With the dawn of 2016 upon us, I figured there was no better time than now to take a look back on the Ticats’ 2015 season. I could do a post-mortem on where things went wrong in Hamilton’s attempt to win a 16th championship, but I think we all know the date, place and time when the wheels began to fall off. So I have decided to light a candle instead of cursing the darkness and will take a look at, in no particular order, my top five Ticats moments of the 2015 season.
The Legend: August 27
While the night would ultimately end with Hamilton’s first defeat at Tim Hortons Field, the lasting memory from the August 27 game against the Montreal Alouettes will be the ceremony to retire Angelo Mosca’s No. 68.
It is hard to put into words what Angelo Mosca means to the Ticats, the fans and the city. Simply put, he is a legend, and despite the fact that he retired a full 10 years before I was even born, you still have reverence for the man who is the epitome of Ticats football. To finally see this man get his due was a sight to behold and one of the truly great moments in the league in 2015.
The Catch: October 18
We have seen some spectacular catches over the years, and we saw plenty more in 2015, but few in the history of the league could top the one Luke Tasker made against the Montreal Alouettes on a chilly October Sunday.
It is really a catch that has to be seen to be believed, with Tasker bending backwards to make an incredible catch on a pray throw by Jeff Mathews. In just over two seasons, Tasker has become a bona fide star and catches like the one against the Als are the reason why.
The Kick: November 15
This may be the great singular in-game moment the Ticats had this year. Justin Medlock’s kick with zeros on the clock to win the East Semi-Final was one of the biggest kicks in Ticats history, joining Paul Osbaldiston’s game winner in the ’98 East Final and Ian Sunter’s championship winner in the ’72 Grey Cup. It was a kick that had it all, a game winner to extend their season at least another week and it dispatched the team’s most hated rival. It may only be the third greatest field goal in team history, but it was easily one of the top moments of last season.
The Sweep: August 3, September 7, September 11, November 15
For the longest time, back when the Ticats were essentially the league’s free square, the mark of a successful season was beating the Argos, especially on Labour Day. It has been a long time since that was the sole goal for fans, but that doesn’t mean beating the Argos is treasured any less. In 2015, the Ticats beat the Argos… and then beat them again… and again… and again. The Ticats and Argos met four times in 2015 with the Ticats emerging victorious in all four meetings.
It started on August 3, in Hamilton’s 2015 home opener, when the Ticats pounded the Argos 34-18, and ended when the Ticats eliminated the Argos from the playoffs in the East Semi-Final. In between, the Ticats destroyed the Argos in the Labour Day Classic and took the rematch in Toronto a few days later. It was the first time the Ticats swept the season series against the Argos, including playoffs, since 2001 and the three home wins by the Ticats kept the Argos winless at Tim Hortons Field. Hopefully that trend will continue in 2016.
The Streak: July 26 to August 21
While the season ended without a championship, there was a time when the Ticats looked poised to run through the rest of the league and capture the championship that has so eluded them these last 16 years.
It began in Saskatchewan with a 31-21 win over the hapless Roughriders, continued during a three-game home winning streak that saw them beat the Argos 34-18, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 38-8 and the BC Lions 52-22, and ended in Edmonton with the Ticats crushing the eventual Grey Cup champions 49-20. It was a display of dominance this team has not shown in some time and it was as impressive as I have ever seen the Ticats play. Easily one of my favourite parts of the 2015 season.