TORONTO — Southern Ontario flexed their muscles at the backup quarterback spot with a half dozen pivots having excellent debuts as the pre-season schedule opened.
The Argos took the first ever game at Investors Group Field while the Ticats spoiled Dan Hawkins first taste of CFL action as a head coach.
Out west, both the Riders and Lions staged last-minute comebacks as they dropped the Eskimos and Stampeders.
This is how the first week of the pre-season shook down:
Toronto 24, Winnipeg 6 The Argonauts received production from all of their quarterbacks vying to backup Ricky Ray as they lifted Toronto to a 24-6 pre-season win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers Wednesday night.
Sophomores Trevor Harris, Zach Collaros and rookies Mitchell Gale and Josh Portis combined for over 344 yards passing and lead three touchdown drives on 24 of 37 passing in the win.
Buck Pierce got the start for the Blue Bombers, healthy after an injury-plagued 2012. He had Chad Simpson as his starting tailback but the two were shut down midway through the first quarter, giving way for Max Hall and Chris Garrett who took over for the Bombers.
Running back Gerald Riggs Jr., WR Romby Bryant and WR Trent Guy all had touchdowns in the win.
Saskatchewan 31, Edmonton 24 A pick-six with under a minute left by non-import defensive back Graig Newman broke up a tie game to help the Roughriders battle back to a 31-24 win over the Eskimos in pre-season play.
Matt Nichols got the start for the Lions as he is entrenched in a heated battle with former BC Lions pivot Mike Reilly for the right to lead the Eskimos under centre come opening.
Drew Willy made the start for the Riders behind centre but all of the Rider quarterbacks dressed saw action.
BC 29, Calgary 27 Korey Williams returned a kick 105 yards for a touchdown, while Hugh O’Neill kicked five field goals including the game winner with 1:13 remaing, as the Lions rallied to down the Calgary Stampeders 29-27 in pre-season action at McMahon Stadium.
The first quarter got off to a rather slow start for both sides on the offensive side of the ball, with punters Rob Maver and O’Neill each getting an opportunity to kick twice after both offences played to two and outs.
Midway through the first quarter, however, the Stamps offence got things started as Tate orchestrated a drive that ended with Rene Paredes splitting the uprights from 38 yards out for the night’s opening points.