Friday, August 12, 2005

Renegades Rendez-vous

First place in the East at week seven. Very few in Ottawa and around the CFL probably thought that the Renegades would hold bragging rights on August 12th, but there it is right on the top of your CFL statistic package. The Renegades with a record of 5-3, hold down the first spot in the CFL east, thanks to an exciting 22-17 victory over a struggling Saskatchewan Roughrider squad. They're uncontested hold on the top spot will be tested tonight as the Argos and Als do battle in Toronto.

The Rens who continue to amaze and entertain game in and game out, can thank their steady defense for the victory, the Renegade secondary kept both Saskatchewan QB's Nealon Green and Marcus Crandell frustrated all night long, as turnovers and interceptions were the battle orders for the team in black.

Kerry Joseph took charge on offense once again, scoring two touchdowns on his own and throwing for another as the Renegades did an excellent job of ball control. From the very first scrimmage they seemed to be a team with an eye on the standings, as Joseph led them down the field and in for a touchdown on their first possession. A drive that put the 20,000 plus crowd into a festive mood for the rest of the game, the largest crowd of the year had hardly sat in their seats when the Rens were putting seven points on the board.

It rocked the Riders for a while, who went three and out on the following set of downs, unable to generate any offense early on in the game. Nealon Green was relieved of his duties at half time and looked like a guy not too happy about the decision. Marcus Crandell took over for quarter three and had mild success as the game progressed, but the punishing play of the Ottawa defensive line and the stingy attitude of the secondary kept the Riders off balance for the night.

As the fourth quarter was winding down the Riders had taken a lead, but the calm and collected ways of Joesph led the Rens back down the field to take the lead for good. The last minute of play in true CFL tradition had its excitement as Saskatchewan took the ball down the field and then launched a few missiles in the direction of the Ottawa endzone, but in the end a spectacular defensive play by Greg Moss salted away another Ottawa victory.

It's uncharted territory these days for the Rens, Joe Paopao's squad enjoying life at the top of the CFL pack in the east and building confidence with each game. As Joseph put it after the game, "It's a huge win for us, but we can play better." Words to give Rens fans a bit of a swagger as they support their team these days.

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