‘What a game!’: Moe Racine on Redblacks heading to Grey Cup

In this masthead from a Throwback Thursday column, the Ottawa Redblacks honoured Moe Racine's contribution to Ottawa football. The Ottawa Redblacks are going to the Grey Cup, the first time for an Ottawa CFL team since 1981. (Photo/Ottawa Redblacks)

CORNWALL – As the Redblacks defeated the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 35-28 on Sunday, memories were flooding back for a CFL Hall of Fame player from Cornwall.

Moe Racine was in the stands November 22nd to see the Redblacks punch their ticket for Ottawa’s first Grey Cup appearance since 1981.

“What a game,” Racine told Cornwall Newswatch, “shades of (Russ) Jackson passing to (Whitman) Tucker, you know, we’d get behind and all of a sudden he would throw a long pass to Tucker or Margene Adkins and look out! It was all over! What a game, from the start to the finish. It’s unbelievable really,” Racine said.

He believes “the right team won” and “it’s not every day you get to the Grey Cup.”

Being part of four Grey Cup winning teams, Racine said “it’s exciting for the players, for the fans, for the City of Ottawa and Cornwall, because they’re probably all Redblack fans also.”

After a shakeup in ownership and a couple incarnations of the team since the days of the Rough Riders, Racine is hopeful this sets a new path for Ottawa football.

“I sure hope so because the owners (Jeff Hunt and partners Rogers Greenberg, Bill Shenkman, John Ruddy and John Pugh) were all successful in the business they had of building homes and high rise apartments and condos, so, they have deep pockets and they knew that they were going to do something good about the team,” Racine said.

‘Moe the Toe’ said the owners had successfully recruited receivers to build the team that’s Grey Cup bound. “The second year they knew they needed receivers and they…went for about four of them that were around the league that were good receivers. When (Henry) Burris passes a ball to them they catch it and they run good patterns and they’re fast.”

Racine, a placekicker and offensive lineman for the Rough Riders from 1958-1974, said the defence is also beefed up. “The defence reminds me of the 1973 defence. They came to play. The defensive halfbacks came and, boy, they were hittin’. Every tackle was hard and solid. With the new rules, defensive halfbacks have problems covering the receivers because they can’t touch them anymore so that’s why it makes it a beautiful game to watch.” During the off-season, Ottawa overhauled their expansion-year team replacing the entire defencive line up before starting the 2015 sophomore season.

Racine said he watched the game again on television and it was just as exciting, especially Burris’ game-winning 93-yard touchdown strike to Greg Ellingson. “They had ran that pattern before. It was an aggressive play. I mean you’re throwing the ball 50 yards so there’s a 50-50 chance you’re going to catch it. But Ellingson is such a good receiver and he runs such a good pattern so it was exciting to watch him catch it and the defender fell on his rear end when he was covering him so that helped. And the other guy missed him so he just had to walk into the end zone. Very exciting!”

The Ottawa Redblacks flew into Winnipeg Tuesday to face the Edmonton Eskimos for the Grey Cup this weekend.

This will be the fourth time in history that Ottawa has played Edmonton for the Grey Cup. The most recent was a 26-23 loss in 1981 at Olympic Stadium in Montreal. Racine won one of his Grey Cup rings facing the Eskies in 1973 in a 22-18 victory at CNE Stadium in Toronto.

“They are a great team (Edmonton). They are well coached too so it should be a great game. Ottawa is well coached. The offensive coordinator has put in a good offence for Burris to operate so it’s going to be a good match,” Racine said.

The Grey Cup is Sunday, Nov. 29, at 6 p.m. at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg.

“It’s so exciting to go to the Grey Cup. As a ball player, you don’t go too often. I went to five of them but with all these guys who have never been to the Grey Cup it’s exciting. The game is exciting and if you win it, you remember it forever.”

“If you can go once, it’s a privilege and an honour to be in the game.”

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