It's not all black and white

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 10:13 AM ET

KEMPTVILLE -- Talk about who looked good in the Renegades annual black-white scrimmage yesterday started with the colourful coaches.

A parachuter not knowing any better might have thought he'd been dropped on an Hawaiian Island rather than an agricultural college.

"When you wear an Aloha shirt, it's a day of celebration," explained Joe "The Throwin' Samoan" Paopao, whose aunt, a seamstress, sent 22 brightly coloured, flowery tops north to Ottawa's coaching and support staff from Oceanside, Calif., to mark the occasion. "We're celebrating the fact that today, guys are getting an opportunity to showcase their stuff. It's a good day."

For some, naturally, it was better than others.

Signed as a free agent in the off-season after five years playing for his home-town Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Markus Howell made the most of his day in the sun. He caught two passes from Kerry Joseph, including a 50-yard touchdown bomb that qualified as the play of the afternoon.

Howell, a natural receiver who started six games at cornerback for the Bombers last season, might be asked by Paopao to spend a few days with DBs at camp next week.

But streaking downfield with fellow "burner" Jason Armstead, he proved he can provide the Renegades with another deep threat.

"I'm 30, but forever young .... like Double D," laughed Howell, referring to Renegades cornerback Dave Donaldson, another ex-Bomber. "I like running away from people rather than trying to catch them."

'LETS IT RIP'

Lined up as a slotback, Howell explained that the big play was a criss-cross pattern with Armstead where Joseph "picks the best read and lets it rip."

"This time it was me," he said. "Hopefully, we do it a few more times."

Joseph, who also threw a six-yard TD pass to Armstead, looked sharp. Starting when he led the offence in stretching drills and screams of "How ya all feeling?" and "Yaaaaaa Dawwwwg."

By the end of the 48 play scrimmage, he had completed 8-of-15 passes for 123 yards and just missed on another bomb to Armstead.

Backup QB Brad Banks, wearing No. 7 rather than his old No. 18 now that Darnell Kennedy is gone, completed 5-of-7 passes for 45 yards, including a four-yard scoring toss to rookie Robert Quiroga. Former Boston College star Paul Peterson was good on 4-of-8 for 52 yards, including a five-yard TD pass to running back Herbert "Whisper" Goodman.

TOPS ON GROUND

The leading rusher was former NFLer Ka'Ron Coleman, who had four carries for 34 yards. He also fumbled into the hands of Fabian Burke, when rocked by Marc Pilon on a goal-line try.

Goodman, who like Coleman also played professionally down south, had two carries for 13 yards. Incumbent Josh Ranek had four rushes for 13 yards.

Standing out on defence was cornerback Bo Rogers, as well as linebackers Tony White, Gerald Vaughn, Brian Oddi and D'Wayne Taylor. The latter picked off a Banks pass and ran it through the offence before tossing a lateral pass to DB Bo Lewis, who brought it the rest of the way.

A welcome sight for Paopao was a crowd of about 300 people who turned out to watch the scrimmage. When it was completed, the coach had all his players take off their helmets and take a knee behind him while he spoke to the fans, thanking them for their support. When he was finished, he asked the folks to cross the barriers, then to shake hands and say hi to each of the players in the long greeting line.

"That was a spur-of-the-moment thing," said Paopao, who figured it was the biggest audience his team had performed before in Kemptville.

"People want to see the people they root for, with their hats off. There's something nice about it when people watch you work."

don.brennan@ott.sunpub.com


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