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Monday, November 23, 2015

REDBLACKS TURN ATTENTION TO GREY CUP

OTTAWA - Henry Burris woke up Monday morning still riding high off the emotion of the Redblacks' dramatic victory in the East Division final. But while his big play in the closing minutes helped erase decades of football frustration for the city of Ottawa, Burris says the team needs to start looking forward quickly.

Burris connected with Greg Ellingson for a late 93-yard touchdown pass to lead to the Redblacks 35-28 win over Hamilton on Sunday. It marked the first time an Ottawa football franchise advanced to the Grey Cup final since 1981.

The Redblacks will take on the Edmonton Eskimos, who defeated Calgary 45-31, Sunday in Winnipeg.

"It seemed as if we were battling against a great Hamilton Tiger-Cats team, and also all the frustration of the past that have occurred here in Ottawa, but once Greg made that catch it felt like the bubble burst,'' Burris said. "It was like all the things in the past we let bygones be bygones and the fans did the same and we have a great memory that will be remembered for a long time, especially with that play that was made. Now we can make even much better memories if we can go out to Winnipeg and get it done.''

As exciting as the win was, the team was back at work first thing Monday morning preparing for the Eskimos.

"Yes we're excited and it was a big day (Sunday), but there's more work to do and these opportunities don't come around all the time,'' said Rick Campbell, who will be making his first Grey Cup appearance as a head coach. "The way to make the most of the opportunity is make sure you go there and work hard and do all the things we normally do as far as meeting and practices and all that stuff and get ready to play another football team.''

The Redblacks turnaround has been monumental considering the franchise is only in its second year and coming off a 2-16 season. But Burris said knew from the start of the season this group of players would be successful.

"I've talked about playing on so many special teams, but this has that special aura,'' he said. "There's something special in that locker room. To see the way all the guys love each other the way we do is very uncommon. We have the right mixture of play-making ability, leadership, experience, knowledge, but the belief is through the roof. All of us will die for each other in that locker room.''

The Redblacks lost both its games against the Eskimos early in the season and know they will be facing the top defence in the league.

"We've grown leaps and bounds there's no question about that,'' said offensive co-ordinator Jason Maas. "That's why I do feel confident that we can go in there and make some things happen against them, but at the same time they've grown too.''

The Redblacks didn't play their best game of the year Sunday, but still found a way to win. Campbell said he felt "offensively and defensively we were just adequate and I thought our special teams was actually very good.''

With the knowledge they can play better and the confidence among players the Redblacks are optimistic they can put an end to Ottawa's 39-year Grey Cup drought.

(Canadian Press)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Gee whiz... the last time Ottawa was in a Grey Cup we had a fellow named Trudeau as Prime Minister.