TORONTO – In just his third career CFL start (first on the road), Argonauts quarterback Trevor Harris produced one of the most scintillating and heart-thumping comebacks in franchise history.
On Sunday, the Argos’ fourth-year signal caller guided the Double Blue to a thrilling 42-40 overtime victory over the Saskatchewan Roughriders at Mosaic Stadium in Regina.
Trailing by seven points with less than three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Harris engineered a methodical nine-play, 85-yard touchdown drive, evening the score at 28 apiece and sending the game to overtime.
In the extra frame, under the CFL’s innovative “mini-game” format, Harris orchestrated a pair of scoring drives, propelling the Boatmen to victory.
The 29-year-old Waldo, Ohio native completed 30 of his 38 pass attempts (78.9%) for 267 yards, four touchdowns and one interception.
On Tuesday, less than 48 hours removed from the Argos’ stunning come from behind win in Riderville, Argonauts head coach Scott Milanovich met with the media and offered some words of encouragement to his starting field general.
“He didn’t play as well as he did in the first game, but he also took a huge step (forward) late in the game, on the road, tying the game up in a three-minute drive, and then making plays in overtime when he had to,” commented Milanovich. “His job’s to win and he’s done that… I’m pleased with the way he’s playing.”
For the second consecutive week, Harris, an Edinboro University graduate, earned CFL Top Performer honours, sharing the weekly accolade with Roughriders wide receiver Ryan Smith and Montreal Alouettes rookie pivot Rakeem Cato.
Presently, Harris ranks in the top-third of five different statistical categories, including completion percentage (83.1%), touchdown passes (7), and quarterback efficiency rating (140.2).
Harris is now 3-0 as a starting quarterback in the Canadian Football League. His first-career victory came back on November 7, 2014, a decisive 23-5 triumph over the upstart Ottawa REDBLACKS.
In that aforementioned Week 20 contest, Harris connected on 26 of his 36 pass attempts for 281 yards and two touchdowns. According to Milanovich, last year’s season-concluding tilt against Ottawa provided Harris with a unique opportunity to showcase his leadership prowess.
“I always try to see the look in a quarterback’s eye when it’s game day – when they’re the starter – because it’s a different feel,” said Milanovich. “I saw that last year from him. It’s carried over (to this season). He’s under control, (he’s) confident, (he’s) leading the team, and that’s what you have to do as a quarterback.”
In the absence of future Hall of Fame signal caller Ricky Ray, Harris has become somewhat of a revelation for the Double Blue. The six-foot-three, 212-pound gunslinger has made massive strides since being anointed as the Argos’ starting pivot during training camp.
Simply put, Harris’ early-season success isn’t a fluke.
“I think he’s embracing the opportunity,” stated Milanovich. “It’s a different feel for him; going through training camp knowing he was going to be the guy and getting all the reps. He’s improved… He’s had a lot of help, but Trevor’s doing his job.”
With Harris at the helm, the Argonauts have enjoyed a historic start to their 2015 campaign. The last time the Boatmen began a season with an undefeated 2-0 record was 1997, when CFL icons Doug Flutie and Michael “Pinball” Clemons suited up as members of the Double Blue.
The Argonauts will return to the gridiron on Monday night as they take on the defending Grey Cup champion Calgary Stampeders in a cross-divisional showdown at McMahon Stadium in Cowtown.