Ottawa’s Coach Jean Guillaume to make debut as Immaculata High School Football head coach

The game of football, over the recent years has seen a large growth in the city of Ottawa. Talent is at an all-time high and only continues to reach new levels. We now can turn on the television and watch football at any level, the NFL, CFL, NCAA and Sports and identify at least one athlete from each stage of football that is from the capital of Canada. Players like Neville Gallimore, Jesse Luketa, Katley Joseph, D.K Bonhomme, Kurleigh Gittens, Jackson Bennett, J.P Cimankinda and TK Victome are all 613 products putting their city on the map with the work they put in on the football field and wouldn’t be able to do so without the football upbringing they had in Ottawa and the coaching they were given early in their football careers.

A coach in Ottawa that is known for his work on and off of the football field, impacted the lives and careers of many young football players like a few mentioned previously is Jean Sorphia-Guillaume. Guillaume, Haitian-born, and Montreal, Quebec raised played football growing up with the Sun Youth Hornets, where he was coached by a great coach himself in Earl De-La-Perralle. De-La-Perralle coached a number of players that went on to play at the next level, including many NFL and CFL stars, but also knew what was most important in the game of football, the life lessons learnt through the sport. For Guillaume, the time spent with Sun Youth was life changing and after coming into the program as a player, he left as a coach. Coach Earl transformed Jean Guillaume into a coach at 18 years old and although he played some football with the University of Montreal Carabins and has had some years away from coaching he remains on the sidelines, looking to change lives on and off of the field.

His coaching career, despite it starting in Montreal with Sun Youth has taken him to the capital of Canada where he has made a name for himself, most recently winning the 2020 Brian Kilrea coach of the year in the city of Ottawa, awarded by Mayor Jim Watson. The award recognizes the job he has done as a high school football coach with the St. Matthew Catholic High School Tigers in Orleans, winning a number of big games, and bringing the team to OFSAA, being the first black coach to do so, sending players to the next level in the NCAA, CEGEP and USports level but also being that much needed mentor off of the football field for many players and even students at the school during his time there. When asked about his role as a football coach Guillaume told JZ Media’s Jordan Zlomislic, “As a football coach you are in charge of more than just football. You are in charge of making a change in the kids lives. To leave a positive impact on them, teach them about life through the game and have them leave the season a better person and ready for what is next in their lives.” Guillaume also expressed, “I put the kids first as a coach. I like the development process part of coaching. You get to see the kids grow as athletes but most importantly people.”

After coaching with the St Matthews Tigers and turning around the entire football culture at the school, Jean Guillaume moved on to teach at Immaculata High School in downtown Ottawa while he coaches at the University of Ottawa, helping on the defensive side of the ball and recruiting field. When he began teaching at Immaculata though, the staff wanted him to coach the Saints’ football team. Knowing what he’s accomplished as a coach and what he’s done for his previous players, it was something that the school wanted in their culture and will soon receive. Accepting the opportunity to coach a new group of players, Guillaume makes his debut as the head coach of the Immaculata High School Saints on Wednesday at Millennium Park in Orleans against Franco Cite. He says, “Having the opportunity in front of me, it was hard to say no. The kids wanted it, and thats who you do it for. I love the game, and I want what is best for the kids for this season and moving forward.”

J.P Cimankinda, Gee Gees defence come up big in win over Ravens; JZ Media’s views from the Panda Game

All photos taken by JZ Media’s Jordan Zlomislic at 2021 Panda Game

At 12:00 on Saturday at TD Place the Carleton University Ravens kicked off to the University of Ottawa Gee Gees to launch the annual inner-city rivalry game called “The Panda Game.” Going into the game, it may have looked from afar that the Carleton Ravens were going to win the game. They were coming off of a big 30-17 win from a week ago against York where quarterback Tanner Dejong threw for 264 yards and 3 touchdowns while the Gee Gees opened the season 0-2 with and were looking to rebound from a 30-7 loss to Queens and that is exactly what took place at TD Place in Ottawa on Saturday. The Ravens ended up being without quarterback Tanner Dejong due to an injury he faced to his leg, leaving them with first year quarterback from the Kamloops Broncos Reid Vankoughnett. Although Vankoughnett was able to keep the Ravens in the game, throwing for one score and handing the ball off to Nathan Carter for another his efforts weren’t enough to keep up with the Gee Gees defence and University of Ottawa running back J.P Cimankinda.

