Ticats need a win against Calgary or face nail-biting night

Luke Tasker has his perfect Friday night all planned out.

If everything goes as planned, the veteran Hamilton Tiger-Cats receiver will win a football game with 43 of his closest friends, shower, put on his boots, then head to a local establishment for some celebratory libations.

But should the Ticats lose to the Calgary Stampeders, he’ll likely forego the post-game revelry and instead spend the rest of the evening nervously watching the Ottawa Redblacks take on the Saskatchewan Roughriders with his team’s playoff future hanging in the balance.

“I don’t want to watch it and I hope that I don’t have to,” Tasker said. “But if our fate hangs on it…”

The Ticats still control their own post-season destiny: if they win their final four games, they’re in. But a loss to Calgary on Friday and a win by Ottawa in Regina later that same evening and Hamilton is out of playoff contention and their final three games will be of the glorified exhibition variety.

While the Ticats are certainly playing better football since their 0-8 start – they are now 4-2 since June Jones took over as head coach – beating Calgary is a tall order. The Stamps are 12-1-1, have won 10 straight and are 15-0 coming off a bye (which they are doing this week) dating back to 2005.

Want some more? The Ticats haven’t beaten the Stampeders since the Touchdown Atlantic game in 2011 and quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell has never lost to Hamilton. Ever.

Oh, and the last time these two teams played on July 29, Calgary won 60-1 – though that result, interestingly enough, doesn’t appear to be part of Hamilton’s current psychology make up.

“I honestly don’t think so. I don’t even think Calgary would hang their hat on the fact that they beat us 60-1,” Tasker said. “It’s just so clear that we’re different now.”

Jones is the biggest factor in that transition, a calming interest with a long history in the game. He even has a connection to Mitchell, whom he recruited out of high school to play at Hawaii and then SMU where Jones was head coach.

“I’m really proud of him. I’ve been a big fan of his since forever,” said Jones, who texted with Mitchell this week. “He’s going to make some plays, there’s a reason that they’re 12-1 and he’s a large of part of it.”

After his team’s convincing road win over Winnipeg last week, Jones has elected to go with much the same line up against Calgary making just a single change: newcomer Kenny Allen will handle the kicking duties in place of the injured Sergio Castillo.

Allen has a booming leg – he was trying to make it the NFL as a punter before signing with Hamilton on Monday – and is listed as 6-foot-3, 223 pounds. That’s led Jones to create a new category beyond the usual “relatively normal” and “decidedly quirky” that kickers usually fall into.

“He seems like an athlete kicker,” Jones said. “He looks like a tight end or a defensive end.”

Should the Ticats find a way to win Friday, Allen – who was lamenting his lack of friends earlier this week – might even get himself invited out for one of those celebratory beverages.

“Some of the best memories when you’re a professional football player is winning games with your teammates. There’s nothing like it and we missed out on a lot of that early on,” Tasker said. “I think we have the feeling that we can win games right now.”

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
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Drew Edwards
About Drew Edwards (1190 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.

28 Comments on Ticats need a win against Calgary or face nail-biting night

  1. Sea of Dead // October 13, 2017 at 9:16 am //

    Best of luck tonight, Cats! No team turnovers, manage the clock and do what you’ve been doing recently and you’ve got a decent chance of coming out on top and continuing that drive towards a playoff spot.

    • Best of luck!! a Stamps victory! an Ottawa win in Sask!
      Let’s start planning for next year.
      GO Stamps Go Ottawa

      • Why don’t you plan on not commenting on here next year. Just forget about the team you support? Whatever who cares
        2017: The Year of the Cats!

        • CFLs Best since 1990 // October 13, 2017 at 3:12 pm //

          Atta boy! I have to acknowledge Ti-Cats’ fans hearty faith in their team. They could have given up, but they didn’t. The team seems to be following suit, and to me, that’s a feel-good story.

          Oh, don’t worry, I’ll be yelling “Go Stamps!” at the TV tonight. But I’ll also respect the opponents WAY more than I did for the game of a couple months ago. Good for them, the Cats look like a team, now.

        • NotJoshSmith // October 14, 2017 at 2:09 am //

          Sorry, make that 2018 now, Year of the Cats… lol

  2. Go Cats Go !

  3. This year lots of things have changed. The other Alberta Club, I believe, had never lost @ Investors & had beaten Bombers regularly the past 10 years at home. Mind you the Bombers & Eskimo clubs are closer than the TiCats & Stamps. But all things come to an end eventually. Calgary earlier had a 17 game undefeated streak. Who knows?

