Henry Burris had to pause for a minute to think back to the last time he had three of his teammates go over 100 yards receiving in the same game.
“I can recall one time in Calgary. If I’m correct it was with (Ken-Yon) Rambo, (Nik) Lewis and (Jeremaine) Copeland, but we had a number of games where all three of those guys were close and I’m pretty sure we at least did it once.”
A trio of Ticats caught at least six passes and eclipsed the century mark in Hamilton’s 37-29 home win over BC in Week 11. Andy Fantuz led the way with 112 yards, his first 100 yard receiving effort since Week 1. Rookie sensation Greg Ellingson recorded 111 yards and two scores on seven catches.
To round out the threesome, fellow rookie, CJ Gable caught six balls for 108 yards and a touchdown to surpass the 100-yard receiving plateau for the first time ever in his career.
“I didn’t feel like I had 100 when I was out there,” the USC product said.
It was the first time as young Ticats teammates Gable and Ellingson had 100-plus-yard receiving efforts in the same game. Don’t expect it to become a regular occurrence because Gable is a running back, but both are certainly leading candidates for the Canadian Football League’s rookie of the year award.
“We go at it all the time and talk about how it’s between me and him,” Gable said. “It just makes us go harder every time we are out there. And we’re locker mates so we’re right next to each other all the time for practice and games.”
Gable has racked up 355 yards and four touchdowns on the ground and 334 yards and four majors receiving for a total of 689 total yards from scrimmage. His eight combined scores are tied for second in the CFL.
Ellingson sits second in the league with 743 yards receiving and he has six touchdown grabs, which is tied for second among all pass catchers as well.
“If we’re still battling for it at the end of the season, whether he wins rookie of the year or I win it, we believe it should be a tie with both of us if we keep going the way we’re going now,” Gable said.
If the man getting Gable and Ellingson the football continues his stellar campaign, he could be in the running for some end of season hardware, too.
Smilin’ Hank leads the CFL in passing with 3,181 yards, over 500 yards ahead of the next closest quarterback. Burris has 18 touchdown passes which ranks tied for second in the league and he certainly has to be in the conversation when discussing the East Division representative for the CFL MOP award.
Despite his gaudy numbers so far this season, Burris believes the Ticats offence is just beginning to show their best stripes.
“Early on we definitely went through some growing pains It’s a very complicated offence, there are a lot of reads and adjustments,” Burris explained.
“It took us a number of weeks to feel comfortable and we dealt with some injuries to key players. Now we’re getting to the point where we’ve all played together in consistent weeks. We’re starting to get into a zone and what better time than the true heart and stretch run of the season.”
As the saying goes around the CFL, the season doesn’t really start until after Labour Day. With the Ticats sitting second in the East, it’s time for the team to find out if they can make a long post-season run.
A trip to Calgary's hostile McMahon Stadium is just the sort of test Hamilton has to pass if the Black and Gold want to be considered a legitimate Grey Cup threat in 2013.
“This is one of the challenges we definitely knew would come about throughout the course of the year, as far as us making those steps to become not just another team, but a great team to becoming an elite team,” Burris said.
“We have to get around the difficult situations. And here we are going up against the best team in the league right now, they’re playing on fire.”
The Stampeders are a perfect 4-0 at McMahon and have averaged over 40 points per game at home this season. So, Hamilton’s offence better be ready for a shootout in the Stampede city.
“If we want to become one of the best teams or be considered among them, we have to be able to win in a tough environment and prove that we definitely belong,” Burris said.
“So, here we go, this is what it’s all about. We’ve put in the work and now it’s all about us going out there in a tough situation against a great team, and crowd, and prove that we’re worthy enough to become one of the great teams in the league.”