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Pre-Season Recap: Saskatchewan 21, Ottawa 17
Derek Mortensen/ Staff

REGINA – The Ottawa REDBLACKS played in their first ever pre-season game Saturday afternoon but Marshay Green’s 75-yard punt return touchdown helped the Saskatchewan Roughriders capture a 21-17 win.

Billed as a home game for Ottawa, the contest was played at Regina’s Mosaic Stadium as the REDBLACKS await TD Place Stadium to meet completion.

It didn’t take long for REDBLACKS fans to witness their first highlight.  Ball State grad WR Jamill Smith fielded a punt early in the first quarter, bounced outside and raced down the near sideline for a 76-yard return.  Ottawa’s first big play brought them down to the 2-yard line where Chevon Walker would punch it in from a play later.

Walker’s major gave the REDBLACKS an early 7-0 lead.

Two possessions later, Ottawa would add to its lead when QB Henry Burris found receiver Marcus Henry for a one-handed 11-yard snag to set up a 44-yard Justin Palardy field goal.

Related: REDBLACKS vs. Riders

» View Game Stats
» Video: Green's 75-Yard Return Touchdown
Video: Smith's Return sets up OTT TD
» Images: OTT vs. SSK
» Preview: Ottawa set to debut in Riderville
» Video: Burris and co. Ready to Roll

That would signify the end of Burris’ day as rookie Danny O’Brien entered with 2:11 left in the opening quarter.  O’Brien, out of Catawba College, would go two-and-out on his first possession and it would prove to be costly.

Not letting Smith outshine in the return game, Green made the most of his first CFL touch.  The Mississippi grad got under a punt, made a number of moves and burst up field, navigating his way through would-be Ottawa tacklers.  He didn’t stop until he recorded a 77-yard punt return touchdown to cut the REDBLACKS lead to 10-7 with 58 seconds remaining in the first frame.

With Drew Willy now a member of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Tino Sunseri is the likely candidate to backup Darian Durant.  The sophomore pivot started for the Riders and played the entire first half before Durant entered.

If anyone thought that Durant had acquired rust after his Grey Cup Championship last year, they were quickly proven wrong.  The face of the franchise promptly orchestrated a 10-play, 88-yard drive capped off by an 18-yard touchdown pass to Brett Swain to give the Riders a 14-10 lead.

Durant’s day finished when the first half did and he exited with 76 yards and 1 touchdown on 7 of 8 passing.

He then stood back and watched the battle taking place in the backfield as the Riders search for their Kory Sheets replacement at running back.  In the first half it was Anthony Allen and Jermaine Thomas splitting reps and combining for 58 yards.

MUST WATCH: Marshay Green 75 Yard Punt Return

Keith Toston would start at tailback as the second half began and wasted little time making an impact, ripping off a 38-yard run.  With Adam Weber now at the helm, the Minnesota grad would engineer an impressive drive to start the third. First finding finding DeMarco Sampson for a 35-yard gain before connecting with Swain who hauled in his second major of the game.  This one, from four yards out, gave Saskatchewan a 21-10 lead at the 10:29 mark.

Weber finished 2 of 4 before giving way to Seth Doege.

Taking over the Ottawa offence in the second half was former BC Lions pivot Thomas DeMarco.  DeMarco was picked up in the CFL Expansion Draft last December and after starting off modestly, the young quarterback took a shot downfield and didn’t miss.

In the third quarter, DeMarco stepped into a pass and dropped it right into the hands of receiver Travon Patterson who found completed the 60-yard touchdown play and cut the Rider lead to 21-17.

DeMarco played until the midway point of the fourth quarter before Alex Cardner finished up the game.  

Ottawa will make the trip to Montreal next Friday to close out their first pre-season but the Riders will remain at home to host the Edmonton Eskimos.

Fan Comments
Redblacks looked good, still not big on the name. However, we have our 9th team back, and would love to see a balanced league with that 10th team. I hope its in my lifetime, though, ha. I think the riders will find a replacement for Dressler, maybe Swain is it, but Kory Sheets will be hard to replace. My hope he's back in green if things don't work out down south. He fits the CFL a lot better but I can't blame him for wanting the big dough.
June 16, 2014 - 5:49pm
It would have been nice to see them play at Carleton on Ottawa but realistically how could they have squeezed everyone in, have you seen those facilities ? maybe 5000 capacity, if that. The move would have been McGill Stadium in Montreal, 2 hour drive from Ottawa, made a lot more sense, way more Redblack fans could have attended.
June 16, 2014 - 12:11pm
Great game to watch, Ottawa served notice they'll be competitive, permit me to add you missed one, Macdonell (Redblacks #83) caught two passes, 18 & 23 yards, not just the one indicated on your game stats recap.
June 16, 2014 - 7:33am
2 things:

1 why did ottawa play a home game in saskatchewan? There are two new fields at Carleton u and ottawa u. The fans could have seen their home team play and get used to some of the players they will see play here next month for the home opener.

2 if ottawa was a home team, why did they wear their away white? Home games are played with solid colours. Whoever thought of this better be getting a cut from saskatchewan and giving it to ottawa. It wasn't a home game by any means. Let's start an expansion team off right and actually treat them fairly. I realise saskatchewan have a great fan base and won last year but still they can generate revenue no problem.
June 16, 2014 - 7:12am
als rule
@D: good points!!
June 16, 2014 - 11:27am
I'll bet the riders are wishing they had retained the services of Jock Sanders to replace Sheets! Sanders looked awesome against the Bombers & will add to an already great Calgary ground game!
June 15, 2014 - 3:23pm
The riders will rue the day they let Jock Sanders escape to the Stampeders! He will add to their already potent ground and return game!
June 15, 2014 - 2:40pm
Riders will rue the day that they allowed Jock Sanders to escape to the Stampeders! He will add to the already potent running game of the Stamps & will help immensely in their return game!
June 15, 2014 - 2:38pm
I am glad the Redblacks are playing and when I got an autograph from smiling Hank after the game, he looked very happy with his new team. As for the Riders, Durant looked very good out there and looks in form.
June 15, 2014 - 1:22pm
als rule
a WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN situation for the ottawa redblacks!!
June 15, 2014 - 10:52am
only problem is, they LOST LOST LOST LOST LOST!!
June 16, 2014 - 1:06am
als rule
@Jhead: of course it had to be you!! win situation 2 days ago cause RBs finally officially in our league!! the wait is over!! now the wait begins for the 10th team in the CFL and 5th team in the eastern conference!!
June 16, 2014 - 10:21am