The Ottawa Gee Gees won the game 19-17, winning the game on a game winning 45 yard Campbell Fair field goal with a minute left in the Panda Game. They were led by quarterback Ben Maracle for the the first parts of the game where he connected on a number of throws to Daniel Oladejo, Rodney Estime as well as a Tristan Park 64 yard touchdown until he went down and Matt Mahler came in to replace him. Mahler was able to connect with his receivers on multiple occasions as well and also picked up a few first downs on the ground, but out of all the players on the Gee Gees’ offence, it was Ottawa-raised running back J.P Cimankinda that left the biggest impact. Cimankinda, who transferred from Guelph during the off-season alongside receiver Willy-Pierre Dimbongi and defensive back A.K Ismail ran all over the Carleton University Ravens and at 6-foot-1, 230 pounds it was tough for the Ravens to bring him down. Being fed the ball like Derrick Henry, Cimankinda ran for 133 yards on 22 carries and led the Gee Gees offence to score a touchdown and three field goals while the Gee Gees defence forced a rouge and a safety to make 19 points.

Also starring on the Gee Gees team was the entire defensive front seven. First year quarterback Reid Vankoughnett for the Ravens was hurried on what seemed like every play of the game and was sacked 2 times while other Ravens quarterback Tristan Rinaldis was sacked twice as well by the Gee Gees defence. They only were able to throw for a combined 48 yards passing and like the Gee Gees, relied on the running game with their own number one back Nathan Carter who rushed for 108 yards. Gee Gees’ linebacker James Peter led the defence with 12 tackles while defensive end Michael Pezzuto had 7 tackles and a sack. The Gee Gees defence forced the Ravens to punt 10 times on the day and won the game on all cylinders.

With the 19-17 win over the Ravens, the University of Ottawa Gee Gees have now won 3 straight Panda Games, and the future looks bright with local talented guys in Daniel Oladejo, T.K Victome, J.P Cimankinda, James Peter and more. Both the Gee Gees and Ravens will find each other playing one another once again on the 28th of October at TD Place for a Gee Gees home game and depending what both teams look like in the last weeks of the 2021 OUA shortened season, the Panda Game rematch may just be even bigger than Saturday’s Panda Game.

The 2021 Panda Game is upon us; what to watch in this year’s Gee Gees vs Ravens matchup

Outside of the Vanier Cup at the end of the season, the Panda Game, taken place at TD Place stadium, the home of the CFL’s Ottawa Redblacks is the biggest college football game in Canada and it is taking place this weekend. The inner city rivalry between both the Carleton University Ravens and University of Ottawa Gee Gees always makes up for a great game, and a great atmosphere. With the game being played this Saturday, October 2nd, there is a lot of excitement in the air and all eyes are on the local playmakers.

On the Carleton Ravens is local quarterback Tanner Dejong, running backs Nathan Carter, Aidan Arnott-Smith and Ethan Rocha, receivers Kaseem Ferdinand, Ben Huckabone, Tristan Ready, Nick Renaud and Kerwin Guiste, offensive linemen Jesse Tamming, Kyle Sonnenburg, Michael Lightbody and Tyler Draper, defensive linemen Jayden Delorme, Trey O’Brien and Owen Ford, linebacker Malik Yusuf, defensive back Denny Ferdinand and kicker Kiera Flannery-Fleck. The Gee Gees have local running backs J.P Cimankinda and Ben Williams, receivers Dylan St-Pierre, Daniel Oladejo and Conor MacDonald, offensive linemen Brett Jelly and Zachary Seguin, defensive linemen Charlie Tittley and Lliam Horrocks, linebackers James Peter, Pat Madore, David Fyneah, Max Charbonneau and Daniel Briere, as well as defensive backs A.K Ismail, T.K Victome, Jerry Delorme and Emmanuel Aboagye-Gyan. There will be a number of local talents playing alongside many other star players like the Ravens’ defensive back Jonathan Edouard from Orlando, Florida and the Gee Gees’ Rodney Estime, a receiver from Montreal who will make Saturday’s game a great one and fans should definitely keep an eye on the local talent. Of all of the Ottawa-raised athletes playing in the Panda Game, it is expected that Gee Gees’ defensive back Kevin (TK) Victome and linebacker James Peter are to make an impact for their respective team while Ravens homegrown quarterback Tanner Dejong, receiver Kerwin Guiste, linebacker Malik Yusuf and twins Kaseem and Denny Ferdinand will also make an impact on their own teams.

