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Redblacks leapfrog Argos with last-minute touchdown run

OTTAWA—William Powell ran for a 43-yard touchdown in the game’s final minute as the Ottawa Redblacks rallied to a 41-36 victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Friday to move back into first place in the Canadian Football League’s East Division.

Trevor Harris threw two touchdown passes, Powell passed 1,000 yards rushing for the season and Diontae Spencer set a new league record with 496 all-purpose yards for the Redblacks (8-9-1).

Ottawa will finish the regular season in first in the division if the Argonauts lose to the B.C. Lions next week. A Toronto win or tie in the final week of the regular season will put the Argos (8-9-0) in the East’s top spot for the playoffs. The first-place team will host the East final on Nov. 19.

Jeremiah Masoli threw for 437 yards and four touchdowns for the Tiger-Cats (5-12), who have been eliminated from the post-season.

An eight-yard touchdown pass from Masoli to Luke Tasker at 6:02 of the third quarter gave the Tiger-Cats a 33-22 lead but Harris threw a 12 touchdown pass to Greg Ellingson with less than five minutes to play following an eight-yard touchdown run by Powell with five minutes to play for a 34-33 lead.

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Kenny Allen gave Hamilton a 36-34 lead with a 43-yard field goal at 13:35 of the fourth quarter before Powell’s 43-yard run.

The Ticats owned the opening quarter, building a 16-0 lead and completely shutting down Ottawa’s offence.

It started badly for the Redblacks as they conceded a safety on their opening possession rather than punting from deep in their end zone.

Hamilton took the ensuing kickoff and eventually turned it into a six-yard touchdown pass from Masoli to Jalen Saunders.

After a turnover on downs by the Redblacks, Hamilton increased its lead to 16-0 with less than a minute to play in the first quarter after Allen converted a 12-yard touchdown pass from Masoli to Brandon Banks.

The Redblacks finally got something happening early in the second quarter with a 32-yard field goal from Brett Maher at 4:23 and, after Allen kicked a 13-yard field goal two minutes later, Maher hit another three-pointer from 53 yards out cutting Hamilton’s lead to 19-6.

Following that drive Harris left the game with an apparent shoulder injury, but on the next play Drew Tate connected with Juron Criner on a 39-yard catch-and-run touchdown. Powell executed the two-point conversion and suddenly the Redblacks were only down 19-14.

Harris was back at quarterback for the Redblacks on their next series but a long drive ended with a fumble on the Hamilton six-yard line when Spencer failed to protect the ball and had it knocked loose in the final minute of the half.

Ottawa regained its momentum on their first drive of the second ended with a 12-yard touchdown pass from Harris to Greg Ellingson and a two-point conversion run from Powell. That gave the Redblacks a 22-19 lead with nine minutes to play in the third quarter.

The lead was short lived though as Masoli found Banks in the end zone for a 43-yard strike at 8:38 of the third for a 26-22 lead, which they carried into the fourth quarter.