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Quarterback Harris says Redblacks have the motivation to become part of CFL’s elite

Ottawa quarterback Trevor Harris says the Redblacks have the ability and the motivation to be an elite CFL team.

The Redblacks (6-3) have been the class of the East Division so far in 2018 heading into Friday’s game against the Montreal Alouettes (2-8) at TD Place. But Harris says the team has to maintain its focus in the second half of the season if it wants to make the jump to league powerhouse.

“I think our guys really want to be great,” Ottawa quarterback Trevor Harris said. “We have a good locker room full of guys that really love football and they understand the process of the season and we know we’ve got to be better to be one of the great teams throughout the rest of the season.

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“And we want to be an elite team, so if we lose that focus or stop climbing the mountain to try and play our best football that’s where we’ll start to see our downfall, so we’ve got guys that are motivated.”

At the midway point Ottawa has a four-point lead over Hamilton (4-5) for first in the East, but the Redblacks goal is to maintain the momentum it built leading up to the halfway mark when they enjoyed its second of three bye weeks.

“We made an effort coming back this week of coming back early and we had a practice that was just about us and we had a meeting that was just about us and then got more into the Montreal work week,” said Campbell. “We wanted to get back from the bye and get our minds back on football and then worry about getting ready for Montreal and that’s what we did and hopefully that works out for us.”

Ottawa will be looking to sweep the Alouettes as they meet for the third and final time this regular season. The Redblacks picked up 28-18 and 24-17 victories while facing a different QB both times and this week will be no different as Antonio Pipkin is slated to get the start.

Pipkin, who looked solid in the Alouettes’ 25-22 victory over Toronto last week, has shown poise and confidence. The Redblacks know they will need to challenge Pipkin and not give him too much time in the pocket.

“He’s done a phenomenal job of decision making,” said Alouettes coach Mike Sherman. “He stays in the pocket with a lot of confidence. When he has to run he has the ability to move and run and make plays with his feet.

“For a young quarterback to come into the situation he came in under it’s pretty impressive.”

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Johnny Manziel is slotted as the backup on the depth chart and Sherman didn’t rule out playing him Friday depending on the tone of the game.

Kyries Hebert returns to the Ottawa lineup after missing the last three games with an undisclosed injury.

The veteran linebacker will finally get an opportunity to play against his former team. Hebert missed the first game against Montreal as he served a one-game suspension and was on the injury list for the second.

“Nobody wants to lose three times to the same team,” Hebert said. “They’re going to come out here and fight their hardest battle and they seem to have found an answer at the quarterback position. The quarterback is looking like the most mobile quarterback in the league right now and he’s making plays on the run so he’s definitely a dangerous player and gives them a chance.”

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