Renegades' runaway star

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 12:00 PM ET

Renegades 33

Stampeders 18

The one and only knock on Josh Ranek is that he lacks true "game-breaking" capabilities.

Try telling that to the Calgary Stampeders this morning.

Ranek, who is neither the fastest nor biggest running back in the CFL but may very well have the strongest work ethic and largest heart, rumbled the Renegades into position for 10 crucial second-quarter points during last night's 33-18 victory.

On a personal note, he also churned out a career-best 164 yards on 20 carries.

"The guys gave me creases and I hit them," Ranek, who also had five catches for 48 yards, said of his ground work. "My hat's off to the offensive line."

The first burst was a 61-yard run through a hole on the left side of the offensive line that brought Ottawa to the Calgary 16 and ultimately led to a 23-yard field goal by Matt Kellett.

The second was more timely and even longer. One snap after the Stamps connected on their first field goal and had crept to within 16 points at 20-4, Ranek took the ball from Kerry Joseph and darted through the right side of the line. He was finally tackled 66 yards later at the Calgary nine, and two plays later Joseph hit Yo Murphy with a touchdown pass that put Ottawa up 27-4.

The deficit was too big for the Stamps to overcome.

That run doubled Ranek's previous longest in the CFL, which was 33 yards back in 2003.

Ranek entered the game as the league's fifth-leading rusher, with an average of just nine carries and 49 yards per game for 147 yards. At the half last night he had almost equalled his season total with 137 yards.

On a night when many Renegades turned in big games, Ranek was huge.

And with explosive former NFLer Ka'Ron Coleman ready to come off the injured list and anxious to prove his strong pre-season was no fluke, Ranek showed why he not only deserves to be the Renegades' starting tailback, but also consideration as one of the best in the CFL.

Between Sidelines:

The Renegades allowed five sacks, but it had to be considered a good night for the offensive line, and not just because of Ranek's success. Right tackle Obby Khan toughed out an early knee injury to finish the game, while guard Pascal Cheron and centre George Hudson played through bouts of the flu. Hudson threw up so much the day and a half leading up to the game, he lost 20 lbs. ... The Renegades will almost certainly be without DE Kai Ellis when they host Edmonton on Thursday. He reinjured his ankle last night. "Darn it, we'll have to bring back that five-sack guy," coach Joe Paopao said wryly, referring to Anthony Collier ... Early in the first quarter, a Calgary reporter was asked what the Stamps are paying new QB Henry Burris. "Three-fifty," he replied. "And that's not three dollars and fifty cents, no matter what you might think he's worth right now." Say this about Burris -- he's no Joseph ... Wouldn't you like to hear what Pat Woodcock really thinks about the way he's being ignored in the Renegades offence? ... Ottawa DB Da'Shann Austin will be lucky if he only has a headache today after taking the right knee of Joffrey Reynolds in the noggin midway through the third quarter. Paopao later said he suffered a "stinger" and his status would be re-evaluated.

All wrong:

Commissioner Tom Wright has done it again. The latest goofiness from league headquarters came this week, demanding the Renegades remove the one inch "FC" stickers they were wearing on the back of their helmets in memory of the late Frank Clair. Probably has something to do with advertising regulations that stipulate if it isn't Reebok, it can't be visible to the naked eye. Think any person or company complained? Can't imagine. Renegades equipment manager Greg Batty has abided and put the stickers inside the helmets, but he really should have sent Wright a message by keeping them where they were for at least one more game -- and changing the 'C' to a 'U'.

Things that make you go hmmm...:

Mardi Gras Madness is indeed catching on in the upper deck southside. "It's a free for all up here," Cheapseats source Mr. Sippy Delta reports with a phone call at halftime. "At least five girls have shown their (breasts) for beads. And that's just in the area where I'm sitting." What's next? Chicks kissing chicks? ... TV rules. CBC last night requested the Renegades bring the visiting team bench back to the southside -- beside theirs -- and out of the way of the camera trucks roaming the northside sidelines. So much for the roominess or any competitive advantage the home team might have had ... If you were being held captive by the Princesses of Finland, wouldn't you offer $11,000 not to be found? .... Former Rough Riders receiver Stephen Jones was behind the wheel of a vehicle that brought his old coach, Steve Goldman to last night's tilt. "He taught me everything I know about the game," said Jones. "He was a good coach." ... Kyries Hebert had friends on the Renegades' defence celebrate his first-quarter touchdown in unique fashion. They jumped in their make believe truck and went for a little ride. "We all get in the car and go out together," said Hebert. What kind of car? "A '75 Chevy Caprice four-door," cornerback Bo Rogers chipped in.

don.brennan@ott.sunpub.com


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