Why Redblacks kicker Lewis Ward’s field goal streak is in jeopardy

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

Since the start of the 2018 regular season, Canadian kicker Lewis Ward has been on a magical run.

He’s made 61 straight field goal attempts. During that time, Ward has made kicks in all weather and from all distances, including 20-for-20 from 40-plus yards.

So what threatens to derail his epic streak of consecutive field goals? Apparently an over the counter substance.

No streak as impressive as Ward’s stands alone. The Redblacks’ field goal unit has three men at its core who have all played vital roles in this historic run. Ward (duh), punter Richie Leone (the holder) and the man in the middle of it all, long snapper Louis-Philippe Bourassa.

Since being drafted by the Redblacks in the fourth round of the 2017 CFL draft, the man from Jean Chrétien’s hometown (Shawinigan, Quebec), has been lights out. A team’s long snapper remains anonymous until they screw up. That’s why many in R-Nation only learned who Bourassa was this week when news broke of his suspension for testing positive due to a banned substance.

With Bourassa forced out for the next two games, the Redblacks will rely on the recently signed Michael Benson to handle long snapping duties. The 32-year-old Winnipeg native has spent six years in the CFL, suiting up the last five for the B.C. Lions.

In theory, it should be a seamless transition from Bourassa to Benson, but with his usual long snapper out, Ward and perhaps more importantly, Leone as the holder, will have to hope three days of practice is enough to get their timing down pat. The trio must gel quickly to work as a fluid and synchronized unit. Otherwise Ward’s remarkable streak might come to an abrupt halt.

Santino Filoso is originally from Ottawa and has written about the Redblacks since 2013. He is the only CFL writer currently living in Brazil (as far as we know).