The local talent will bring in the fans and also bring big plays to each of the teams, but outside of that, the coaching can also be an interesting topic this Saturday. Back in the capital for the first time this season is Marcel Bellefeuille since leaving Ottawa in 2000 with a 26-5 record over 3 seasons as the Gee Gees head coach. It will be nice for Bellefeuille’s first game back in Ottawa as the Gee Gees head coach to be the famous Panda Game. On the opposite sideline is Steve Sumarah. Sumarah has been the head coach of the Ravens since 2012 when he was hired during Carleton’s revival process of the football program. He has since coached a number of panda games and sitting at 1-1 going into week 3 he looks to beat the Gee Gees after losing to them in the last panda game in 2019 which would put them at 2-1 on the season and the Gee Gees at 0-3, making a big difference and impact into the standings early on in the shortened season.

Along with the other points mentioned for Saturday’s big game, the atmosphere will be crazy and whoever’s school is the loudest may just come away with the win. The game is sold out, 75% of TD Place should be filled, University of Ottawa on the North Side and Carleton University on the South Side and it will be the first time that all 75% shows up to a game at TD Place this year after seeing a maximum of 12,000 show up to Redblacks games earlier in the CFL season. Every year the Panda Game is the biggest event for University sports in Ottawa, but with sports being out of the picture a year ago and there being so much hype going into this weekend, Saturday’s Panda Game, despite there being a restriction to the amount of fans let in may just be the best one yet.

If you are able to find tickets if you do not have yours already go get them now and take in the Panda Game experience on Saturday. For those that aren’t going to be in attendance, though you can stream the game online through OUA’s streaming service for free.

Just what they needed; rookie quarterback Caleb Evans leads Ottawa Redblacks to victory in first career start

The Ottawa Redblacks went into Tuesday night’s game against the Edmonton Elks with a 1-5 record. Everyone around the league and outside of the facility at TD Place doubted the team and figured the team wouldn’t win another game this season, however after putting 34 points up against the Elks and watching the Redblacks play a fantastic game on all sides those doubters should be silenced and forced to watch the team respectfully. It is something a lot of R-Nation has done all season, after watching the team perform in training camp and early on this season it was proven that the Ottawa Redblacks have an outstanding defence led by coordinator Mike Benevides, like every year Bob Dyce has put together a solid special teams unit. Kickers Richie Leone and Lewis Ward are two of the best in the game and DeVonte Dedmon is the most electrifying returner in all of the CFL, maybe the history of the game too and on top of all of that the offence has proven to have the right pieces, they just need to click all together. When the offence clicks, well you saw it last night.

Photo of Mr. Tuesday Night from CFL twitter

Caleb Evans, in his first career start threw for 191 yards and 3 touchdowns with a 68% completion percentage while adding 59 yards rushing on 7 scrambling attempts. Running back Timothy Flanders was able to gain 45 yards on the ground as well as 16 in the air including a 15 yard receiving touchdown but the real help in the pass game came from both Ryan Davis and RJ Harris for Evans. Davis caught 5 of 8 targets for 67 yards and a score while also throwing the ball once for a 37 yard completion to Kenny Stafford. Harris had 80 yards receiving on 4 receptions and caught one momentum building 44 yard pass, his second 40+ yard reception on the season. Also on offence, Kenny Stafford caught two passes (Ryan Davis’ 37 yard pass and a Caleb Evans touchdown) for 44 yards and a score in just his second game with his new team and Anthony Coombs caught 3 of 4 targets for 21 yards, just a few steps away from a touchdown on a corner route in the end zone early in the game.

