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(Saturday, July 14th)
Final Score: Hamilton 36, Toronto 27
Hamilton, ON (Sports Network) - In a game that went back and forth it was the Hamilton Tiger-Cats who came out on top with a 36-27 victory against the Toronto Argonauts in the most recent installment of the Battle of Ontario at Ivor Wynne Stadium.
Chris Williams helped Hamilton (1-2) take a big lead early on by contributing in just about every way. He caught a major and scored two others on a punt return and a miss field goal return while compiling 148 all-purpose yards in the first half.
"I saw a situation where the lanes opened up and I found some creases and the guys blocked and I went all the way," said Williams of his missed field goal return.
The Tiger-Cats allowed the Argonauts back in the game partially because in the second half Williams did not manage to accumulate any yardage.
Hamilton quarterback Henry Burris struggled to consistently connect with his receivers going 12-for-27 for 181 yards but he did manage to throw three touchdown passes including a clutch toss to Bakari Grant late in the fourth quarter.
"I'm not complaining about [the returns] but I thought it hindered our offense," said Hamilton head coach George Cortez.
Toronto (1-2) didn't have trouble moving the ball but left points on the field all game. The Argonauts had six attempts in the red zone but capitalized with a major only twice and also had a pair of missed field goals.
"We didn't score touchdowns," Toronto head coach Scott Milanovich said, "It's hard to win on the road when you make that many mistakes."
The loss came despite a strong showing from Cory Boyd who rushed for 168 yards and a touchdown on 19 attempts. Ricky Ray had a less than impressive night throwing the ball for 232 yards on 23-of-38 passing including an interception.
The game got off to a slow start with both teams combining for six punts and just one first down in the first possessions.
Hamilton broke the scoring drought though as Burris connected with Williams for a 34-yard score that put Hamilton ahead 7-0. The Tiger Cats piled on after that scoring on a 28 yard pass from Burris to tight end Andy Fantuz and an 80-yard punt return from Williams.
Toronto drove the ball to the Hamilton seven yard line on it's next possession but stalled and were forced to settle for a 15-yard field goal from Noel Prefontaine who would add a 33-yard field goal later in the quarter after a Hamilton single to make the score 22-6.
The Argonauts finally got in the end zone with just over a minute left in the half thanks to a pass interference penalty against Hamilton that gave the Argonauts the ball at the one-yard line. After Boyd was stuffed on the Argonaut's first attempt, Jarious Jackson punched the ball in and cut the Tiger-Cats' lead to 22-13.
It looked like Toronto would cut into the lead even more after the Argonauts recovered a fumble in Hamilton territory but Prefontaine missed a 44-yard field goal attempt which Williams then returned 121 yards for a major as the first half came to an end.
Toronto notched a field goal and a single from rookie kicker Alix Anthony to begin the second half. Anthony took over for Prefontaine who was injured on Williams' return to end the first half.
It wouldn't be until the fourth quarter that the score would change again with the Argonauts pulling the score within five, 29-24, on a four-yard rushing major by Boyd.
After intercepting the first pass of Hamilton's next drive the Argonauts looked poised to take the lead but managed only a field goal making the score 29-27.
Struggling all night through the air, Burris took to the ground on the Tiger-Cats' next possession with two huge runs of 23 and 14 yards that eventually led to the six-yard passing major to Grant that put the game out of reach.
With a 15 yard pass to Spencer Watt in the second quarter Ricky Ray passed Doug Flutie on the all-time CFL passing list...Brandon Boudreaux had a sack in the game which was just the second by the Tiger-Cats this season...Andy Fantuz caught three passes for 71 yards and a touchdown for Hamilton...Each team committed nine penalties...Hamilton won despite turning the ball over three times.
07/14 23:36:31 ET