Ticats’ QB Matthew Shiltz ready to start if called upon against former team

Photo: Bob Butrym/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

Matthew Shiltz believes he will be ready to start against his former team if called upon this week after putting any negative feelings behind him.

“We already played them a couple of times, so you kinda get those emotions out of the way and you’ve just gotta make it another game. It’s going to be a big game for us — where both teams are in the standings and being a divisional game on the road,” Shiltz told the media in Hamilton.

“Two points on the line — really four points — with those kind of games, so it’ll be a good battle.”

Shiltz was a member of the Montreal Alouettes for four seasons, throwing for 1,866 yards, eight touchdowns, and eleven interceptions in spot duty behind a litany of quarterbacks including Darian Durant, Drew Willy, Johnny Manziel, Antonio Pipkin, and Vernon Adams Jr.

The 29-year-old signed with the Ticats as a free agent in February and saw action against the Alouettes in Week 8 while splitting time with starter Dane Evans. He completed seven-of-ten pass attempts for 44 yards and ran the ball four times for 42 yards in a 24-17 win at Tim Hortons Field.

Shiltz made his first start with Hamilton last week and overcame an injury in the third quarter to lead his team to a 34-27 victory over the Toronto Argonauts. His stat line wasn’t flashy — he completed 14-of-19 pass attempts for 176 yards, one touchdown, and one interception — but his 60-yard touchdown pass to Tim White in the fourth quarter was one of the team’s best plays of the year.

The veteran quarterback hopes to continue that success into this week’s pivotal game.

“Keep building on what we did last week, not get complacent on it and continue to strive for that improvement and taking the next steps. That game’s in the rearview mirror now. We’ve gotta look through the windshield and keep moving forward. Just making the most of our walkthrough reps, our time in the film room, just constant communication and just kinda keep on growing,” said Shiltz.

Dane Evans was limited in practice on Wednesday due to the same right shoulder injury that held him out of last week’s victory over the Argos. It remains unclear if he will play on Saturday or if Shiltz will make a second consecutive start.

Head coach Orlondo Steinauer laid out what he hopes to see from his offence as they head into a critical matchup with Montreal.

“Really it’s about taking care of the football and creating explosive plays, being able to run the ball effectively and move the chains. That’s really what it’s about each week and then there’s your staple bucket of plays and then there’s your gameplan plays and we’re always looking for a high rate of execution,” said Steinauer.

Hamilton and Montreal currently have identical 3-6 records and sit two points back of the first-place Toronto Argonauts. The winner of Saturday’s game at Percival Molson Stadium will not only improve to 4-6 but also earn sole possession of second place in the East Division.