Hamilton Tiger-Cats edge Ottawa REDBLACKS in close preseason battle

OTTAWA — The second week of the 2019 pre-season came to an exciting close as the Hamilton Tiger-Cats came out on top against the Ottawa REDBLACKS in a tightly contested 25-21 battle. After entering the second half tied up at 11 apiece, the Ticats stepped up and found a way to get the victory after touchdown strikes from quarterback Hayden Moore ultimately made the difference.

Dane Evans got the start at quarterback for Hamilton and led the way in the first half by putting together multiple scoring drives and completing 11 of 14 passes for 96 yards. Evans found the end zone on a one-yard rushing touchdown. Moore commanded the offence in the second half and executed impressive throws in his CFL debut, finishing with two touchdown passes and 176 yards on 15 completions.

Dominique Davis and Jonathon Jennings shared duties at quarterback for Ottawa in the first half, with both pivots seeing significant playing time. Davis completed five of seven pass attempts for 118 yards, while Jennings finished his REDBLACKS debut with four completions on eight attempts for 75 yards. Danny Collins and William Arndt also saw action at quarterback for Ottawa down the stretch.

REDBLACKS receiver Caleb Holley made his big-play presence known with 120 yards on just three catches, while kicker Lewis Ward continued his solid play by making all three of his field goal attempts. DeVonte Dedmon also chipped in on s

Dominique Davis stood tall in the pocket and took advantage of a broken coverage on the opening play of the game, throwing a dart to Holley for a 62-yard pickup. Ottawa turned the big gain into an early three point lead after Ward knocked a 23-yard kick through the uprights.

Running back Sean Thomas-Erlington got the start in the backfield for the Ticats and looked strong on Hamilton’s opening offensive possession. The 26-year-old used his receiving and running skills to put his team in position to cut into the early lead with a single point on a 62-yard punt from Michael Domagala.

Evans got the start at quarterback for Hamilton while projected starter Jeremiah Masoli sat out. The 25-year-old passer looked sharp early on in the opening quarter, and he put the Ticats in scoring position by stretching the field with a deep ball to receiver Josh Crockett that drew a pass interference penalty. Evans finished the drive off himself with a one-yard rushing touchdown, and Domagala added the extra point to give Hamilton an 8-3 lead. Evans completed eight of his first nine passes for 78 yards.

REDBLACKS receiver R.J. Shelton was forced to leave the game after suffering an injury while returning the ensuing kickoff. Shelton fumbled on the play and the Ticats recovered the ball to grab solid field position, but Evans and the offence were unable to find an answer for Ottawa’s stout goal line defence.

Davis and the REDBLACKS took over on offence and quickly made their way down the field as the first quarter came to a close. Davis displayed both standout arm strength and accuracy as he connected with multiple receivers to put Ward in range for a 27-yard field goal, cutting Hamilton’s lead down to two points.

The Ticats quickly answered back and added to their lead as Evans led an efficient drive that was capped off by a successful 42-yard field goal from Domagala.

Jennings came in at quarterback for the REDBLACKS in the second quarter, marking his first appearance with his new team.

Evans remained under centre for the Ticats to start the second quarter and was sacked by defensive lineman Shaneil Jenkins for a safety, bringing Ottawa back within three points.

Jennings’ first notable play as a REDBLACK came on a 39-yard pass to Holley. Jennings showed tremendous touch as he placed the ball over Holley’s shoulder in stride for the big gain. The play allowed Ottawa to tie the game with an 11-yard field from Ward goal before halftime.

Moore took over for the Ticats at quarterback as the second half got underway, while Danny Collins took over under centre for Ottawa.

Moore helped Hamilton regain the lead in the third quarter after he hit Crockett with a tight throw in the end zone for a 17-yard touchdown, but the REDBLACKS responded right away with an incredible 100-yard kickoff return touchdown from Dedmon. The 23-year-old speedster found space on the left side of the field and took off for the long score to help make it an 18-18 game.

But Moore used his arm to give the Ticats the lead once again, as he threw an accurate 34-yard pass to Marcus Tucker in the end zone for a key touchdown before the end of the third quarter. Domagala added the convert to give Hamilton a 25-18 lead entering the final frame.

REDBLACKS kicker Jose Maltos added a 38-yard field goal to help shrink Hamilton’s lead down to four points in the fourth quarter. William Arndt came in at quarterback for the REDBLACKS to finish the game, but the young passer was quickly intercepted by Ticats defensive back Kevin Richardson.

Ottawa added an interception of their own near the end of the game when a throw from Moore ended up in the hands of defensive back Troy Stoudermire, but the Ticats stood strong on defence to hold on for their first pre-season victory.

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