The Ottawa Redblacks uttered a cautious sigh of relief Thursday night as it appeared quarterback Trevor Harris did not sustain a serious injury after leaving a pre-season game against the Montreal Alouettes early in the first quarter.
Harris left the field after being hit by Montreal defensive back Chris Ackie with what appeared to be a lower left leg injury. Harris did not return to the game, but was seen on the sidelines during the second half without any crutches or any other aid.
“I have not talked to our doctor, but as you can see it was nothing catastrophic,” said Ottawa head coach Rick Campbell. “Obviously, this being a pre-season game there was no doubt that he was not going to come back in this game. The way Trevor is he would be fighting me to get back on the field. We’ll see how he feels in the morning.
“It’s looking like a short-term thing which is good news and we’ll see how sore he is the morning.”
In his brief appearance, Harris went 3 for 5 for 34 yards and one interception. The Redblacks went on to defeat the Alouettes 27-7, due in large part to rookie kicker Lewis Ward.
Ward, a standout University of Ottawa graduate, had a solid first outing going 4 for 4 on field goals.
“I was more nervous on the sidelines than when I was out there,” said Ward, who shattered school and conference records and finishing second all-time in career field goals (89) and third all-time in points scored (412). “When I’m out there I just focused on what I’m doing. I’ve had success at university and it’s nice to try and transfer it here to the CFL. I don’t think I could have done any more today.”
Dominique Davis and Danny Collins shared QB duties for the remainder of the game.
Davis finished the game 8 for 13 for 80 yards and one touchdown, while Collins went 12 for 21 for 185 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
“They impressed me because they have good composure,” said Campbell. “You can see they can run the offence and also scramble and make some plays. I know they both would say they wish they had some throws back, but that’s part of growing, especially at the quarterback position.”
Drew Willy and Matt Shiltz both took snaps at quarterback for Montreal. Willy went 4 for 6 for 53 yards and Shiltz was 8 for 13 for 114 yards and one interception.
Leading 20-7 off 23- and 20-yard field goals by Ward in the second half, the Redblacks extended their lead on a 54-yard touchdown Collins pass to Kieren Duncan to make it 27-7.
After a rough first half for Montreal, things didn’t get any easier as Zack Medeiros attempted a 37-yard field goal for the Alouettes in the first series of the third quarter, but it went wide and settled for a single point instead.
“We had way too many penalties,” said Alouettes coach Mike Sherman. “We turned the ball over three times. We had a lot of injuries and if we have guys get hurt other guys have to step up and play. We’ll look at the tape and make a good evaluation of it.”
The first half belonged to the Redblacks despite Harris’s absence as they jumped out to a 14-6 halftime lead.
The Alouettes opened the scoring with Boris Bede kicking 35- and 32-yard field goals, but then it was all Ottawa.
Davis opened the scoring for the Redblacks late in the first quarter with a five-yard touchdown pass to Dominique Rhymes and connected for a two-point convert to take an 8-6 lead.
Ward then went on to add 43- and 44-yard field goals for Ottawa to close the first half.
The Redblacks will wrap up pre-season play next Thursday against the Toronto Argonauts in Guelph, Ont.