EDMONTON — The home hex has finally been lifted.
Canadian quarterback Tre Ford threw for 317 yards, a touchdown and ran one in himself as the Edmonton Elks ended a massive drought and finally got a win at home, defeating the Ottawa Redblacks 30-20 on Sunday.
“We did what we had to do, it certainly wasn’t pretty. But we did what we had to do to win the football game,” said Elks head coach Chris Jones.
“Tre’s given us a spark, he played some really good football. He accounted for nearly 400 yards of offence, he’s taken care of the football, didn’t have turnovers. That’s probably one of the biggest indicators that the offensive line’s playing at a high level right now.
“We ran the ball decently, effectively and we’ve played pretty good defence for the most part.”
Ford also ran for 74 yards as the Elks snapped an horrific 22-game losing streak at home, the longest in North American professional sports history.
Major League Baseball’s St. Louis Browns, who lost 20 straight in 1953 before becoming the Baltimore Orioles the following season, previously held the record.
The Elks had not won at home since Oct. 12, 2019. It was their first win at Commonwealth Stadium since changing the team name from the Eskimos.
“Yeah, that’s definitely been a long time, it was definitely overdue,” Ford said. “It was pretty good, I thought we executed offensively. Lots of running around for me, not a ton of stuff on timing, but sometimes it turns out like that. I mean, a win’s a win.”
After going 0-9 to start the CFL season, the Elks have now won two straight.
The Redblacks have been going the other direction of late, losing five in a row to fall to 3-8.
“It was obviously a very frustrating loss,” said Redblacks head coach Bob Dyce. “I don’t know that we won the battle in any of the phases today. Any loss we take very hard, no matter what the situation. So this is very, very disappointing.
“We dug this hole ourselves and now we have to make a way to climb out of it. We still have a lot of games against the East and we are going to do exactly that.”
After a lacklustre first quarter which only saw Ottawa register a punt single, the Elks drew the first significant blood of the contest when quarterback Ford called his own number and scampered eight yards into the end zone for the touchdown a minute into the second frame.
The Redblacks responded with a 46-yard Lewis Ward field goal on their next possession.
Edmonton got those points back when Dean Faithfull booted a 17-yard field goal with three minutes to play in the second.
Ward added a single off a missed 34-yard field goal.
Edmonton was able to add to its lead with a dynamic play late in the first half as Ford threw it deep to Eugene Lewis, who won a jump ball with defender Brandin Dandridge and kept his footing before taking it all the way to the end zone for a 66-yard touchdown and a 17-5 Elks lead at halftime.
Ford, a University of Waterloo grad, came out of the dressing room to start the third quarter still firing on all cylinders, completing a 68-yard bomb of a pass and run to Gavin Cobb down to the three, setting up a short-yardage TD plunge by backup QB Taylor Cornelius.
Ottawa once again chipped away at the lead with a 53-yard field goal by Ward, before Faithfull responded with a 38-yarder for Edmonton.
The Redblacks got their first major of the game to start the fourth as QB Dustin Crum handed it off to Devonte Williams and he slipped a sure tackle and ran 23 yards for the touchdown. The two-point convert attempt failed.
Faithfull added a 29-yard field goal to Edmonton’s total with three minutes to play.
Ottawa tightened up the score with a minute remaining as Tyrell Pigrome scored on a one-yard QB keeper. However, the two-point convert attempt once again failed.
“It is tough, especially how we have lost some of them, the manner that we have lost them,” Crum said of the five-game losing skid. “It is hard, but we have a lot of fighters in our locker room, guys who are going to bounce back.
“We are going to use this bye week to come back fresh and ready to go.”
The Redblacks won the previous meeting between the two teams 26-7 in Week 4 in Ottawa ? The two squads came into the contest having allowed the most net yards per game, with Edmonton sitting last in the CFL at 392.6, followed by Ottawa at 377.8 ? The Elks added legendary receiver Terry Vaughn to the Edmonton Wall of Honour. Among his many accomplishments, Vaughn was the first player in CFL history to eclipse 1,000 career receptions and set a CFL record for 1,000-yard receiving seasons with 11 ? The Elks gave out free tickets to those affected by the wildfires in the Northwest Territories.
The Redblacks are on a bye week. The Elks take on the Stampeders in Calgary on Labour Day Monday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 27, 2023.