Tiger-Cats beat Argonauts in Eastern final to qualify for Gray Cup – .

Tiger-Cats beat Argonauts in Eastern final to qualify for Gray Cup – .

TORONTO – Dane Evans ran for two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to rally the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to a thrilling 27-19 road win over the Toronto Argonauts in Sunday’s East Division final.
Evans’ one-yard run at 12:12 followed by convert Michael Domagala gave Hamilton the lead 27-16. Evans gave the Ticates their first lead of the day, 18-13, in a three-yard run at 3:35 before Don Jackson ran into the two-run convert.

It was a remarkable comeback for Hamilton, who led 12-0 at halftime as his offense took a turn for the worse in the first two quarters.

Toronto went to Hamilton’s 11-yard line, preparing for Boris Bede’s 18-yard field goal – his sixth of the game – to bring Toronto down to less than eight points with 1:10 to go. But Hamilton’s Jaelon Acklin recovered the kickoff in play.

Evans entered the game early in the second quarter after starter Jeremiah Masoli lost a fumble to end a promising practice at Hamilton. Evans completed 16 of 16 passes for 249 yards and one touchdown while Masoli completed four of six passes for 22 yards.

Toronto moved closer to 20-16 on Boris Bede’s 47-yard field goal at 8:45 before a season-high 21,492 BMO Field rally. Many spectators arrived early and could be seen hours before kickoff.

Evans’ 30-yard strike against Acklin tied the score 12-12 at 9:18 of the third. But Evans, who extended the run with a four-yard run on a false field goal before, was sacked on the two-point conversion attempt.

Papi White put Hamilton on the board at 5:19 of the third quarter when he returned Bede’s 59-yard punt for 92 yards for the touchdown. Domagala missed the convert.

Toronto took a 13-12 lead in the fourth after Bede missed 41 yards at 11:54.

Hamilton will have home court advantage in the Gray Cup next Sunday at Tim Hortons Field. The Ticates will make their second consecutive championship appearance after losing a 33-12 decision to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2019.

Hamilton will face either Winnipeg or the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson, linebacker Dexter McCoil Sr. and defensive back Jeff Richards all started for Toronto after successfully completing CFL COVID-19 protocol.

The trio, along with rushing winger Charleston Hughes and wide receiver Llevi Noel, attended the Toronto Raptors home game Thursday, which broke CFL protocols. All five were sent home by the club on Friday.

Normally, players would have to quarantine themselves for four days and provide two negative tests before they can resume team activities. But on Friday, the CFL said they could return if they quarantined themselves for 48 hours and provided three negative tests, the last of which was carried out on Sunday.

Bethel-Thompson, McCoil Sr. and Richards all posted three negative tests, making them eligible to play on Sunday. Hughes and Noel were both on Toronto’s injured list and did not dress for the game.

Bethel-Thompson had 24 of 38 passes for 283 yards on her first start in the CFL. He is 7-2 as a starter for Toronto this season.

Toronto came 6-1 at BMO Field this season and won the regular-season four-game series with Hamilton 3-1.

Bede’s placement 13:25 of the second put Toronto up 12-0. But the quarterback had a bizarre end as Evans completed a pass to Steven Dunbar Jr., whose fumble was picked up by Argos linebacker Henoc Muamba.

Muamba walked over to Shaq Richardson, who returned the ball to the Hamilton 25-yard line before being taken off the ball by Evans. This prevented at least one more field goal attempt from Bede as Hamilton regained possession, allowing Evans to strike a knee to complete the half.

The score flattered Hamilton, whose offense failed throughout the first half and lost two fumbles.

Bede’s 47-yard field goal at 8:44 of the second quarter gave Toronto a 9-0 advantage.

Toronto controlled the first quarter, twice leading inside Hamilton’s five-yard line. But both times, the long, smart workouts stalled, forcing the Argos to settle for goals from Bede’s field at 10 and 11 yards at 6:31 and 12:55, respectively.

Hamilton drove to the Toronto 16-yard line, but Cordarro Law forced Masoli to fumble, and Chris Edwards recovered to end a nine-game, 59-yard walk for the Ticates.


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