Ottawa 24, Hamilton 22

For their 10th season, the Ottawa Redblacks of the Canadian Football League (CFL) wanted to build a championship team. Resilience was the name of the game.

This past Sunday, the new-look Redblacks celebrated the Canada Day weekend with a 24-22 victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. For Ottawa, it was a bounce back from a disastrous 47-21 Loss to the Montreal Alouettes the previous week.

And the win itself looked in doubt until the very end. The game was 22-21 for Hamilton with 28 seconds left in the fourth quarter after a Tiger-Cats field goal.

After a good kickoff return and a 19-yard drive, Redblacks head coach Bob Dyce, 58, sent out kicker Lewis Ward who would sent a game-winning 46-yard field goal through the uprights. The game ended 24-22 for Ottawa.

“My throat is a little sore from yelling and talking [after the field goal],” Dice said. The uOttawa alumnus added, “that feeling will never get old, it will always be exciting […] The more we can stack wins … and we’re still early in the season, the more confidence we build.” 

Redblacks Head Coach Bob Dyce has his team feeling confident after a come from behind last minute win over Hamilton. [Photo @ Cody Gaudreault]

The Redblacks now have a 2-1 record with wins of Hamilton and Winnipeg at home and sit in second place in the CFL East.

Having failed to make the playoffs since their loss to Calgary in the 2018 Grey Cup, the Redblacks brought new key players and staff along with a new home jersey for this season. A key addition is quarterback Dru Brown, 27, who spent the last three seasons as the backup with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

First-time CFLer Ryquell Armstead, 27, was also brought in to improve Ottawa’s offence. The running back brings three seasons of experience in the National Football League.

Ottawa opened at home on June 13 with a 23-19 win over Winnipeg. With just over two minutes left in the fourth quarter. The game was delayed by rain. By CFL rule if the delay had lasted over an hour, the game would have ended early and Ottawa, who had the lead, would have been handed the win.

However the players came back on the field after about 58 minutes and Ottawa successfully defended their lead to win the game.

“We wanted to get back out there,” said Dyce after the game, “[The team] wanted to win this game the way it should have been; on the field, full 60 minutes.”

The Redblacks then went to Montreal to take on the Alouettes a week later. By halftime the score was 30-1 for the Als. 

Despite a spectacular 101 yard punt return for a touchdown by Devonte Dedmon, the Redblacks had no hope of coming back and were defeated by the defending Grey Cup champions.

With their win on Sunday, the Redblacks proved they could recover from a tough loss.

“One thing I’m very proud of [the team] for is, throughout the whole game, there was never a time where anyone was quiet. I’m very proud of these guys for their resilience.”

The Redblacks starting quarterback Dru Brown seems to be settling into his role with the team. [Photo @ Cody Gaudreault]

As for the new quarterback, Brown is starting to feel comfortable in his new role as Ottawa’s starting quarterback and is confident in his leadership abilities.

“We had full faith that if we got [Lewis Ward’s] spot that he was going to make [the field goal]” Brown said after Sunday’s game. “It’s such a long season that when you do something like [losing badly to Montreal a week earlier] you learn from it, that’s how the guys in that locker room are wired.”

Next game for Ottawa will be in Winnipeg on Friday night for a rematch with the Blue Bombers, who may be without starting quarterback Zach Collaros.