Photo Scott Grant / CFLPhotoArchive.com
Photo Scott Grant / CFLPhotoArchive.com

The Ticats clawed back and shredded the Argos.

Hamilton’s starting quarterback Dane Evans led a fierce black and gold attack in the second half, including 19 straight completions, to win 38-27 in the Labour Day Classic. The Ticats QB passed for a career-high 442 yards while improving to 4-1 as a starter.

Evans and Bralon Addison connected for two touchdowns, one to kickstart the comeback and finish the Argos off. Addison caught 11 passes for 167 and two touchdowns. His fourth 100-yard game of the season. It seems Addison has become Evans’ favourite target in the Hammer.

In two games against Toronto, Addison has totalled five touchdowns and 274 yards. He’s quickly gaining ground on Brandon Banks who leads the Ticats and CFL in receiving yardage, but the attention Speedy B has garnered from defences opens up space for Addison to operate and beat man coverage.

That said Banks had nine grabs for 109 yards himself, leading the league with 862 yards. The Ticats displayed a dangerous, big play offence consistently in the final 30 minutes. The presence of Banks played a large role.

It took the duo of Addison and Banks to overcome Derel Walker. The Argos’ No. 1 target lit up Hamilton for 203 yards and two touchdowns. One was a 96-yard burst down the sidelines and the other a 24-yard leaping major. Both on strikes from McLeod Bethel-Thompson who went 22-of-42 for 337 yards. Toronto’s offence was non-existent outside of Walker.

Considering Hamilton’s defence was playing without two defensive backs in Frankie Williams and Tunde Adeleke, ejected less than 10 minutes into the game, the secondary adjusted well. Canadian Mike Daly stepped in at safety as did Jay Langa at field corner.

Simoni Lawrence was talking trash and racking up tackle. The leader of the Ticats ‘D’ had a game-high nine tackles. Meanwhile Dylan Wynn continued his tear. He notched another sack which gives him five straight games with a quarterback takedown and nine total through 11 games – most in the East. He’s having an all-star, career-best season.

Evans stole the headlines with his dynamic weapons when he dropped back to pass and there is also one emerging as a runner. Canadian running back Jackson Bennett saw his first extended action and churned out 77 yards on 12 carries, including a 25-yard touchdown run.

Bennett was a second-round pick in 2018 out of the University of Ottawa. After playing mostly defensive back in USports football, the Ticats flipped Bennett to the offensive side of the ball, using his 4.48 40-yard speed. He chipped in three catches for 28 yards showing a well-rounded skill set.

Tommy Condell’s offence piled up 590 yards and held the ball for over 33 minutes in an impressive outing. Led by Evans Hamilton earned a record sixth straight Labour Day victory over the rival Argos.

The Ticats claim the season series and Ballard Cup. At the same time ensuring Toronto can’t pass them in the standings and run their record to 9-2 – commanding four-game lead in the East Division. Toronto takes yet another loss and are playing for pride already at 1-9 last in the East.

Orlondo Steinauer’s group appears to have the makings of a Grey Cup contender despite franchise quarterback Jeremiah Masoli sidelined with an ACL injury. The road to a CFL title is going to run through Hamilton.

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Justin Dunk is the pre-eminent CFL insider and unabashed supporter of Canadian quarterbacks. He is one of the founders of the new 3DownNation.