Sunday, June 23, 2024

Ward leads Redblacks to pre-season win over Alouettes

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OTTAWA — No more dress rehearsals. It starts for real now.

Lewis Ward helped the Ottawa Redblacks complete a perfect 2-0 pre-season Friday with four field goals in a 19-13 win over the Montreal Alouettes.

Ward also converted the only touchdown of the game to account for 13 Ottawa points, including a 17-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter.

Dru Brown started at quarterback for the Redblacks and completed 20 of 33 pass attempts for 247 with one interception.

Dustin Crum played the fourth quarter in relief of Brown and was three-for-four and 44 yards.

Former Redblack Caleb Evans started behind centre for the Alouettes, who finished the pre-season 1-1, and completed four of six passes for 32 yards. James Morgan took the majority of snaps and was a respectable 13-for-17 and 134 yards and one interception.

Morgan did have a one-yard run for a touchdown, and after the Jose Maltos extra point, the Alouettes trailed 19-13 with less than three minutes to play in the game.

“We’re excited and ready to get started on the regular season. The pre-season is behind us now and we’re excited to get to that first step and get the regular season going,” Evans said.

“Everybody stepped up and played ball and delivered on their assignments tonight.”

The Alouettes started the third quarter with the ball trailing 6-3, and although their opening drive of the half was stalled, it did end with a 29-yard field goal from Maltos at 3:17 to tie the game.

On their next drive Morgan led the Alouettes deep into Ottawa territory, but that drive ended when Morgan threw a pass that ended up as a 101-yard pick-six by Tobias Harris. After the extra point by Ward, the Redblacks led 13-6 seven minutes into the third.

“It felt like 101 yards I’ll tell you that,” Harris said of the long score.

“I was like dang, is this play is still going. I got to the 20 and I was like, something need to happen.”

Ward increased the Ottawa lead to 16-6 with a 26-yard field goal with just 10 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

“I don’t like to say the (pre-season) scores don’t matter, because when the scoreboard is on the objective is to win. But it’s also to get better every week. I feel today made us better as a football team,” Alouettes coach Jason Mass said.

“We’ll correct the things we need to, but the things we pride ourselves on is try not to take too many penalties and not turn over the ball, kind of bit us a bit tonight.”

All the scoring in the first half came off the foot of kickers as the Redblacks took a 6-3 lead into the break.

Ward hit from 52-yards out just shy of five minutes into the game. He then doubled the lead with a 35-yard field goal at 7:42 of the first quarter.

The biggest play of the quarter was one that never technically happened as Devonte Dedmon returned a punt 107 yards for a touchdown, but a holding call against James Peter of the Redblacks nullified the score.

The only scoring of the second quarter was a 30-yard field goal off the foot of David Cote to pull the Alouettes to within three points at 6-3.

Ward had two chances to increase the Redblacks lead in the final minute of the half, but was wide right on a 33-yard attempt and then sent a 43-yard attempt right off the right upright on the final play of the second quarter.

“We’ll go back tonight and watch the tape with a very critical eye and make our decision going forward,” Redblacks coach Bob Dyce said about finalizing their roster heading into the regular season.

“I told everyone in that locker room that they should be proud of themselves because they continue to get better every week. They’ve put us in a situation where we’ve got some tough decisions to make.”


The Redblacks have a bye in Week 1 and will host the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in their season opener on June 13. The Blue Bombers will host the Alouettes in Week 1.

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