Ward's late field goal lifts Redblacks past winless Tiger-Cats 24-22 | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source
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Ward's late field goal lifts Redblacks past winless Tiger-Cats 24-22

Ottawa Redblacks' quarterback Dru Brown (3) prepares to throw the ball during first half CFL football action against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in Ottawa on Sunday, June 30, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Original Publication Date June 30, 2024 - 7:21 PM

OTTAWA - The Ottawa Redblacks’ post-game fireworks couldn’t have come at a better time considering the team had plenty to celebrate following an exciting 24-22 win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Sunday night.

The game came down to the final play when Lewis Ward connected on a 46-yard field goal as time expired to hand the hapless Tiger-Cats (0-4) their fourth straight CFL setback.

Ward, who had missed a convert earlier in the game, admitted his confidence “was pretty low after that first extra kick miss” but increased after connecting on three field goals from 34, 36 and 42 yards out.

Despite coming up with the late-game heroics, the 31-year-old Ward appeared unfazed, but when asked admitted he’d had some time to settle down.

“I’ve had about 20 minutes now to decompress, but my throat is a little sore from yelling and talking and stuff,” said Ward. “But (a walk-off kick) will never get old. That’s something that’s always exciting, always nerve-racking and hopefully we don’t have too many of those.”

The victory marked Ottawa’s (2-1) first against an East Division opponent at TD Place since a 24-9 win over the Toronto Argonauts on Nov. 2, 2018 and snapped Hamilton’s 10-game winning streak over Ottawa.

For Hamilton it will be back to the drawing board after another disappointing finish.

“It’s frustrating to lose any game, but that’s two now that we’ve kind of lost that way,” said Tiger-Cats head coach Scott Milanovich. “I just told the guys I wish I could yell and scream at them, but they’re giving nothing but effort. There’s total buy-in, they’re working hard every day and we’ve just got to keep at it.”

As far as entertainment this one left fans wanting through the first three quarters but more than made up for it in the final five minutes of the fourth quarter.

Ottawa trailed 16-15 when DeVonte Dedmon, who made an impact all night long, had a 30-yard punt return to put Ottawa on Hamilton’s 54-yard line.

A couple big runs by Ryquell Armstead put Ottawa at the 15 and then quarterback Dru Brown, who was 24-for-39 for 265 yards and one TD, was able to find Justin Hardy in the end zone for a TD, but the Redblacks failed on their two-point convert, making it 21-16.

A determined Bo Levi Mitchell — who was 30-for-45 for 322 yards and two touchdowns — drove his Tiger-Cats downfield for a big comeback of his own culminating with a four-yard TD pass to Shemar Bridges to take a 22-21 lead. They failed on their two-point convert.

“To be completely honest, I just didn’t think I played a good enough game,” said Mitchell. “I know we had the last drive there, but I just feel like this offence is so good and I just missed a couple reads tonight that took us off the field.”

With time winding down the Redblacks were able to get into field goal range to set up Ward for the win.

“I had the utmost confidence that (Ward) was going to hit it because I know (Lewis),” said head coach Bob Dyce. “That’s the type of guy he (Lewis) is.”

Trailing 12-9 to start the second half, Hamilton was able to take a 16-12 lead off 35- and 42-yard Marc Liegghio field goals.

Ward brought Ottawa back within one, 16-15, with a 42-yard field goal with just over 11 minutes remaining in the game.

Ottawa got off to a rough start with Dedmon fumbling the kick return on the opening play putting Hamilton on the Redblacks' 30. Two plays later Mitchell connected with Tim White for a 25-yard TD to take a 7-0 lead.

Dedmon redeemed himself on the next return setting Ottawa up at midfield. Brown then produced a five-play drive to put Ottawa on the one-yard line where Dustin Crum punched in the touchdown. Ward had a rare miss on the convert kicking wide to trail 7-6.

Dyce talked about his team’s resiliency and ability to bounce back from early missteps.

“I’m so proud of those guys,” Dyce said. “Throughout the whole game there was never a time where anyone was quiet … The belief that they all had in each other, just very proud of these guys to have the resilience, yeah, just very proud.”

Ottawa took the lead late in the first quarter on a 34-yard Ward field goal but it was short-lived after Liegghio connected on a 38-yard field goal early in the second quarter.

The Redblacks closed out the opening half with the lead after Ward hit a 36-yard field goal to make it 12-10 Ottawa.

UP NEXT

Redblacks: Visit the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (0-4) on Friday.

Tiger-Cats: Host the B.C. Lions (3-1) on Sunday, July 7.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 30, 2024.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2024
The Canadian Press

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