REDBLACKS set sights on Roughriders for home opener Thursday
It wasn’t that long ago that the Ottawa REDBLACKS were Grey Cup Champions, and after a down season last year that saw the squad only mount a total of eight wins, it’s safe to say that the lumberjacks are poised to return to the top.
That all starts this week in the Glebe, when the Saskatchewan Roughriders blow into town for the team’s home opener Thursday night. The REDBLACKS will be out for blood, after losing the East semi finals to Saskatchewan in a stunner last November.
“I think we have a chip on our shoulders from how things ended last year,” REDBLACKS wide receiver Greg Ellingson said on the team’s website. “So, I think everybody is going to have their mind set and ready to bang when it comes to it.”
The REDBLACKS posted a perfect 2-0 record during the pre-season, destroying Montreal 27-7, and trouncing Toronto 32-7 in Guelph June 7. While the rookies and newbies impressed during pre-season, the real work begins Thursday night if the REDBLACKS want to return to the top of the CFL again this year.
A win Thursday night would push the REDBLACKS directly into first place in the East, as all three other division teams lost their opening week games.
If the REDBLACKS need to prove anybody wrong, it will be the sport writers, as pundits have called for Toronto to win the East, Calgary to win the West and the Edmonton Eskimos to win the 2018 Grey Cup. The 2018 poll saw the REDBLACKS only receive five votes out of a possible 73 to win the East and zero votes to win the Grey Cup.
Linebacker Rico Murray sees Thursday’s game as an opportunity – especially playing in front of Ottawa’s raucous home crowd, and the fact that all three other East teams lost their opening week games.
“It will be exciting just to get out there and get the season started,” he told the REDBLACKS’ website.
“We got to sit back for the last week and watch everybody else get to it, so it’s exciting and we have got a great opportunity with them coming into our home stadium.”
Thursday’s home opener kicks off at 7:30 p.m., but the fun starts well before that.
The Glebe will be hopping with super fans, face painters, stilt walkers, live music and balloonists along Bank Street from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. prior to kickoff. There will also be an interactive photo both complete with silly football props and costumes in front of Local Public Eater before the game.
So, come down early and stay late and help the REDBLACKS kickoff the 2018 season in typical Glebe style. Go, REDBLACKS, Go!