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Ottawa Redblacks rally to defeat Alouettes

OTTAWA—A good start was followed up by an even better finish for the Ottawa Redblacks on Friday night.

Henry Burris scored on a one-yard quarterback sneak with 90 seconds left in the fourth quarter as the Redblacks beat the Montreal Alouettes 26-23.

The play was setup after Montreal was called for pass interference, which allowed the Redblacks to setup from the one-yard line. They only needed one try to punch it in and improve their record to 4-2.

“We were working hard to be consistent,” Burris said. “We learned a lot last year and we kept battling to the end and now we see good things are happening. It was great to get the victory.”

It was Ottawa’s second win of the season over the Alouettes, who fell to 2-4. Should the teams be tied at the end of the regular season, the Redblacks will own the tiebreak based on the season series win.

“It’s disappointing as a defence especially,” Alouettes defender Marc Olivier Broulette said about the winning drive.

“We had them backed up in a situation where we could have closed out the game, to put it on our back and win it for our team and we weren’t able to do that.”

On the first drive of the game, Burris shovelled a pass to Ernest Jackson who scored a seven-yard touchdown to give Ottawa an early lead.

The drive covered 78 yards over 10 plays and gave the sell-out crowd the impression their team might have a good first quarter. The Redblacks had just one first-quarter touchdown all season heading into the game.

“There were some good things and some ugly things but we’re finding ways to win and that’s the most important thing when you’re trying to put something together,” Burris said.

“Whether you have the highs or the lows you have to put it together when it counts.”

Despite a strong opening quarter, Ottawa trailed 12-7 at the half.

The Redblacks we able to regain the lead in the third with a 41-yard field goal from Chris Milo at 5:55 and a 10-yard touchdown pass from Burris to Patrick Lavoie at 13:05.

Montreal’s Boris Bede kicked a 42-yard field goal 30 seconds into the fourth quarter and an 81-yard single on the kickoff following a nine-yard touchdown pass from Rakeem Cato to Samuel Giguere five minutes later.

The Alouettes conceded a safety at 11:37 of the fourth quarter cutting their lead to 23-19.

The Redblacks won the season opener in Montreal 20-16 and limited Montreal to a total of just 188 yards of offence the entire game. The Alouettes nearly matched that total early with 132 yards in the first quarter alone. They were over 200 in the first half.

Montreal had to settle for a single on their opening drive after Bede missed a 44-yard field goal attempt a little more than five minutes after Ottawa had taken a 7-0 lead.

On their second possession, Bede made good on an 18-yard field goal just 69 seconds into the second quarter and then Cato scampered 19 yards for the Alouettes only touchdown of the half and their first lead of the game at 11-7 five minutes in.

Late in the half Redblacks defensive back Antoine Pruneau intercepted Cato close to Ottawa’s goal line — preventing what surely would have been more points.

“I’ve been waiting for that for a long time,” Pruneau said of the interception.

“I know my mom was watching and she’s probably crying right now. I needed that play and it feels good.”

Michael Sam, the first openly gay football player, made his professional debut Friday — playing his first game with the Alouettes. The former SEC co-defensive player of the year in his senior year of college was used sparingly in the game taking part in only a handful of plays.