Atlantic Canada has been kind to the Ticats.
Hamilton improved to 2-0 in Moncton with a 28-26 win over Montreal in the Touchdown Atlantic game. The Tabbies now hold the distinction of being the all-time winningest CFL team in New Brunswick history.
A couple of rookies who have ties to the East Coast experienced some career firsts during their trip back to the Maritimes. Kicker Brett Lauther made his CFL debut, booted his first pro field goal and struck a pose to boot. Defensive back Neil King made his first CFL start at safety and recorded the first sack of his career.
It’s certainly not the first time Lauther and King have worn the same jersey together. The pair both played football for the St. Mary’s Huskies and were each selected in the 2013 CFL draft by Hamilton; King in the 5th round, Lauther in the 7th.
“Being able to share in each others success, on the east coast, where we both played our university football, I don’t think it could’ve worked out better for both of us,” King said. “You always dream about that stuff and it’s definitely something we will look back at and never forget.”
King’s memory of his first sack, a big hit on Josh Neiswander, likely won’t soon fade. On the other hand, Lauther, his good buddy, took home the football he booted through the uprights on his first career field goal.
The commemorative pigskin might find a place at Lauther’s house in Hamilton, which he shares with King and two other Ticat rookies, Courtney Stephen and Rico Murray.
“Four rookies that are making a good splash to start their careers,” King said.
Hamilton’s first year kicker proved no moment is too big for him. In front of a large showing of family and friends at Moncton Stadium he hit all four of his field goals and took home CFL special teams player of the week honours for his debut performance.
“Getting to see everyone from back home and having a big game in front of them, it was pretty awesome," Lauther said.
After making his fourth kick of the game to put the Ticats up 28-19, Lauther struck a pose to celebrate.
“I was in the moment and pulled it out. I got caught up with how the game was going and I apologized after,” Lauther said.
King who was his teammate at St. Mary’s for four years never once saw him pose with the Huskies.
“He has a handshake with the holder, that’s usually all he’s done in the past,” King explained. “We’ve been bugging him about the pose. That was the first time I’ve ever seen it.”
You can bet Ticats players and coaches all agree Lauther can pose as much as he wants as long as he continues to split the uprights.
Dunk Dials In
It might have been a perfect 4-for-4 debut for Lauther, but instead of kicking a short field goal on the first play of the second quarter in Moncton, Hamilton ran a fake.
When taking a look at the film, it was clear why the fake was called. It appears the Ticats found a hole in the Alouettes field goal defence alignment.
Montreal had four defenders lined up on the short side of the field where Hamilton had four blockers, numbers in the Ticats favour. At the snap of the ball, Marc Beswick came from the left, back underneath the formation, took the shovel pass from holder Andy Fantuz and found the end zone from 10 yards out.
Beswick’s touchdown was made easy because of what the big boys did up front. Number 92 Sam Scott, positioned on the outside right of the Ticats field goal formation, sealed Geoff Tisdale. Lined up at the right tackle spot was Greg Wojt who executed a perfect down block to allow right guard Tim O’Neill to pull out free.
O’Neill came around and kicked out Shea Emry to lead the way and create a nice running lane for Beswick. Number 3 in Black and Gold burst through the hole, hopped over a defender and crossed the goal line for a major.
Hamilton took advantage of the numbers and executed perfectly to get four extra points, pivotal in a ball game that was decided by just two when the clock hit zeros.