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Fans in Ottawa were treated to a tightly-contested pre-season opener at TD Place, but it was ultimately the Hamilton Tiger-Cats whose defence held the Ottawa REDBLACKS to just one field goal in the fourth quarter.
They take the final in the REDBLACKS first game of the young CFL season – 25-21.
But the REDBLACKS struck first in the ball game, forcing the visiting Tiger-Cats to play catch-up. Dominique Davis fired a 65-yard bomb to Caleb Holly on the first play of the REDBLACKS opening drive. That set up 23-yard field goal on Ottawa’s first possession of the game
However, the Tiger-Cats were able to answer. Hamilton picked up their first point of the game on the ensuing possession after a punt from former Carleton Ravens kicker Michael Domagala. Then their offence combined for seven plays on an 86-yard drive.
The finishing touch came after a pass interference call against Ottawa. It put Hamilton at first-and-goal. QB Dane Evans then sneaked into the endzone on his first try, giving Hamilton the lead.
The Tiger-Cats wouldn’t trail in the game after that point.
With the score at 11-6 Hamilton in the middle of the second quarter, the REDBLACKS gained some momentum after Shaneil Jenkins sacked Evans in the Tiger-Cats end zone, making the score 11-8 at 6:51.
Ottawa gave Ward his third field goal of the game on the ensuing drive, which tied the game going into half.
That set-up a third quarter filled with offence – Hamilton’s Hayden Moore earning two touchdowns in the frame.
Hamilton’s two bested Ottawa’s total of one – but the REDBLACKS’ TD came with some flare. Right after Moore found Josh Crockett open in the end zone to make it 18-11 Hamilton, Domagala’s kickoff was recovered by DeVonte Dedmon who took it all the way to the house.
A 100-yard return would set up Ward for another conversion, and the game was tied at 18 again.
But the Tiger-Cats would pull away from there. Moore’s aforementioned second touchdown of the third quarter made the score 25-18 and it was enough to hold off the REDBLACKS last push in the fourth quarter. Jose Maltos field goal was the last offensive burst for Ottawa.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
“We had our first group offence in early in the game and they made some good plays. I’m glad we got to see all four quarterbacks, that was part of the plan all along. The first two guys made really good throws. And the big returns are always fun too – it’s fun seeing the new guys pop out.” – HC Rick Campbell
“We did some good things. I’m sure there some things we have to correct once we watch the film, but a pretty good first pre-season game we can build on.” – QB Dominique Davis
Lewis Ward was perfect in his field goal attempts, going 3-for-3 in his first game since last year’s record-breaking season… Dominique Davis topped the three REDBLACKS quarterbacks in completion percentage at 71 per cent… third quarter touchdowns made the difference for Hamilton, those combine for the highest point total from either team in any quarter (14)… next closest was Ottawa’s 8 points in the second… Jose Maltos is the first Mexican-born kicker to earn a field goal in REDBLACKS history.
OTT – FG Ward – 12:54
HAM – PUNT Domagala – 9:21
HAM – Evans (Domagala conv.) – 4:34
OTT – FG Ward – 14:28
HAM – FG Domagala – 10:35
OTT – SAFE Jenkins (Evans) – 6:51
OTT – FG Ward – 3:01
HAM – Moore to Crockett (Domagala conv.) – 8:43
OTT – Dedmon (Ward conv.) – 8:05
HAM – Moore to Tucker (Domagala conv.) 1:27
OTT – FG Maltos – 13:01