After an impressive season opening win in Toronto, things were looking good for Hamilton. The offense, defense and even special teams all had a very solid outing in their comfortable win at BMO Field. This week it was Hamilton’s turn to be the home team humiliated at their home opener.
The Tiger-Cats were up 1-0 early on a Brett Maher missed field goal single. Lions kicker Richie Leone later missed a field goal himself that tied the score at 1-1. The wind was howling down in Hamilton, which became a factor all day as kicks and punts were slicing all over the field.
Richie Leone was able to actually get a 44-yarder through the uprights at the 6:10 mark of the first quarter to put B.C. up 4-1. Hamilton later benefited from a single, conceded by B.C., to cut the lead to 4-2.
As the wind continued to howl Leone missed another field goal for B.C. but got the single point to give the Lions a 5-2 lead. A safety was conceded by Hamilton to widen the lead to 7-2. The Tiger-Cats were playing like a frustrated team as nothing seemed to be going right. Quarterback Jeremiah Masoli couldn’t quite engineer drives like he was doing in game one of the season. The game slugged into halftime with a 7-2 score line.
Even with the wind, the kickers were starring in this game, despite the wind greatly affecting their ability to kick soundly. Richie Leone added another kick up on the board, this time a 31 yarder, and B.C. was up 10-2.
On only the second play of Hamilton’s next drive, Jeremiah Masoli threw an interception to Ryan Phillips, who returned it 26 yards. This turnover would prove to be costly as emerging B.C. quarterback, Jonathan Jennings, drove down the field and got a touchdown from a two yard run by Shaquille Murray-Lawrence. After the convert the score was 17-2. The Lions were able to score a single on the kickoff and all of a sudden it was 18-2, with Hamilton staring down a huge deficit at home on Canada Day.
Brett Maher once again missed a field goal and had to settle for a single to make it 18-3 to the B.C. Lions heading into the fourth quarter. Maher went 0-for-3 on the day in the harsh winds.
Coach Wally Buono, made sure that his team stayed disciplined as they tried to close out the win on the road. But then Jonathan Jennings was able to find Emmanuel Arcenaux for a 16 yard touchdown grab, and Richie Leone blasted it through the uprights for a 25-3 lead. Leone later added a field goal to make it 28-3, then Masoli threw an interception on Hamilton’s next drive which all but sealed the deal. Jonathan Jennings threw for 228 yards and one TD with no interceptions as the Lions played a balanced offense to a tee. Masoli threw for 248 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions to send him back to the drawing board.
For the Lions it was another impressive defensive outing that goes well alongside their performance against Calgary last week, and hall of fame head coach Wally Buono adds yet another win to his already sparkling resume. For the Tiger-Cats, this is a type of game a team with Grey Cup aspirations simply can’t have. Head coach Kent Austin will make sure his side are ready to go in Winnipeg next week. The Tiger-Cats stay at home to host Winnipeg on July 7 at 7pm EST. The Lions go back to British Columbia to entertain the Argos on July 7 at 10:00pm EST.