Canadian Football League

Friday, June 10, 2005

Ottawa kicks it's way to Canadian Football League Pre-Season victory

Good thing the Ottawa Renegades scored a victory last night.
There would have been few warm fuzzies on the bus-ride home had the Renegades not defeated the Montreal Alouettes 27-16 in a CFL exhibition game before a sold-out Percival Molson Stadium. Especially not in general manager/head coach Joe Paopao's seat.
Matt Kellett, the kicker/punter whom the Renegades acquired from Montreal on draft day, took himself out of the lineup earlier this week, still suffering from weak vision out of his right eye. The problem resurfaced two days into training camp, and threatens to create a serious kicking problem in Ottawa for the third time in four seasons.
In fact, you could've considered this a crisis had punter Pat Fleming not made good on two of three field-goal attempts last night, providing some hope that he can temporarily replace Kellett should it come to that.
Still, Paopao said he expected to sign an American kicker by this evening and said he would consider Ottawa native Mark Irvin, who was recently released by the Calgary Stampeders.
Kellett is suffering from double vision, a milder reoccurrence of the problem he had last season. He passed an Alouettes-issued medical examination in late March, and will undergo more tests in the coming weeks.
"I wish I knew. It's an ongoing thing. Hopefully, they'll get to the bottom of it. I'm not stressed yet," Kellett said after the game. "Right now, it's not necessary (to kick with it)."
Paopao was clearly irked that Kellett proclaimed himself unfit to play after practising all week. "That's why it was a surprise to me," Paopao said. "(Doctors) can't seem to solve it, but obviously it's real."
Kellett was brought to Montreal in case Fleming was hurt during the game, but wasn't needed after the latter made good on attempts from 38 and 41 yards. Fleming, who has been practising placekicking all offseason, missed a 47-yard field goal and struggled on kick-offs. He also made six special-teams tackles.
"I think I showed today that I have the ability to do both jobs. I worked hard this winter and it showed," Fleming said. "I've had six (kicking repetitions) in camp, so I can only get better."
Paopao issued a pre-game statement which suggested the move to Fleming was calculated. He was upset to learn post-game that word about Kellett's decision had leaked.
The Renegades didn't qualify the trade to protect against Kellett's mysterious condition, a mistake that is embarrassing to management. In exchange for Kellett, the Alouettes used the fifth pick to select Gatineau native Matthieux Proulx, a safety from the University of Laval.
The trade went down minutes before the draft, without any previous discussions between the Renegades and Alouettes.
Last night, Alouettes Jim Popp said his information at the time was that Kellett was healthy.
"We never pulled anything. Matt Kellett will tell you he was perfectly healthy then," Popp said.
As for the game, the Renegades forced six turnovers, including four interceptions, and took a 20-10 lead in the third-quarter after first-string quarterback Kerry Joseph entered the contest.


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