Bombers defence's best stand

Blue Bombers (from left) Clint Kent, Jonathan Hefney and Alex Suber celebrate a sack against the...

Blue Bombers (from left) Clint Kent, Jonathan Hefney and Alex Suber celebrate a sack against the Lions in Winnipeg, Man., July 28, 2011. (BRIAN DONOGH/QMI Agency)

KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:37 PM ET

WINNIPEG - A defensive stand to end what will likely be the most emotional game any of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers will ever play.

Could the Blue Bombers think of a more fitting tribute to defensive line and assistant head coach Richard Harris, who passed away from a heart attack on Tuesday at the age of 63?

“It was big, it was nothing like I’d ever seen before,” Bomber defensive back Jonathan Hefney, who had nine tackles in a 25-20 win over the B.C. Lions on Thursday, said. “You see the crowd get loud on that last drive, that crowd noise really helped us and it was like he had something to do with it as well.

“(The fans) wanted to give a tribute to him and be as loud as they can. We wanted to go out there and make that stop.”

That’s exactly what the defence did.

And when Travis Lulay’s pass attempt on the final play hit the ground, several Bombers fell to the ground and looked skyward.

“It was perfect for us to finish the game off like that and let Coach Harris know we were doing it for him,” Hefney said.

Quarterback Alex Brink, who came off the bench in the fourth quarter and led his team on the game-winning drive, wasn’t surprised to see the defence come through.

“Our defence has been unbelievable all year and they did it again for us,” Brink said. “It was fitting that they were on at the end there to close it out for us because they’ve been playing the close-out role all year.”

It wasn’t a picture-perfect effort but it was the ability to push through the tough times that helped the Bombers come away with another victory.

“We were so drained. We were so destitute coming into this game, so many guys,” Bomber defensive tackle Doug Brown said. “We had nothing more to give. We were spent. The last two days have been an emotional roller-coaster for everybody here. At halftime, we just looked each other in the eye and we knew what we had to do for him, and we were able to pull it off.

“Coach Harris would’ve been pissed that we didn’t play the run well enough. We were so gung-ho after that quarterback, he would’ve told us we had to be complete players and make sure on first down we handled that run, but we made the plays when we needed to.

”And what a tribute in terms of the sacks and guys getting after the quarterback for a guy who was a feared pass rusher, a legendary football player himself. That’s close to as good as it can get in terms of paying your respect to man of that stature.”

There was only one thing that would have made it a perfect ending.

“It was a great ending, but I wish we would have got a sack to finish it out,” said Bomber defensive tackle Dorian Smith. “That would have been huge.”

The Blue Bombers are back on the field Monday morning to prepare for Friday’s clash against the 5-0 Edmonton Eskimos.

— with files from Kirk Penton


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