The Redblacks’ defence also had a huge impact on the game, starting early on when they forced a turnover on Edmonton’s first play from scrimmage. They finished the game with 3 takeaways, two interceptions off of Taylor Cornelius and one forced fumble on Greg Ellingson. It was both Brandin Dandridge and Antoine Pruneau that came up with the interceptions while Don Unamba was the one that made the play on Ellingson to force a fumble and put the Redblacks in the position early to go up 14-0. Unamba finished the game with 9 tackles, 1 sack and the forced fumble, Davon Coleman, Praise Martin-Oguike, and Avery Ellis also came up with sacks, Avery Williams had 5 tackles, and so did Cleyon Laing but where the sparks came to the offence outside of the defence and their turnovers were from the special teams unit and DeVonte Dedmon’s crazy abilities.

Antoine Pruneau photo from REDBLACKS twitter

Dedmon, who returned two kicks for touchdowns in a game against Montreal in 2019 and found himself in the end zone again last week against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats returned a punt 73 yards for a score against the Elks in the third quarter. The return was one of 8 on the night for a total 250 yards returning. He averaged 31.25 yards each time he touched the ball and if last night’s performance, on top of what he did last week and every week before that isn’t enough for the entire CFL to realize how impactful he is and what kind of player he is for the Redblacks, I don’t know when they will wake up. Dedmon now has 1,319 yards all-purpose on the season on 69 touches. If he indeed gets consistent touches on the offence like he should, Dedmon will be a part of the Ottawa Redblacks’ turning point this CFL season.

They go into a road game next week in Toronto with a 2-5 record. If Montreal falls to the Tiger-Cats this week they will be 2-5 as well while both Edmonton and Calgary currently sit at 2-5. It may be a big if at this point and there is a long way to go, but the Ottawa Redblacks are still very much in it this season and after a huge win against the Elks’ it may just be young players like Caleb Evans who demonstrated great knowledge and ability to play quarterback at this level, Ryan Davis who is having a tremendous rookie year at receiver with 325 yards and 2 touchdowns in the air as well as 24 rushing yards, 37 passing yards and just under 300 return yards and DeVonte Dedmon who has been electrifying thus far that will make large impacts in the turning around of a bad start to the 2021 season. As for the defensive side of the ball, expect to see Avery Williams, Micah Awe and Don Unamba to continue to make plays at linebacker while Cleyon Laing, Davon Coleman, Avery Ellis and Praise Martin-Oguike get to the quarterback and defensive backs Antoine Pruneau, Gump Hayes and Randall Evans make plays in the secondary while they wait for veteran playmakers Abdul Kanneh and Sherrod Baltimore to come back from injury.

Once Baltimore and Kanneh are back in the defensive line up for the Redblacks’ coordinator Mike Benevides will have all of the right pieces to have the best defence in the CFL, they will just need to make plays like they have been to prove it to everyone. Against the Argonauts next Wednesday the entire league should have eyes on 23 year old Caleb Evans who could legitimately be the future of the Ottawa Redblacks, 24 year old Ryan Davis, 25 year old DeVonte Dedmon and veteran defensive stars Micah Awe, Don Unamba, Davon Coleman, Avery Williams and Antoine Pruneau because they, along with many others on the Redblacks have been and will continue to make plays for R-Nation to cheer for.

The Ottawa Redblacks have talent. They have what it takes. They just need to click together like they did on Tuesday night against the Elks. Don’t underestimate them and you better respect them.

It is Ottawa Redblacks game day! Yes, on a Tuesday. What to expect from rookie quarterback Caleb Evans

Tonight will be a weird night in the CFL. The Ottawa Redblacks will be kicking off week 9 of the 2021 CFL season at home against the Edmonton Elks. It will be the first Tuesday night game of the CFL season, but that will not be the sole reason for a weird CFL game. The Ottawa Redblacks’ only two quarterbacks dressing are Caleb Evans and Taryn Christion who have never had any CFL action in their young careers.

