Photo Scott Grant / CFLPhotoArchive.com

Andrew Harris put the entire city of Winnipeg and the whole Blue Bombers team on his back.

When Winnipeg was in the home locker room prior to kick-off in the Grey Cup at McMahon Stadium, Harris asked his teammates if they had his back and the blue crew replied emphatically.

Star defensive end Willie Jefferson proved it right away by sacking and knocking the ball loose from Ticats quarterback Dane Evans. The Most Outstanding Defensive Player had been held without a sack for four straight games, including zero in the Bombers’ two playoff victories. Jefferson had 12 sacks and a league-leading six forced fumbles during the regular season.

Harris took the rock the very next snap and ran it right down the heart of the Ticats defence into the end zone. The CFL’s rushing champion scored the first major of the title game on a powerful 15-yard run. Winnipeg went ahead 7-0 thanks for the Jefferson, Harris combo.

With the Bombers leading 11-6 in the second quarter, Harris continued to pound away. He ripped off a 21-yard run and finished the drive in style. Chris Streveler let go a pinpoint throw to Harris in double coverage. He secured the ball in between Rico Murray and Richard Leonard for his second touchdown of the game. The Winnipeg native’s 18-yard touchdown helped put the Bombers up 21-6 at halftime.

“We’re going to play relentless today — no quit. We’re going to fight for every yard. We’ll make big plays, we won’t go down,” Harris told TSN at the break. Harris held true to his words as the Bombers controlled the clock in the second half.

The Oak Park High School product gashed the Ticats on a 26-yard run in the fourth quarter while staring at second and 17. It was the third iconic play for Harris in the Grey Cup to go along with his touchdown run and catch, leading to a Justin Medlock field goal. That extended Winnipeg’s lead to three scores and it was too much for the Ticats to overcome.

“He’s pissed off. Love that dude — just awesome. He’s always focused and I don’t know what his stats were, but just a great teammate,” quarterback Zach Collaros said.

Despite all the controversy surrounding Harris’ mid-season performance-enhancing drug suspension, he kept the focus on the field. Harris record 134 rushing yards on 18 carries — 7.4 yards per carry average — and caught five passes for 35 yards. Overall Harris totaled 169 offensive yard and two touchdowns.

“My city, I love you guys — we’re coming home with that cup. We were in the zone, I was feeling it. All the haters out there that talked s***, this is for you,” Harris told TSN after the game, apologizing for his language. “That’s for all the haters that put me down.”

The hometown hero, Harris was named the Most Valuable Player and Most Valuable Canadian — it’s the first time in Grey Cup history the same player won both awards — leading the Bombers to their first Grey Cup in 29 years beating Hamilton 33-12. The draught in the Manitoba Capital is over thanks to Harris.

Comments

Avatar
Justin Dunk is the pre-eminent CFL insider and unabashed supporter of Canadian quarterbacks. He is one of the founders of the new 3DownNation.