OTTAWA - The hometown boy made quite an impression on Friday night.
In his first professional game in the city in which he grew up playing, Tyler Crapigna had six field goals, including a 30-yarder in overtime, to pace the Saskatchewan Roughriders over the Ottawa Redblacks 32-30.
The win came in front of dozens of family and friends who mobbed the kicker on the field post game. Crapigna, who was born in nearby Nepean, Ont., had missed a 55-yard attempt on the final play of the fourth quarter that would have won the game a bit earlier for the Riders.
"I was thinking of trying to put it through the upright, that's about it," Crapigna said of his thought process prior to the one missed attempt.
"Obviously it didn't go my way but we don't get discouraged on our team. We came back, they put me in position again to kick another field goal and that's all that matters."
Chris Milo missed a 30-yard field goal on Ottawa's overtime drive, resulting in a single.
The Redblacks had fought back with 15 fourth-quarter points to tie the game, but Darian Durant led the Roughriders 102 yards, capped off by a 27-yard touchdown pass to Rob Bagg with 48 seconds left in the game for a 29-22 lead.
The ensuing penalty-aided drive ended with a touchdown run by Henry Burris to tie the game once more.
"It was more than shaky," Roughriders coach Chris Jones said of the fourth quarter.
"They closed a two-touchdown gap in the fourth quarter. Henry Burris did a great job. Their coaching staff did a great job putting them in a position to try and win the football game. We were fortunate enough to hold them on the overtime drive and then Tyler did a good job putting it through the upright."
The win was the third straight for the Riders (4-10), who won both games against the Redblacks (6-7-1) this season.
Trevor Harris started at quarterback for the Redblacks but was pulled in favour of Burris to start the fourth quarter after completing just 12-of-21 passes for 120 yards. He threw one touchdown and also had an interception.
Burris came on and threw two late touchdown passes of 19 and 16 yards to Greg Ellingson, and a two-point conversion pass to Ernest Jackson, before scoring on the rush.
Burris completed 9-of-16 passes for 138 yards.
Durant was 22 of 38 for 328 yards.
"I don't think we made enough plays early on. We got into a bit of a hole and sometimes you press a little too hard or a little too much and we just need to remember that it's a long game," Redblacks receiver Brad Sinopoli said.
"We kind of realized that in the second half and we had chances to win the game, we just didn't make every play we needed to."
Crapigna booted a 43-yard field goal with nine minutes to play to give the Roughriders a 22-7 lead. Earlier in the quarter Crapigna had connected from 41-yards out, 10 yards shorter than the field goal he opened the half with.
After a game-opening drive stalled, the Redblacks were forced to punt and on the Riders' first two plays from scrimmage Durant completed two passes for 76 yards. The Roughriders eventually had to settle for a 25-yard field goal from Crapigna at 4:12 and a 3-0 lead.
That lead was extended to 10-0 when Durant and Nic Demski connected on a 10-yard touchdown pass at 12:57 that was converted by Crapigna.
The second-year kicker out of McMaster University gave the Riders a 13-0 cushion five minutes into the second quarter with a 10-yard field goal, but that was it for the Saskatchewan first-half offence.
The Redblacks came to life in the dying minutes of the half when Harris hit Chris Williams for a 20-yard touchdown pass with just over two minutes to play in the second quarter.
Milo converted that score to cut the deficit to 13-7, but he then missed a 46-yard field goal attempt in the final minute of the half.
Crapigna opened the second half with a 51-yard field goal to put the Roughriders up 16-7 less than three minutes into the third quarter.