Evans, 23 years old will get the start tonight against the Elks and is should surprise the league have a big game. After seeing both Matt Nichols and Dominique Davis struggle early on this season in the Redblacks’ offence and watching them both face injuries in last week’s game against the Tiger-Cats, being placed on the 6-game injured list offensive mindset Paul LaPolice has turned to the rookies and Evans, despite being a rookie in the CFL has a lot to show for himself and is a proven playmaker. During his collegiate career at Louisiana Monroe Caleb Evans threw for 9,513 yards and 58 touchdowns, while adding 2,168 rushing yards and 36 scores on the ground to the totals over 3 seasons. His last start came in 2019 against the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns where he threw for 330 yards, 2 scores and ran for 77 yards and a touchdown as well. The game ended in a 31-30 Louisiana victory but Evans will look to win tonight for the Ottawa Redblacks in his first professional start. He will do so with a strong arm, and the ability to extend plays with his legs.

Ottawa is the home of a number of play makers that can help Evans out in tonight’s game against the Elks. Players like Ryan Davis, DeVonte Dedmon, Timothy Flanders, RJ Harris and Nate Behar will have major roles as receivers and playmakers in the Redblacks offence in tonight’s game and if any of these receivers are looked at to have a bigger game than the others you would have to go with the dual threat, speed receivers in Ryan Davis and DeVonte Dedmon. Both receivers provide electricity to the field every time they touch the ball and are able to get open which, against a strong Elks secondary will help the rookie quarterback, Caleb Evans.

Along with the help on the offensive side of the ball, Mike Benevides’ Redblacks’ defence is coming off of a big game against the Tiger Cats where despite losing stopped the Hamilton offence on multiple occasions. Against other rookie quarterback Taylor Cornelius for the Elks, the Redblacks defence which will headline Avery Williams, Cleyon Laing, Antoine Pruneau, Micah Awe and Don Unamba in tonight’s game should be able to provide a bright spot for Caleb Evans. The defence will be without Marcus Lewis at defensive back but have replaced him with Brandin Dandridge who played with Ottawa in 2019. Expect some big plays from the Redblacks’ defence and special teams tonight to keep Caleb Evans in the game, no matter what the situation is on the offensive side of the ball.

Kickoff will be 7:30 at TD Place against the Elks. If you cannot make it tonight be sure to tune into the game on TSN and watch the Redblacks as they look to turn the season around starting tonight.

Ottawa Redblacks hit practice field over the weekend to prepare for Tuesday’s game against the Edmonton Elks

The Ottawa Redblacks have opened up their 2021 CFL season in a disappointing fashion. After going 3-15 in 2019 they made a number of changes to the organization, from the coaching staff to the offensive line, the team has a whole different look and the fans expected a very different outcome to this season than the one they got in 2019 but it doesn’t look like that’ll be happening for R-Nation. They’ve opened the season 1-5, and as they approach the mid-season mark of the season in their seventh game against the Edmonton Elks next Tuesday it may be too late to turn the season around.

Photo from Ottawa Redblacks twitter of Ryan Davis

The eastern division consists of the 4-3 Toronto Argonauts, 4-3 Hamilton Tiger-Cats and 2-4 Montreal Alouettes. Even if the Redblacks were to win out to close the season they would sit at just 9-5 and after 6 games played this season it doesn’t look like they will be able to win 8 straight games, they’ve had trouble winning a second game this season, but if there is a game where they can indeed see that second win of the 2021 CFL season it would be this coming week against the Edmonton Elks at TD Place on Tuesday night. Ottawa’s only win this season came against the Elks in week one of the season, and that Elks’ team is now without quarterback Trevor Harris as he battles a neck injury from a game two weeks ago against the Calgary Stampeders. In to replace him will be rookie CFL quarterback Taylor Cornelius who spent his collegiate career with the Oklahoma State Cowboys but in the backfield with him and around him on the offensive side of the ball is James Wilder Jr, Greg Ellingson, Derel Walker and Mike Jones that each have big play potential and need to be stopped by the Redblacks defence.

Also needed to be stopped by the Ottawa Redblacks would be the Edmonton Elks’ pass rush. The Elks have 12 sacks and 4 forced fumbles on the year and with the Redblacks’ offensive line and quarterbacks as banged up as they are, there will need to be a game plan in place to stop the pass rush which is led by former Redblacks’ lineman Jake Ceresna.

