Two fourth quarter blows led to a Tiger-Cats knockout in Toronto.
Midway through the final frame in Week 6, Argonauts defensive lineman Shawn Oakman sacked quarterback Dane Evans for the third time. That tackle sent Evans to the sideline in pain and Hamilton’s starting QB did not return to the football game.
“I knew I was hurt, but it’s football you push through. It’s honestly in such a weird spot, I tried to throw on the sideline, when I twisted to my right side, it wasn’t happening,” Evans said.
“I was just as surprised as the rest when I was told that he wouldn’t be returning, but I know this: there’s not a tougher customer than Dane, he’s as tough as they come,” head coach Orlondo Steinauer said.
Evans isn’t exactly sure what play initially caused the undetermined injury. He described the issue as being a combination of both upper and lower body. After finishing his post-game media availability — it’s rare for an injured player to do a press conference, especially following a loss — Evans was meeting with trainers to pinpoint the problem.
“I’m hurting, I honestly have no clue what play I got hurt on. I just know on that drive that I came out, when I tried to stand up, it just started hurting. I felt like at that point I wasn’t the best option for the team to go back in and win the game,” Evans said.
“I’ve never come out of a game ever in my life, any level of football — ever. It sucked, injuries are part of the game, I’ve been pretty fortunate with that my entire career. I knew at that moment I wasn’t the best option for the team — if I can’t throw as a quarterback, what am I doing back there? If I go out there I’m hurting the team.”
Through approximately three-and-a-half quarters, Evans completed 70.4 percent of his passes for 192 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Hamilton was trailing 17-10 when he left the contest and David Watford, dressed as the backup with Jeremiah Masoli on the injured list, took the field.
“He made enough plays to get us down the field. That’s a tough situation to go in, there’s always some throws and plays he’d want back. He took us down the field when it mattered most and we were lining up to tie the ball game,” Steinauer said.
“I’m glad Dave came in, I thought he handled himself extremely well. We still had a chance there at the end, I think you saw the fight that this team has. Dave came in and put us in a position to win the game,” Evans said.
Following two series of two-and-outs for the Ticats, Watford hit Jaelon Acklin for an 18-yard catch-and-run on third and 10 and connected with David Ungerer for 11 yards. Those passes setup Sean Thomas-Erlington popping through the middle and diving into the end zone for a 21-yard touchdown. However, Michael Domagala hit the upright on the extra point and that gave Toronto a 17-16 victory.
“It’s hard on the ball club. Everything is just fresh right now, just fresh in from the locker room. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t in the cards for some reason,” Steinauer said.
Hamilton has a full week until their next game on the schedule. In Week 7 the Calgary Stampeders come to Tim Hortons Field. It’s anyone’s guess as to who starts at quarterback for the Tiger-Cats.
“Jeremiah wasn’t ready to go and we thought our best chance to win this game was to go with the quarterbacks that we suited up,” Steinauer said. “I imagine Jeremiah will be fine and if not, we’re still going to line up against Calgary and play.”