Canada Day fireworks

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 12:03 PM ET

Renegades 39, Alouettes (OT) 36

Renegades fans went to Frank Clair Stadium last night hoping to see some Canada Day fireworks from their team in its home opener.

They waited a long time for the show to begin, and those of the 18,899 that hung around until the end saw the Renegades make a thrilling comeback against the favoured Montreal Alouettes.

In what might have been the most gutsy performance ever by the fourth-year franchise, the Renegades erased a 23-point deficit in the fourth quarter to tie the game on the final play of regulation on a 32-yard field goal from Matt Kellett on the final play of regulation.

Then Kellett kicked the winning points on a 13-yard field goal on Ottawa's second possession of overtime to score an incredible 39-36 victory.

VINDICATION FOR KELLETT

The Renegades mobbed Kellett after the ball sailed through the uprights for the win, a fitting tribute to the kicker who has been plagued by vision problems during training camp and early in the season.

"Considering (the win) is against this team and it's against an Eastern opponent, I think it's a credit to the men and the coaching staff," said a relieved coach Joe Paopao.

Kellett was good on all four field goal attempts last night -- including a 12-yard chip shot when the Renegades scored on their first possession during extra time.

"The tying one was a little bit more nerve-wracking," said the bespectacled Kellett in a jubilant Renegades locker room.

"The offence did a great job moving the ball."

The Renegades trailed 23-10 at halftime and 33-10 at the end of the third. But Ottawa got two touchdowns on rushes by quarterback Kerry Joseph -- his second and third of the game -- and a 17-yard touchdown reception by Frank Cutolo with 2:43 left to get within three.

Ottawa's defence had a major hand in getting the win.

The Renegades got the ball before Cutolo's touchdown when Quincy Coleman forced a fumble by Montreal receiver Kerry Watkins in Alouettes territory, and the ball was returned to the 18 yard-line by Coleman, who lateralled to Kyries Hebert for extra yardage.

The Alouettes, led by quarterback Anthony Calvillo, drove into Ottawa territory after Cutolo's touchdown and appeared on the verge of running down the clock or scoring to keep the game out of reach.

But the Ottawa defence stopped the Alouettes on a third-down gamble on the Renegades' 34.

Joseph manufactured an impressive drive that got Kellett to within striking distance for the tie.

"That win ranks right up there," said running back Josh Ranek, a fourth-year Renegade whose 10-yard run helped set up the tying kick. "It may have been one of the best overall games we've played, and one of the best comeback games we've ever played.

"We don't want to get into too many situations where we're down like that to start the fourth quarter, but fighting back and getting the win like that is huge for us."

The win evened Ottawa's record at 1-1, with the B.C. Lions on deck Friday in Vancouver.

The teams traded field goals in the first quarter -- Kellett hit from 41 yards to open the scoring on Ottawa's first possession -- before the Alouettes began to build a big lead.

Calvillo found Ben Cahoon in the end zone for an eight-yard score in the final minute of the first, then ran for another touchdown on a three-yard bootleg in the second.

A pair of field goals by Duval gave Montreal a 20-point lead before the 'Gades struck for their first touchdown in the final minute of the half.

Joseph hit Sean Bennett on a 46-yard pass to get to the Montreal six.

Then on a third-down gamble, Joseph got through the line on the left side for a two-yard touchdown plunge on third down.


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