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Friday, October 19, 2018

REBLACKS TAKE FIRST PLACE SHOWDOWN OVER TICATS

OTTAWA - The Ottawa Redblacks have taken a big step toward winning the CFL's East Division.

Backup quarterback Dominique Davis had three touchdowns on QB sneaks and the Redblacks topped the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 35-31 on Friday in the front half of a home-and-home-set that switches to Hamilton next week.

"Get on the one-yard line and get in there. It was only three one-yard ones but they were touchdowns. I'm thankful those guys gave me the push and got me the hat trick,'' Davis said.

"I'm happy I got those three, but the win is more important. Trying to win the division is all we're focused on.''

The Redblacks (9-7) need just one win in their final two games to win the East, while the Tiger-Cats (8-8) will need to win both their remaining games, including the rematch with Ottawa just to have a shot.

In addition to the game, the Ticats also lost all-star receiver Brandon Banks to injury on an incomplete pass at 12:36 in the fourth quarter. Banks, who is among the league-leaders in receiving yards and touchdown catches, was seen clutching his left shoulder as he headed to the locker-room with Hamilton's training staff.

"I don't know what the issue is. I know he looked like he got hurt pretty bad and it must be his shoulder or collarbone,'' said Tiger-Cats coach June Jones.

"We still had some chances but we did some stupid things but we'll get those cleaned up. Bottom line is we're right where we need to go. We get them again and we're in playoff football. We might have to play them twice.''

The third of Davis' touchdowns came just shy of eight minutes into the fourth quarter to give the Redblacks a 35-31 lead after rookie kicker Lewis Ward was unsuccessful on the conversion. Lirim Hajrullahu had given the Tiger-Cats a 31-29 lead three minutes into the fourth quarter with a 53-yard field goal.

Ward kicked two first-half field goals, giving him 45 consecutive and breaking the previous mark of 44 held by Adam Vinatieri of the Indianapolis Colts for the longest streak in pro football history.

"That's one of the big-time guys and I haven't put a dent into what he's done,'' Ward said of Vinatieri.

"I'm just trying to be the best I can be and to have a name up there with him is pretty special.''

The Redblacks had the opening possession of the game, but after they went two-and-out, Jeremiah Masoli drove the Tiger-Cats down field and concluded their opening possession with a 22-yard touchdown pass to Luke Tasker.

Before the end of the first quarter, Ward connected from 27-yards out to tie the record and then broke it with an impressive 52-yard strike with less than five minutes to play in the frame.

"That's a juicy number,'' Ward said of the record setting boot.

"On the sideline I didn't think about it too too much. I knew it was a far kick and an important kick and I'm thankful that the coaches had confidence in me and my team had confidence in me.''

(Canadian Press)

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