Fraser Caldwell | Ticats.ca
HAMILTON -- The Ticats were through with missing the mark, dropping the pass or blowing the assignment.
On Saturday, the Tabbies’ smoothly-run plays outweighed their errors, and their individual heroics wiped clean the memory of mental lapses.
The evidence wasn’t immediate, as the hosts struggled through their first offensive series and could not find the scoreboard in the opening quarter.
But a stingy Ticat defence held the Eskimos to only eight points through 15 minutes, and the offence – with a confident Henry Burris at the helm – came to life in the second.
“Our defence was relentless,” said Burris. They just said, 'keep them on the field and give us a little break,' and the long drives that we had were able to keep their defence out and wear them down."
Recap: Edmonton 8, Hamilton 51
“That was huge, because our defence has had their ups and downs just like we have. We’ve got to complement each other.”
Bakari Grant – plagued by drops a week ago – was a central figure in the awoken offence, catching passes of 25 and 26 yards to help Luca Congi chip away at the deficit.
Three field goals in the period had the Ticats in the lead, before the Eskimos appeared ready to retake the advantage at the interval.
But with the visitors lined up to attempt a long three-pointer of their own, Ticat defensive back Dee Webb blocked the effort and the aforementioned Grant ran the loose ball to the house.
The hosts suddenly led 16-8, and carried overwhelming momentum into the locker room as halftime sounded at Ivor Wynne.
“To score that touchdown threw the momentum hugely in our favour right before the half,” said Ticat Head Coach George Cortez of the blocked field goal.
Hamilton would not relinquish the reins once it held them.
Burris engineered three touchdowns drives in the third quarter as the Ticats offence enjoyed the type of extended, successful drives that they have sorely missed in previous weeks.
Dave Stala, Andy Fantuz and Chris Williams each nabbed a major as the hosts took a 37-8 stranglehold on the contest.
“We were able to come back and make some adjustments after half time,” Burris confirmed. “Those first two drives in the third quarter were pretty big for us to be able to go down the field and put points on the board.”
“That’s the way that we’ve got to play with all of this talent that we have.”
The Ticats never took their foot from the proverbial gas pedal, heaping the misery on the visiting Eskimos.
Edmonton would not score another point, while Hamilton added touchdowns through running back Avon Cobourne and a pick-six secured by the standout Webb.
The defensive back’s 98-yard score underlined an exceptional day for the Ticats defenders, and spoke to the chemistry brewing among the group.
“It’s about getting that cohesiveness as a defence and not playing like a robot,” said middle linebacker Rey Williams of his unit’s success on Saturday.
“When you can disguise some stuff and you know what the guy next to you is going to do, it makes a world of difference.”
The final score of 51-8 encapsulated Hamilton’s glorious afternoon, one that Burris hopes his team can build from as it looks to play itself back into contention in the East Division.
“I take it one step at a time,” the quarterback cautioned.
“It’s definitely the direction that we want to be going in. We’ve got a swing of two big games coming up after this, so we really needed this game.”
“More importantly, we needed to get things going right for us playing at home.”
On the evidence of Saturday’s drubbing, “right” is precisely the way the Ticats are playing.