Disappointing Campaign comes to an end with defeat against Redblacks
The Ottawa Redblacks’ final game of the regular season had no meaning in the standings, but there was plenty at stake for some of the players lining up on Friday night against the Toronto Argonauts.
Redblacks are riding high into the postseason after taking down the Toronto Argonauts 24-9 at TD Place.
The win was the third straight for Ottawa. The Redblacks are now off for two weeks after already securing a bye to the Eastern Final.
The loss capped off a disappointing 2018 for the Double Blue, who did not pick up a single win on the road this season.
Redblacks head coach Rick Campbell announced earlier this week that he would be resting a number of starters on Friday, including quarterback Trevor Harris. That gave backup pivots Dominique Davis and Danny Collins a chance to showcase their skills.
Davis made the most of his opportunity in the first half. The East Carolina product was able to build some momentum early and looked impressive in the opening drive of the game for Ottawa. Davis connected with Dominique Rhymes for a pair of completions, including a long 44-yard gain to put the Redblacks in the red zone.
Ottawa was forced to settle for a field goal after the Argos’ defense held strong deep in their own territory. Those would be the only points on the board through the first 15 minutes.
A single early in the second quarter would put the Redblacks up by four, but the Argos were able to cut into the deficit thanks to a 30-yard field goal by Drew Brown on the ensuing drive.
Davis went back to work with the Ottawa offence, leading a steady charge downfield. His favourite target was Julian Feoli-Gudino, finding the receiver for a trio of straight completions. The third catch was in the end zone for a 23-yard touchdown. The Redblacks two-point attempt after the major was good, pulling them ahead 12-3.
The Argos notched a long 45-yard field goal before the end of the quarter, putting the score at 12-6 entering halftime.
Davis racked up 220 passing yards in the first half.
The Boatmen opened the third quarter with a pair of impressive back-to-back plays. Running back Brandon Burks rumbled for a 34-yard gain on the opening drive. On the next play, Llevi Noel ran for 25-yards after the catch to set up first-and-goal for the Argos.
Ottawa’s defense was able to stop the Argos in their tracks and force them to settle for another field goal.
That was as close as the Double Blue would get as the Redblacks began to pull away in the third quarter.
Lewis Ward extended his CFL record field goal streak to 48 by splitting the uprights from 32 yards out.
Ottawa defense followed that up with an interception by defensive back Rico Murray – his league-leading fifth pick of the season – to put the ball back in the hands of the offence.
The Redblacks made the most of the turnover by handing the ball off to Mossis Madu three times on the drive. The running back made the short one-yard plunge into the end zone to cap off the series and give the Redblacks a 24-9 lead entering the final 15 minutes.
Both teams were held off the scoreboard in the final quarter.
The game presented a welcome opportunity for some players who spent a long season on the practice roster to showcase their talent.
As for the Argonauts, it’s been a disappointing season by all accounts for the defending Grey Cup champions (4-13), who failed to end the season on a high note.
Toronto coach Marc Trestman made a number of changes to his roster. Running back Travon Van, acquired two weeks ago, will make his Toronto debut. Will Campbell takes over right tackle as Chris Van Zeyl will sit out the finale, and Jimmy Ralph will start at wide receiver.
Wide receiver Armanti Edwards said: “We’re preparing the same way, we’re going in this game the same way, plus, it’s basically a job interview for everybody in here.”