Ticats Take Round 1 With Argos
Two points are two points, except when they’re something more, like the the Tiger-Cats 33–19 victory against the Toronto Argonauts on Friday night.
The Ticats snapped the Argos four game winning streak in style on Friday night, using a complete team effort to emphatically return to .500 and inch ever closer towards a home berth in the CFL playoffs.
The Black and Gold didn’t wait long to get the ball rolling, scoring their league-leading 47th opening drive point on rookie Luke Tasker’s first career touchdown. Tasker, the son of NFL special teams legend Steve Tasker, capped a seven-play, 81-yard drive with a 24-yard touchdown catch from Henry Burris, giving the Ticats an early lead that they never surrendered.
“It feels really great,” said Tasker after the game. “I was happy I could help the team out early on, get us out to a great start.”
The score was just one of three first half touchdowns for the Tiger-Cats, jumping out to an early lead just as they did the first time the two teams met in the season opener. This time however, the Argonauts late comeback fell short, as Hamilton dug in their heels to steal two tough points on the road from their division rivals.
“It’s a special group of guys we have in that locker room,” said Kent Austin. “After every loss, our guys have come back and played well in response. To go into the other team’s stadium who’ve won four in a row, it’s a real testament to the guys digging in and wanting to be good, not letting this game slip away.”
Henry Burris threw his second touchdown of the evening to Bakari Grant in the fourth quarter, putting the game away against a Toronto team which had thrived on the late comeback during their now-broken four game winning streak.
“For us to be able to get those drives going, especially during that fourth quarter when they’re known to be the kings of the fourth, it was good to see us come out and seal that deal today,” he said.
But as good as Burris and Hamilton’s offence were for much of the game, their defence was even better. A couple of sacks from Brandon Isaac – in his first return to the Rogers Centre no less – highlighted the ‘Cats defensive efforts, holding quarterback Zach Collaros and the Argonauts to just one major and their lowest point total since week 10.
“Our team needed this win. This is a big win for this organization to get us going in the right direction,” said Isaac. “We have confidence that we can play with anybody, beat anybody.”
Much of the attention leading up to Friday’s matchup was on Isaac and his return to Toronto after what was a surprising release by the Argonauts earlier this season. But the four year CFL veteran insisted that this game, and this win, was all about the Ticats.
“It’s really not about me,” he said. “I just wanted to come out and play hard. We came out tonight, and showed everybody that we’re capable of big games.”
The Tiger-Cats will enjoy Friday’s hard-fought victory, as they should, but not for long, as a rematch against the East Division leaders looms large next weekend in Guelph.
“I’m excited about this win… and I’m going to enjoy it over the next couple of days,” said Burris. “But if there’s any time we need to be back to back winners, and get things consistent on a game-to-game basis, it’s right now.”