Ticats’ Brandon Banks felt disrespected by Lions

Brandon Banks and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats felt disrespected and took it out on the B.C. Lions.

Banks caught two of Jeremiah Masoli’s three first-half TD passes as Hamilton captured an emotionally charged 40-10 win over B.C. on Saturday afternoon. There was plenty of tension between the two teams after Lions players danced on the Ticats’ centre-field logo during their walkthrough Friday.

Banks, Masoli and linebacker Simoni Lawrence were among the Hamilton players who felt disrespected by the Lions, who contended they meant nothing by it. Banks, Lawrence and linebacker Larry Dean all voiced their displeasure to B.C. players and Banks got into some verbal sparring with opposing receiver DeVier Posey.

The situation got so testy that head referee Andre Proulx issued a warning to B.C.’s bench in the first half.

“You don’t disrespect us unless you coming here ready to dominate us and obviously that didn’t happen,” Banks said. “It’s all about respect in this game.

“I understand they’ve got stuff they do … but it’s about respecting another team until you come in here and do something. I guess they were flying high from what they did the previous week, a fluke win.”

B.C. was riding a three-game win streak, which included a come-from-behind 35-32 overtime decision over Hamilton in Vancouver last weekend.

The outspoken Lawrence, regarded as one of the CFL’s best trash talkers, said he was merely taking some motherly advice to heart.

“I don’t feel disrespected because we handled it,” said Lawrence. “My mom always told me if you’re mad, you better do something about it or don’t say anything.”

Banks was a key figure for Hamilton (7-7), which earned its first win in three games. The five-foot-seven, 155-pound Banks had nine catches for 79 yards and two TDs after missing two games with a groin injury, delighting the announced Tim Hortons Field sellout of 23,623.

“He’s our playmaker,” Masoli said of Banks. “Besides that, he brings a lot to the huddle on the field.

“Just his presence kind of gives us some mojo, gives us some juice.”

Masoli also was displeased with the Lions’ actions Friday.

“I felt a little disrespected about it, for sure,” he said. “That’s our home logo but what other teams do during their walkthrough doesn’t really matter so it is what it is.”

Hamilton’s defence did its part with Don Unamba and Mike Daly returning interceptions 29 and 58 yards, respectively, for TDs. The Ticats moved to within two points of first-place Ottawa (8-5) in the East Division standings.

After a bye week, Hamilton visits the Toronto Argonauts (3-10) on Oct. 12. Masoli was 18-of-26 passing for 189 yards before giving way to Dane Evans in the fourth while John White IV ran for 108 yards on 15 carries.

B.C. (6-7) suffered its first loss in four games and is now last in the West. The Lions’ road woes continued as they fell to 1-6 away from B.C. Place Stadium.

Lions head coach Wally Buono said he never saw his players doing their mid-field dance because he was busy doing a television interview.

“That’s not the kind of stuff I’d promote,” the CFL’s all-time leader in coaching wins said. “Unfortunately I was doing TSN or that probably never would’ve occurred.

“That was done. If that’s what the difference was, then I don’t think we’ll dance again.”

B.C.’s defence, which had registered 18 sacks during the three-game win streak, had just one Saturday. By comparison, Hamilton’s unit registered six.

Starting quarterback Jonathon Jennings was 17-of-25 passing for 146 yards with three interceptions before being replaced by Cody Fajardo in the third. Fajardo hit Shaq Johnson with a 13-yard TD strike at 6:12 of the fourth and completed seven of 12 passes for 69 yards.

Daly’s pick-six at 13:25 of the third put Hamilton ahead 40-3. Lirim Hajrullahu hit from 51 yards out at 7:48, making him six-for-six from 50-plus yards this season.

Luke Tasker had Hamilton’s other touchdown. Hajrullahu booted four converts and two field goals.

B.C.’s Ty Long kicked a field goal and single.

Hajrullahu’s 24-yard field goal at 13:39 of the second staked Hamilton to an emphatic 30-3 half-time advantage. B.C. had a chance to cut into that advantage but Posey dropped Jennings’ TD pass to end the half.

“Their team was better, they took advantage of us early and we couldn’t ever recover,” Buono said. “They made plays, they moved the football.

“They scored, we didn’t and before you know it it was (13-0). And then you get the home crowd going, it’s going to be tough.”

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