    • Bottom line the Stamps are healthy coming off a bye and will win this one.
      Ottawa is looking really good with Harris back and Powell running.
      It’s gonna be all over tonight for the Cats

  4. I think the TiCats have a real chance of beating Calgary tonight

  5. I’m cautiously optimistic about tonight’s game. Calgary is tops in the league obviously, but outside of ventilating the Tiger-Cats (when they were absolutely lost) and the Alouettes (who are a tire-fire) the Stampeders haven’t looked invincible this year. They just kind of hang around, stay competitive in the game, and then pounce on a key mistake and capitalize on the momentum swing.

    As well, the only blemishes against the Stampeders record have both come on the road against Eastern Teams (loss to the Alouettes, tie against Ottawa). Maybe they don’t travel well.

    If the Tiger-Cats are what we think they are right now, they just need to play their game and avoid stupid penalties, and maybe, just maybe, they could come out of this with a win.

    60-1 was a million years ago.

    • I am “cautiously optimistic” that the Stamps will win in a blow out.
      Ottawa will edge the Riders.

    • Brockleigh – I agree completely. I didn’t give them any hope of beating the Bombers especially on the road and they accomplished that. They just have to limit mistakes at the very least if not eliminate them, and they have a chance. Anything is possible and the players certainly believe that!

      RB fans don’t count your chickens before they hatch – don’t think the Riders have lost at home yet this season! May not be as easy as you think!

    • CFLs Best since 1990 // October 13, 2017 at 3:20 pm //

      Hamilton is a good team, now. Competitive. A “Team.”

      Leading up to the 60-1 blowout, I watched the Cats against a couple of teams (Esks + another) and thought their defense looked completely and utterly lost, especially their secondary. Receivers were so wide open that it looked like they were playing a high-school team.

      It is a very different team now. The sad part is they may have waited a week or two too long to right the ship.

      Looking forward to a good game. Bo might come out throwing darts to some of their best horses (receivers)back on the field. Hard to bet against the Stamps, but the Cats were very impressive against a strong Winnipeg club last week. I’ll pick the Stamps, but if it goes against them tonight, it will make for a better Eastern playoff race, and goodness knows that would be good for the league.

  6. The cats can win. Let’s hope the officials had a good nights sleep and don’t forget their contacts.

  7. So many naysayers, GO CATS GO! Hottest team in league right now. Never count them out.

  8. gpocatsgo // October 13, 2017 at 1:06 pm //

    Cats will be kings of the jungle if they pull this one off! Never say die, good luck guys !

  9. Dundas dude // October 13, 2017 at 1:24 pm //

    Redemption. After all what’s happened, the Cats still control their own destiny. Calgary deserves the accolades, but this could be the TiCat’s night. There may come a day when the men of Hamilton fail, but let that not be this day. Redemption, men. Make us proud! Take it! Go Cats!

  10. Saynotoapathy // October 13, 2017 at 2:32 pm //

    GO CATS GO.
    But will the Cats win tonight? Not a snowball’s chance in Hades.

  11. CFLs Best since 1990 // October 13, 2017 at 3:27 pm //

    As a Stamps’ fan, I always look forward to how this defense stacks up against the very best – because I think they are among the best units ever – and Hamilton’s offense has been churning up lots of ground against some of the CFL’s best defenders lately.

    I really like Green in the backfield, and Masolli has been lights out. It will be a good test and measuring stick for both units playing against one another. The advantage for the Tiger-Cats is that they have much more urgency attached to the outcome.

    Wouldn’t be surprised if Green gets shut down, the Stamps don’t allow much on the ground. But I think that is the key. If they have success running, I think we’re in for a great game.

  12. George Porge // October 13, 2017 at 3:58 pm //

    Games should both be decent tonight. TiCats are going to put up much more of a fight than they did last time we met, and it’s in their barn. I feel if any team is going to beat us down the stretch, it will be the Cats.

    Feel sort for the REDBLACKS. I really want to see them win tonight, but they are essentially starting against a fired-up Rider team in their own barn, and basically at 10:00pm according to their own internal clock (will basically be one in the morning in Ottawa when that game is done). Can’t say I am that optimistic that the lumberjacks can win it today, but at least that means Hamilton will get to die another day.

    In any case, Go Stamps, Go REDBLACKS!

  13. if the Argos lose their remaining games and cats win their remaining games can the cats finish first in the division?

    • Surprisingly yes because the Ticats would be 8-10 (four games remaining including tonight) while the Argos would finish at 7-11 (currently 7-8). However since Toronto holds the tiebreaker, Ticats do have to win one more game than the Argos. Any tied record puts Toronto in first place.

  14. ANNNNDD…..the piss poor reffing continues. I’m no Stamp fan but – HOW in thee hell could the ref – standing right there – call that an effin catch forcing Calgary to use their challenge?

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