Ticats’ second win further validates the first

One win could be chalked up as an aberration, a fluke produced by luck or circumstance or the mathematical improbability of going winless for an entire season. But two wins – particularly when the second is a hard-fought road effort on short rest – well, two wins is something different entirely.

When the Hamilton Tiger-Cats beat the Ottawa Redblacks 26-22 on Saturday night they didn’t just double their victory total; they also confirmed that things appear to be very much on track under new head coach June Jones.

“That was a real gutsy win, I’m just really proud of the guys. Everybody played great,” said Jones, who was a slightly similar version of his usually taciturn self after the game. “You could tell that the belief was different in the first half than it was last week, both offensively and defensively.”

Was it ever. The Ticats stormed out to a 23-7 halftime lead with what was easily their best 30 minutes of football on the season. Quarterback Jeremiah Masoli was at his dual-threat best, connecting on a long strike to Brandon Banks and putting up 73 rushing yards on the night.

“I scripted a couple of runs for him which I normally don’t like to do,” Jones said. “It was balanced. That was so awesome to see for those kids because they’ve worked so hard on the run game.”

Running back C.J. Gable had 11 carries for 78 yards and two touchdowns – all season highs – and added three catches for another 28. Always inclined to find motivation in the sleights of others, Gable has been sporting a pretty sizeable chunk of granite for much of 2017.

“We’re not surprised. A lot of people don’t have faith in us but we don’t really care about that,” Gable said. “Nobody believes in us but that’s fine. We’ll just keep going.”

Playing their second contest in six days, Hamilton came into the game versus Ottawa with injury issues and then suffered a couple more for good measure. Canadian receiver Felix Faubert-Lussier went down in the second half, forcing Mitchell Baines – who’d had exactly two practices with the team – into the game. Rookie defensive end Justin Vaughn saw plenty of action as well as the Ticats cobbled together seven Canadian starters.

But Vaughn, a Hamilton native who was drafted by the team in May, delivered a key sack as his team tried to protect their late lead. It was the first of his CFL career.

“I’m going to remember my first pro sack forever. I had a celebration in mind but when it happened, I got so hyped I forgot everything,” said Vaughn. “Everyone has bought into what June is preaching and it’s a good feeling to be a part of this team.”

Vaughn was hardly the only defensive lineman to make a contribution, though Davon Coleman’s was more addition by subtraction. His third-quarter sack of Ottawa quarterback Trevor Harris knocked him from the game with a shoulder injury, forcing back up Drew Tate to take over.

Coleman’s hit on B.C. Lion’s pivot Jonathon Jennings on July 25 also sent him to the sidelines – he would miss several weeks – so the first-year Ticat is developing a reputation as something of a quarterback killer.

“I’m not intentionally trying to put people out but I’m playing hard,” Coleman said. “I’m tackling aggressively and the way they fall… I’m pretty heavy. I feel a little bit bad about it but I’m not trying to be dirty.”

Like his teammates, Coleman heaped praise on Jones, who’s made changes big and small as he tries to reverse the Ticats’ fortunes. Hamilton is still last in the East and four points out of a playoff spot but they have games against Ottawa (two) and Toronto (one) and can still win the season series against any team in the division.

Up next, a home date against the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Friday Saturday.

“I think the guys are getting it, they know what’s at stake,” Jones said. “They know we have to win a couple on the road and this was one we thought we could win.”

They might have been the only ones who thought so. But like everything else with 2017 Ticats, that’s changing too.

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards

Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.
Drew Edwards
Drew Edwards
About Drew Edwards (1397 Articles)
Drew Edwards is into his eighth season covering the CFL and the Ticats for the Hamilton Spectator. He is the founder and editor of 3DownNation.

40 Comments on Ticats’ second win further validates the first

  1. For the Tiger Cats the victory over Ottawa was June Jones 2nd straight win as their head coach. Not bad at all after 8 losses.
    For Hamilton it has to be JUNE in SEPTEMBER!!

  2. The title is wishful thinking, I am afraid. The second win validates the second win. Congratulations to the TiCats.

  3. Two straight. And on 4 days rest. Got give the players. and coaches and sideline staff, credit. Thought the 3rd quarter they were beginning to show the weariness of 2 games with all the physical and mental pressure expended in short a short time-period but they hung in there.
    Whether they make the playoffs or not they have demonstrated their desire and professionalism. Go Cats Go!

  4. Jake E. Snake // September 10, 2017 at 9:23 pm //

    Well done Hamilton. Way to put the distractions behind and play competitive football!

  5. I think there’s hope there. After all is said & done, TiCats 2 wins are only 2 less than anyone else in the East. Masoli has surprised me – gives the Cats a run threat & he’s better at throwing a deep ball than I had thought. The Riders should be a good test.

  6. June Jones & Jeremiah Masoli is just what the doctor ordered… the team is responding. Something tells me that bring back Austin & Collaros would bring regress. Of course, Masoli should have started before the 0-8 record… but at least the change has finally been made. If they win a 3rd straight, I feel they will make the playoffs.

