GUELPH, Ont. – The second time was the spell for Boris Bede.
Bede’s 33-yard field goal in the final game gave the Toronto Argonauts an 18-17 win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the last exhibition game for both teams on Friday night. Bede’s boot into a stiff, swirling wind was the salvation as he missed to play from 52 yards in 1:38.
“It was a great experience for our younger quarterbacks to kind of understand the situation,” said Argos head coach Ryan Dinwiddie. “I felt like we weren’t always perfect, but we found a way to make it through in the end.
“I knew it was going to be a long kick (52-yard attempt), especially with the wind, but I said, ‘Fuck it, let’s try and see if he can do it.’ We did a good job pinning them back there.”
After Bede’s failed attempt, Hamilton took over at his nine-yard line with 1:20 to play. But the Argos’ defense allowed only a first down before forcing the Ticats to tie.
And when Toronto’s offense took over from Hamilton at the 45 with 19 seconds left, Chad Kelly was under center in place of Austin Simmons, who had replaced Kelly earlier in the quarter.
“I wanted to (Kelly) take offense on the clutch where we don’t close together and we have to win a game,” Dinwiddie said. “I wanted him to have the opportunity to do that.
“At that point, I thought Chad would operate faster with the no-huddle.”
Simmons completed two of five passes for 32 yards and ran for 28 yards four times.
Jamie Newman’s 34-yard TD pass to Anthony Johnson gave Hamilton a 16:15 lead at 12:12. It was set up by intercepting Michael Witherspoon but the two-point conversion attempt was unsuccessful.
Newman completed all eight passes he attempted for 88 yards and ran three times for 16 yards.
Kelly gave Toronto a 15-10 advantage with a six-yard TD on Isaiah Wright at 8:06. Kelly’s pass for the two-point convert was incomplete before a solid gathering at Alumni Stadium, though no final attendance was announced.
Joel Whitford’s 56-yard single at 9:15 of the fourth increased Hamilton’s lead to 17-15.
Neither team has the luxury of time for a lengthy evaluation. CFL clubs must make final roster cuts by 10 p.m. ET on Saturday night.
“We’re going to watch the film and then we’ll have to reevaluate it again in the morning before we make our final cuts,” Dinwiddie said. “It’s going to be one of those nights and we’re looking forward to it and seeing how it plays out.
“I went through the squad with all of our recruiters to see where we stand. We’ve felt good about most of our squads, but there’s about five or six people who hopefully changed their minds on matchday.”
Dinwiddie said he’s already made up his mind about his quarterback corps. Veteran McLeod Bethel-Thompson is the starter and is assisted by Kelly. Simmons will serve as the No. 3 and short-yardage quarterback.
Hamilton opens his season on June 11 with a visit to the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Toronto gets an opening week bye and will play its regular season opener with the Montreal Alouettes on June 16.
The Argos and Ticats will face off four times during the regular season.
Lawrence Woods III had Hamilton’s other touchdown. Michael Domagala added a convert and Seth Small started a field goal.
Bede converted four out of six field goal attempts that night.
Woods delivered the biggest play of the first half, returning a punt 99 yards for a TD at 6:44 of the first half. The rest of the points came from field goals.
Bede’s 13-yard boot in the last game of the half cut Hamilton’s halftime lead to 10–9. It came after Small converted a 51-yard attempt at 14:11 of the second.
Bede’s 25-yard field goal at 12:40 pulled Toronto to 7-6. It came after Bede missed from 47 yards early in the quarter.
Bethel-Thompson played the entire first half, completing 15 of 24 passes for 183 yards. He also had a nine-yard rush as the Argos’ offense amassed 216 yards in the first half.
“Winning is always important, it’s always great,” said Bethel-Thompson. “But we have to focus on being consistently clean.”
Veteran DaVaris Daniels was Bethel-Thompson’s favorite target with four catches for 43 yards. Former Ticat Brandon Banks was tackled seven times but only had three receptions for 34 yards.
Hamilton’s offense mustered just 77 yards with Jalen Morton under center in the first half. He completed six of 11 passes for 44 yards with one interception while adding a 13-yard run.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on June 3, 2022.
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