It may seem like the Redblacks have their hands full against the Elks, especially considering the situation they are in with the injuries they’ve faced this season. Being without defensive stars Abdul Kanneh and Sherrod Baltimore yet again as well as a number of offensive linemen and others on the offensive side of the ball makes it tough for Redblacks fans to expect the Redblacks to win, however it is not impossible.

The Redblacks opened up week 9 of the 2021 CFL season today in practice and will continue to practice on Sunday and Monday prior to Tuesday’s game against the Elks. On Tuesday the Ottawa Redblacks will need to be the best that they can on all sides of the ball. Already this season, they have had success on both defence and special teams. The defence has kept the Redblacks in games early this season while the special teams unit has helped the offence on multiple occasions as well, but it will be the offence that will need to score points against the Elks to make the real impact. Players like Ryan Davis, RJ Harris, DeVonte Dedmon, Anthony Coombs and Nate Behar will have to prove that they are playmakers on the offensive side of the ball, regardless of who the quarterback is or what the offensive line looks like, they need plays from them and running back Timothy Flanders. If they are able to do so and make plays for the Redblacks offence and both the special teams unit and defence of the Redblacks are able to see success as well against the Edmonton Elks on Tuesday, maybe that win that the Redblacks and their fans are hungry for will come.

Continue to keep eyes on the Ottawa Redblacks this weekend and during the week as the team may see some changes, and changes for the good as quarterback Devlin Hodges is set to practice for the first time as a CFL quarterback with the Redblacks. He is among the recent signings by Marcel Desjardins and his front office in Ottawa and may just be a part of the change that is about to come for the Redblacks and their R-Nation community.

Canadians continue to make plays south of the border; a look in at a week headlined by Canadian football performances

Every week there are a number of players in the NCAA and NFL that change games. They make plays and are recognized around the sports world for their accomplishments. Usually they are the players that have already made plays throughout their careers and are already known by many and for the longest time all of these athletes that were being recognized for making big plays and impacting games in the NCAA and NFL were Americans and were coming from big sports states like California, Virginia, and Florida but now we are seeing them from other places, other states, other countries and other continents including Canada.

Canada has been known for it’s talent in the game of hockey, and will stay like that because of the number of hockey players the country produces year in, year out, however after a third straight week in College football this season and a second straight week of the NFL season there have been Canadians recognized for making big plays in football and soon the game of football could be one of the primary sports in the country. During the week, we saw Alonzo Addae have a huge 10 tackle, one sack performance with West Virginia University, and recognized by the NFL Draft Network as the NCAA defensive player of the week. Also recognized was Ottawa native Fabrice Mukendi who plays running back from Bryant University. Mukendi ran for 56 yards, and caught 3 passes for 23 yards with one score and was named the NEC offensive rookie of the week. He now has 226 yards of offence this season and 2 scores as a freshman but is not the only one from Ottawa making plays.

Mukendi was joined by Jesse Luketa from Ottawa who has 8 tackles in Penn State’s whiteout game against Auburn and now has 17 tackles on the season, and Luiji Vilain who also had a big game for Wake Forest. Vilain made 2 tackles and was able to impact the Wake Forest-Florida State game by forcing and recovering a fumble. Akeem Mesidor and Jonathan Sutherland each had 3 tackles in their week 3 games from Ottawa but those are just a select few of many great performances from Canadians.

Among those performances was of course Alonzo Addae’s 10 tackle, one sack game against Virginia Tech as well as Enock Makonzo’s 9 tackles against Buffalo, Samuel Emilus’ 3 catches for 57 yards and a score for Louisiana Tech University, Chase Brown’s 111 yards of offence on 16 touches, Jared Wayne’s 100 receiving yards on 5 receptions, Nick Mardner’s 97 yards receiving and Damien Alford’s 73 yard touchdown reception which marks the 6-foot-6 Montreal, Quebec native’s first reception of his career at Syracuse.