    • Exactly…”the team is responding”. And best of all nobody is punching out anyone at practice. Simple addition by subtraction I would say.

  7. Let’s face it, the whole CFL East is garbage. I have never seen it so bad. It’s going to be an all-west Grey Cup this year. Randy Ambrosie has a huge challenge ahead in the off season. He has really inherited a mess.

  8. Beating Sask. next week will be much greater validation.

  9. Next game is Friday not Saturday. Should be a good sized crowd.

  10. I’m just wondering how so many people are going to hop back up on the bandwagon with all those broken ankles.

    • Steve. And so many faithful fans of Banks and Gable suddenly too. Where are all those cut everyone and clean house posters?? Like Coach Jones so far but the team is still the team assembled by Austin and Tillman. Curious.

      • Not sure why it is curious … lots of comments over the last several years about how everything had to fit the offense instead of using the skills available.

        If anyone thought it was only Cat fans that felt that way, I have had several RedBlack fans comment they were relieved Gable was primarily blocking instead of running.

        There is what one plans and then there is what one can do to make better use of the talent that is there.

        While you are wondering about the “cut Banks/Gable” crowd … I am wondering about the “there is no talent on this team” crowd.

    • White Horse // September 11, 2017 at 9:19 pm //

      Masoli is a QB that has intrigued me for some reason. He is not spectacular but dammit, he is a plumber type QB who will get the job done without fanfare. It seems that as the game wears on he just seems to focus better and gets the job done.

      • He spreads the ball around as well…not locked on one guy like Collaros to Tasker. Gee, let’s throw into triple coverage when the game’s on the line because it’s Tasker…sigh.

        • The fact that he is getting the time that Collaros didn’t have has nothing to do with his success….

    • No broken ankles my friend. Team was 0-8 and absolutely sucked…nobody can deny that. Enter new HC and new QB…change results in absolute metamorphosis of team…players start to believe.

      • Trouble is the metamorphosis is far short of what a short time ago was claimed to be required to get a single win, never mind two wins. The claim was that burning everything to the ground from Mitchell on down, players included as there “was no talent”.

        Few who seemed to miss that skills were being blunted have acknowledged that maybe, just maybe – a part of the “absolutely sucked” was asking too much of and/or putting players in situations that did not suit their skills/performance.

        I know you have been calling for Masoli to start so I doubt you fit this POV.

  11. They only have 1 left against Ottawa. So important to win against T.O. on Sept 30 in the hammer. Win at home and steal a couple on the road and they will be in.

    • Beating Montreal twice in the remaining home & home is the key to the season. All we have to do is sneak in the back door for the Eastern Semi. We win three of the remaining four against Divisional rivals and we’re in. Forget about the Grey Cup this year. Respectability, that’s all I’m looking for.

  12. Yes…yes…the East sucks…but…the East sucked last year…and look who won the Grey Cup. One game at a time…two games in hand against Ottawa…and one game up on the rest of the East. Question is. Are these new Cats for real? I think they are, only time will tell. Still lack quality receivers, boy would Andy sure be nice to have back in the line up. Banks is paying off… as he stretches the defense with his speed. Seems to be paying off for Tasker. We really did not have this all year. We are slowly adding the pieces we have missed all season. I never really did hear…is Toliver done for sure for the year? I still think we still need a big tall receiver that can go up and get a 50-50 ball…gotta be one out there that has just been cut by the NFL….

  13. I forgot something in my last post…Hey CJ……I BELIEVE….and I bet a lot more people do now too…

  14. Lindsay Wilcox // September 11, 2017 at 5:04 pm //

    Finally – a running game, with 2 RBs (although one is a QB).
    Next – use the FB some, as more than just another blocker. When Sudsy was HC, he fired OC Dieter Brock for refusing to come up with some 2 RB offence.
    Banks proving why he wanted more time on O; Aultman may eventually be the full-time PR and KR, but still needs to be better blocking for the return game.

    June, please bring back Reinebold – we need his ST skills, especially for blocking on returns and trick plays like the onside man on punts.

  15. Labour Day always starts the “real” season; couple that with Jones and we are truly 2-0! Thanks to a the (L)East Divisions problems, our fate is in our hands…I like our chances. 🙂

  16. Aultman did well at PR and KR….but what about this new kid…Speedy B 2.0….Quinn?….bet he plays Friday night…and as per his highlight reel….could be next up.. Drew…can we get some updates on the new guys…Andy…Toliver?

    • The new guys and a Fantuz update I can see.

      Toliver was announced in June as done for the season, with confirmation of surgery the same month.

  17. Ryker Mathews has been a great addition to the O-Line. He’s a Beast.

  18. This is exactly what the Tiger-Cats needed, a few feel good wins against eastern divisional opponents. Now, with Trevor Harris potentially out for a while, Lulay done for the season and Kevin Glenn injured, this might translate to a few more wins and challenging for top spot in the East.

    If Andy Fantuz returns next week, Gable getting more touches and Masoli increasing confidence, the season might be finally turning around.

  19. Let Masoli have some more games then if he wins trade Zach and his big salary. Golson goes to number two and put someone else on the practice squad.

Comments are closed.