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.
- Anytime you can have a walk-off win it's awful special. We've had two of them off kicks by Tyler and I couldn't be prouder of these dudes. I'm proud of them and I'm so happy for them. They're fun to be around.
- We've got a lotta weapons for Darian. There are a lot of tremendous athletes and unfortunately we had some drops, some of them could've been touchdowns, and the receivers could concentrate better. We gotta get touchdowns instead of field goals.
- We got a lotta guys dinged up tonight. We finished with a lot of "B" group guys. Can't say enough about Joe Craig and what he did late. We'll see how they are tomorrow.
- Three or four or five plays in games early in the season, we were close enough to win. Our average age is 25. I feel like we're gonna have a real good team for a long time here.
- Willie Jefferson's an impact player. He had a play on a punt play where they faked it and he blocked it. He pressed the edge four or five times. He's 6'7" with a 40" vertical. He can beat anyone one-on-one. The only problem I had with him was taking that penalty late. We gotta stay on onside.
- Henry Burris was an MOP last year. He threw for 5,000 yards and he's still got a lot left in the tank. We got a good defense. We didn't get dumb all of a sudden. Burris did a good job of bringing them down the field and scoring on us. You gotta give them all the credit for scoring on two late drives. We just made one play more than they did.
- Fans may be still be mad for him missing earlier this year, but 50-and-under, Tyler's there. He's a real, real solid player.
- When we get back to practice we gotta see who's well and who's not to determine our ratio. Then we just gotta get back in it and keep winning. Don't worry about tomorrow and who's doing what. Worry about who we're playing next.
DE WILLIE JEFFERSON
- I was just amped and ready to get out on the field. It was a long week of practice and we had the bye. I was just working out, going through my plays and watching film. I was just ready to go!
- I look at Coach Jones, he's like a father figure. There's a lot of people on this team who needed a second chance and he gave it to them. He gave a lot for us and we want to give it back to him. This is a room full of guys who want to win for that guy.
- It's like they won their two in a row before the bye week, and we had a meeting when I got here, and Coach Jones told us the situation the rest of the way. We just are taking it one game at a time. We need all the guys to make plays, not just the guys on the field but the guys on the bench too.
- We just trying to get it all together. This year, next year, years to come, Rider Nation it's all good!
- I had a chance to check out the new facility. I love it man. If anything, it's the next thing closest to an NFL stadium.
- Man it's a great feeling. Especially coming from where we came from and where we've been. We stayed focused and locked in, win one game at a time, and things will happen.
- Drops happen. That's a part of the game. But I'm getting comfortable with the system. With new systems it takes time to get going. It's finally coming to me and I'm able to go out there and execute without thinking too much. The coaches have helped out so much.
- The injuries were rough, especially implementing new guys. They're new to the system as well but a staple since I've been here is Rob Bagg. He's my go-to guy and he's my roommate on the road but he told me some of the milestones I was close to. He wanted to be the guy to get me to 3,000 yards and 150 touchdowns. He's my best friend in the whole wide world.
- My family's evacuated South Carolina. It's supposed to be getting hit pretty hard - not as bad as we thought - but my Mom and everybody went to my place in Atlanta, their second home. They're fine. Unfortunately they can't get up here but I'm just glad they're safe.
- There's still a long way to go. We're not out of it yet. We'll treat every game like a do-or-die situation and a playoff game. We'll bond out here on this trip and keep forging ahead.
- You see the benefit of guys gelling together. Whenever you have the overhaul we had, it takes time. Those guys that left, we spent 8,9 years with them. You can't do it in a week or a month. We got guys like Ricky Collins at home and I think we'll have him next week. Naaman's still down but he's close.
- We love you Rider Nation! Thanks for all the support through the tough times. We're getting this thing rolling for you!\
* The Riders look for their fourth straight win next Saturday at Toronto.