'Gades deep-six misery

Ottawa Renegades quarterback Kerry Joseph runs away from Hamilton Tiger-Cats Adriano Belli as he...

Ottawa Renegades quarterback Kerry Joseph runs away from Hamilton Tiger-Cats Adriano Belli as he runs out the play during first quarter CFL action in Ottawa Friday Oct. 7, 2005.(CP PHOTO/Tom Hanson)

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 11:43 AM ET

The firing squad has lowered its guns.

And the Renegades' chances of qualifying for the 2005 post-season will live at least another couple of weeks, after the home side posted a convincing 43-21 victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Frank Clair Stadium.

An announced crowd of 19,069 braved the falling temperatures and constant drizzle, but left satisfied the Renegades had broken a six-game losing skid to improve to 6-9.

Not that the Ticats put up much of a fight. At 3-11, the Hamiltonians are out of the post-season picture and will play out the string in their remaining four games.

But the Renegades still have life, and are counting on getting help from other teams to get them the first playoff berth in franchise history.

Not to mention that Ottawa needs to win its three remaining games to have a realistic chance of playing beyond the end of the regular season.

"I don't think we can celebrate too much. We still have a long road ahead of us," said Renegades running back Josh Ranek.

"If we relax just that little bit, we're going to end up where we've been for the last six weeks."

The scoreboard watching begins tonight when the Alouettes play in Regina against the Roughriders, in a game that the Renegades hope Montreal loses.

If that happens, Ottawa would trail the Alouettes by two points in the East Division standings, although Montreal has played one less game.

The Renegades have a bye this week and don't see action again until Oct. 21 in a rematch against the Ticats at Ivor Wynne Stadium.

Last night's win also moved the Renegades to within two points of the 7-7 Stampeders, who Ottawa is chasing to eliminate a potential playoff crossover of a team from the West.

"Anything's possible," said Renegades coach Joe Paopao. "The key thing is to, again, isolate the game which is two weeks from now, just focus on that and just try to build on the positives that we had (last night). It's as simple as that."

The Renegades didn't win pretty by any means last night, but, at this point, they'll take them any way they can get.

Leading 17-3 late in the second quarter on touchdowns by Pat Woodcock and Kerry Joseph and a 48-yard field goal from Matt Kellett, who also booted a 53-yarder on the final of the first half, the Renegades made their biggest play of the game when Da'Shann Austin intercepted a pass by Danny McManus at the Ottawa 34 and started to head upfield.

Austin then fumbled while being tackled near midfield, only to have Kyries Hebert scoop up the ball and rumble the remaining 58 yards for his third defensive TD of the season.

"That win was much needed," said Hebert, who played the game with a heavy heart following the death of a cousin in Houston.

"There was no option for us but to win this game," he said. "We've given ourselves a chance."

"That was big," said Joseph, who completed 12-of-27 passes for 181 yards and two TDs. "We didn't turn the ball over. We won the turnover battle, and that was a big key for us."

barre.campbell@ott.sunpub.com 


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