris was picked off by Ciante Evans.
This time the Redblacks defence held, and Burris directed a 70yard drive over six plays. The biggest were 22 and 38yard catches by Juron Criner, and Burris pushed across from the one for a 3323 lead with 5:38 to go.
The third interception thrown by Mitchell and the second made by Hightower allowed the Redblacks to take the clock down to less than three minutes. However, the Stamps scored another touchdown on the endaround run by DaVaris Daniels from 19 yards out and recovered the ensuing onside kickoff after the ball was bobbled by Sinopoli. Ninety-six seconds remained.
Three completed passes and a passinterference call on Abdul Kanneh took the ball to the eightyard line and Messam ran it to the two. However, Kanneh made a brilliant tackle on Buckley in the backfield, forcing a field goal by Paredes for the tie.
Then it was time for Burris to Jackson, three forced incompletions by Ottawa’s defence, and history.
“I thought Ottawa could be something special,” Redblacks head coach Rick Campbell said of his thought when he interviewed for the job in late 2013, “and it is in every sense of the word.”
Courtesy of Gord Holder, The Ottawa Citizen
Published on: November 27, 2016 | Last Updated: November 27, 2016 11:46 PM EST