These performances were then followed by those in the NFL and in week 2 of the 2021 NFL season we saw Canadian receiver Chase Claypool catch 3 passes for 70 yards, Canadian defensive back Jevon Holland have 3 tackles, 2 quarterback hits and a fumble recovery and Canadian defensive back Benjamin St Juste make 3 tackles and deflect one pass. There were other Canadians that made their presence felt like Joshua Palmer’s 21 receiving yards against the Cowboys and Christian Covington’s 2 tackles on the defensive line against Dallas as well but the first three mentioned had the bigger impact on the results of the games.

Watch for these Canadian stars as they continue to make ways for the young athletes growing up with dreams of playing at the level that they play at. Week 3 of the NFL season opens with a Thursday Night game between the Texans and Panthers which features Canadian running back Chuba Hubbard.

It is Ottawa Redblacks game day; what to watch for in tonight’s game

The Ottawa Redblacks and Hamilton Tiger-Cats will kick-off week 8 of the 2021 CFL season tonight at TD Place for a 7:30 eastern day light time kickoff. Ottawa goes into the game with a 1-4 record while Hamilton goes into it 3-3 and as for the Redblacks this is as close as you get to a must win situation. They will face a banged up Hamilton Tiger Cats team which is down both starting quarterbacks Dane Evans and Jeremiah Masoli as well as receivers Brandon Banks, Bralon Addison and potentially running back Sean Thomas Erlington. These injuries to Hamilton, despite the injuries of their own on the defensive side of the ball, without Abdul Kanneh, Sherrod Baltimore and Frank Beltre could help the Ottawa Redblacks. With a win they can improve to a 2-4 record and may even find themselves tied with the Montreal Alouettes for the third place spot in the eastern division if the Alouettes are to lose to the Toronto Argonauts this week as well.

To be able to be in that position, winning tonight’s game and improving to 2-4 heading into next week’s game against the injured Edmonton Elks who will be without starting quarterback Trevor Harris, the Redblacks will need to win a number of different battles. Some of those battles to keep eyes on would be the turnover battle, the battles within the trenches and the battles at the line of scrimmage between receiver and defensive back. In the last two games Ottawa has seen large improvements on the offensive side of the ball. They opened the season struggling in the pass game but have since had quarterback Dominique Davis throw for over 600 yards and 3 touchdowns in just 7 quarters under centre. He has uplifted the entire offensive side of the football and to win this week’s game against the Tiger-Cats he will need to not only make sure that he’s up to par with his receiving core which is led by R.J Harris, Ryan Davis, Kenny Stafford, Anthony Coombs and Nate Behar against the Tiger-Cats but will also need to ensure that the offensive line in front of him is playing well too. Ottawa’s offensive line coach Bob Wylie has had his hands full this season with a number of injuries, having to switch up the starting lineup every week. This week the line will feature 4 Canadians in Mark Korte, Andrew Pickett, Nolan MacMillan and Jakub Szott as well as American offensive tackle Jamar McGloster. They will also have Laval product Ketel Asse dress as a backup, but to make sure that the Redblacks stay in the game and have the ability to win this week 8 game against the Tiger-Cats the offensive line will need to win the battle in the trenches. The run game needs to have some success to open up the passing game some more because at this point of the season the Redblacks’ offensive play calling is too predictable.

To make it less predictable and help the Redblacks win not only this game but games moving forward the team will have to see victories at the line of scrimmage and not just on the offensive line and defensive line but also out wide between the wide receivers and defensive backs. The Redblacks will be with Kenny Stafford for the first time at receiver after signing him last week. He and the rest of the receiving core, led by RJ Harris, Ryan Davis and Nate Behar will need to have big games and be open for Dominique Davis to lead the Redblacks to a victory. Also needed in tonight’s game would be good games from the defensive secondary. Players like Antonine Pruneau, Randall Evans, Marcus Lewis, Gump Hayes and Brad Muhammad will need to have good games, locking up Tiger-Cats receivers and even getting some turnovers from young quarterback David Watford. Winning the turnover battle will be crucial for the Redblacks to win this game and more moving forward. The defensive secondary getting interceptions and the defensive line getting to the quarterback will be a bug deciding factor in tonight’s game, and if you are a Redblacks fan in attendance or tuned in on TSN the turnover battle and the battle within the trenches will be one to watch.

Watch the Redblacks face off against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at 7:30 tonight as they look to turn the season around.