Perhaps divine intervention or perhaps just a sense of a football team coming together, but under stormy skies the Ottawa Renegades convincingly dispatched the Calgary Stampeders from Frank Clair Stadium on Saturday night.
The game was delayed by about half an hour as a violent thunderstorm rumbled its way across the Ottawa Valley bringing bursts of lightning, torrents or rain and resonating thunder to Lansdowne Park. Once the players took to the field the energy from the skies seemed to be transferred to the Renegade part of the south side sidelines.
The Renegades led by Kerry Joseph controlled the bulk of the play through the game, Yo Murphy caught two touchdown passes while Josh Ranek ran the Stamps defence up and down the field for 164 yards, as the Renegades stormed their way to a 33-18 victory.
Calgary seemed to come out cold after the delay and could not control Ranek's running, nor Murphy's pass patterns. The Stamps never seemed to be capable of pulling close and continued to stumble at key points in the game. Stamps fans still wait for Henry Burris to get untracked and show some of the magic they thought was on its way before training camp. Tom Higgins was not impressed with his teams performance, stating that there was really only one good football team on the field Saturday and that team was not the Stamps. Ouch, two a days for everyone?
The win gives the Rens a .500 record and puts them into a tie for first place in the Eastern Division. But more importantly the solid play of all components gives the team some added confidence early in the season. Confidence that will gain a major test on Thursday night when the Edmonton Eskimos come into town to play the Rens.
The announced crowd on Saturday was a paltry 16,303 a signal that the team has yet to win back many of the dis-satisfied fans of the last few years. However, another solid effort like Saturdays and the solid work ethic that these Rens are showing should begin to turn those turnstiles a little quicker and a little more often as the season progresses.
This is a team that doesn't seem to have any quit, a trait that should be rewarded by football fans. The Rens are starting to hold up their end of the bargain on the field, the time has come for the Ottawa sports fan to do their part in the stands!