Trevor Harris takes playoff act from Ottawa to Edmonton in dazzling Eskimos win

Photo Scott Grant /
Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/

Trevor Harris can perform in the playoffs. Period.

There used to be a question about whether or not Harris could handle the pressure of the post-season. He’s answered emphatically in a pair of East Division sudden death games.

Last year, Harris completed 29-of-36 passes (90.6 percent) for 367 yards and a CFL playoff record six touchdowns, leading the Ottawa Redblacks to the Grey Cup.

One year later, Harris completed 36-of-39 passes (92.3 percent) including 22 in a row for 421 yards with one touchdown and one interception leading the Edmonton Eskimos to the Eastern Final.

“Trevor reminds me of Ricky [Ray] quite often. Just the way Ricky could surgically go out there and execute a game plan and dissect defences, Trevor’s got that same ability. He’s accurate — how many games now is he over 80 percent completions? That’s very had to do in professional football and he’s done it many times. He’s also done it in big games like Ricky,” head coach Jason Maas said.

“They’re both very similar the way they approach the game, the way their style is of playing: they’re a pocket passer, they can throw it where they need to put it, they’re accurate in every throw they make. But their reading and their brain is what really makes them who they are. That comes from a gift and that comes from preparation and both of them are great at it.”

The 33-year-old connected with eight different receivers. His former teammate in the nation’s capital was Harris’ favourite target with Greg Ellingson recording eight receptions for 125 yards. Ricky Collins Jr. crossed the century mark with six catches for 117 yards. Shaquille Cooper looked dangerous, DaVaris Daniels provided key grabs, and Calvin McCarty hauled in a major.

“For me I know what Jason Maas has done in this league. In 2015 there’s no coincidence Henry Burris has the best year of his career and Mike Reilly put together the best stretch of his career,” Harris said.

“It’s why I jumped on board super, super quick when I knew Ottawa didn’t want me back. I was fired up that there was such a great opportunity to come play for him.”

C.J. Gable was used as a hammer to finished two drives with touchdowns. He had 14 carries for 54 yards and the two critical majors. Gable played a large role in the Eskimos controlling the pace and clock possessing the football for over 36 minutes. Edmonton never trailed from start to finish.

Harris saw the field clearly while distributing the football — similar to defensive back Josh Johnson on defence. Johnson intercepted Montreal Alouettes’ quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. three times, which is more than he had in the entire regular season. The final pilfer sealed the game for Edmonton.

Adams Jr. struggled to match his counterpart. Montreal’s QB barely hit on 50 percent of his passes (14-of-27) for 226 yards and the three picks. The elusive dual-threat pivot provided a spark in the fourth quarter — seven of the Al’s 10 wins were comebacks — with a slippery 10-yard touchdown run. But there was no comeback in the cards for the birds.

Harris drained the rest of the clock by kneeling it out, ensuring a date with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats for the right to play for a CFL title and potentially win his first Grey Cup as a starter.

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.