Harris interested in righting Eskimos’ ship, not facing former Redblacks mates

EDMONTON — Trevor Harris isn’t giving nearly as much thought to facing his former team when the Ottawa Redblacks come calling at Commonwealth Stadium Friday as he is to finding a way to help his Edmonton Eskimos regain a measure of consistency and string some wins together.

After wins over Montreal and B.C. to start the season, the Eskimos have gone loss-win-loss-win-loss, including a 24-18 defeat against the Calgary Stampeders last Saturday to sit at 4-3 in a tight West Division. The Eskimos need a bounce-back game and to put an end to the one step forward, one step back stretch they’re on.

That’s the focus for Harris, no matter who the opponent is.

“There’s obviously something to it with you guys,” Harris said about facing Ottawa for the first time since signing in Edmonton. “You guys write the stories and that kind of stuff, but I’m an Eskimo, man.

“I feel like I’m embedded in this culture and this city and there’s never been a more important time in my football career than right now.”

A slow start that saw the Eskimos fall behind 9-0 and generate just 78 yards of offence in the first half — and special teams that allowed 275 return yards, including a 103-kick-off return by Terry Williams for a touchdown — was the difference in Calgary.

“It we had the answer, we’d do it every game,” coach Jason Maas said when asked about getting his offence, defence and special teams firing at the same time. “Ultimately, it’s a process.

“It doesn’t happen all the time, it doesn’t happen overnight, but you expect as the year goes on and day by day, guys will continue to get better, so that one day it will hit, where we’re all playing better for longer together.”

While the offence got rolling in the second half in Calgary — Harris finished with 373 yards passing and the Eskimos put up 401 yards of net offence — Edmonton can’t afford to play from behind against Ottawa. The Redblacks come in at 3-4 and on a high after a 30-27 overtime win against Montreal.

“It’s all about finishing drives,” Harris said. “It’s been, you know, one thing here, one thing there. Myself making mistakes along with everybody on the offence.

“We’ve just got to band together and understand this is a team game. We’re all in this together and 12 (players) operating as one unit is really what we’re going for. Once we do that, the sky is the limit for this group.”

The constant for Edmonton has been a stingy defence. The Eskimos lead the league with 18 points and 232.6 net yards allowed per game – no other team is under 300 yards – as well as in quarterback sacks with 26 and first downs allowed with 108.

“Our defence is killing it,” said former Redblack Greg Ellingson, back in Edmonton’s receiving corps from the one-game injured list. “If they can keep it up, get us the ball back and let us dominate the time of possession, we have a good group on offence.

“We have a lot of plays. We have a quick tempo and we have playmakers, so we’ve just got to do what we know we can do.”

OTTAWA REDBLACKS (3-4) at EDMONTON ESKIMOS (4-3)

Friday, Commonwealth Stadium

FLASHBACK — Ottawa’s last win in Edmonton was a 45-37 OT decision June 25, 2016. In that game, Harris came on in relief of Henry Burris with the Redblacks trailing 21-14 in the third quarter. He went 17-for-19 for 292 yards and three touchdowns, including a 12-yard toss to Brad Sinopoli to decide it.

DEDMON RUNNING — DeVonte Dedmon was the story in Ottawa’s win over Montreal. Dedmon set a franchise record with 377 yards of combined kick return yardage, including a 111-yard kick-off return for a touchdown and a 95-yard punt return for a touchdown as the Redblacks snapped a four-game losing streak.

STILL STREAKING — Ottawa’s Lewis Ward faces the Eskimos with a CFL record streak of 67 consecutive field goals on the go. Ward went three-for-three against Montreal. He tied the game late in regulation with a 30-yarder and then won it in overtime with a 14-yard chip shot.

MR. JONES — Kick return specialist Christion Jones, obtained from the Saskatchewan Roughriders Monday for receiver Kenny Stafford, will be in Edmonton’s line-up. Jones, 26, will take the place of injured Martese Jackson.

BACK IN — Linebacker Don Unamba and cornerback Anthony Orange return to Edmonton’s line-up from the six-game IL.

Just Posted

Memorial plaques stolen from benches in downtown Red Deer parks

City staff found at least 25 metal plaques disappeared last weekend

Turning Point executive director ‘disappointed’ by new panel reviewing safe consumption site

The executive director of Turning Point says she’s “a bit disappointed” in… Continue reading

Red Deer seeking further public input on transit network improvements

Proposed new routes, improved frequency, connectivity and accessibility are all part of… Continue reading

14 year old pedestrian injured in motor vehicle collision in Red Deer

A young pedestrian was injured during a motor vehicle collision Monday evening… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Thursday The Red Deer and District Garden Club hosts its annual Flower… Continue reading

California freeway crossing to give wildlife room to roam

LOS ANGELES — Like many urban singles, the mountain lion P-22 lives… Continue reading

Liberals granting more leeway to would-be Venezuelan immigrants, refugees

OTTAWA — The federal Liberals are easing immigration and refugee rules for… Continue reading

Transat continues to back Air Canada bid following comments by Peladeau

MONTREAL — Transat A.T. Inc. repeated its recommendation that shareholders support a… Continue reading

Manitoba Liberal candidate says he was attacked in apartment building

WINNIPEG — A candidate in the upcoming Manitoba provincial election says he… Continue reading

Greenland leader again rejects Trump buying idea

REYKJAVIK, Iceland — Greenland has again stolen the limelight when its premier… Continue reading

Kenney says Legault has shaky grasp of history when it comes to equalization

QUEBEC — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney shot back at his Quebec counterpart… Continue reading

Judge acquits Manitoba Mountie of manslaughter but not driving charge

THOMPSON, Man. — A judge says he believes that a northern Manitoba… Continue reading

Most Read