Argos pull out wild win over Ticats
TORONTO—Chad Owens and the Toronto Argonauts are heading into the CFL playoffs on the craziest of rolls.
Owens broke the CFL’s single-season all-purpose yards record, and Swayze Waters booted a 51-yard field goal with no time left, as the short-handed Argos—minus 11 regulars—rallied for a wild 43-40 win over Hamilton last night that eliminated the arch-rival Tiger-Cats from playoff contention.
But that didn’t deter the Argo subs, who surged to a stunning 20-3 first-quarter advantage before Waters’ game-winning boot brought the season-best Rogers Centre gathering of 27,283 to its feet on Fan Appreciation Night.
“When they scored to tie it up at the end, I knew we were going to have a chance so I went on the sidelines, hit a few into the net, and tried to prepare myself,” noted Waters.
“You have to prepare for that situation all the time because that’s why they have you here—to make kicks and win games,” he reasoned.
“But it doesn’t happen very often, so I was excited to be able to put it through the pipes . . . it gives us momentum heading into the playoffs.”
Toronto will host either Edmonton or Saskatchewan in the East Division semi-final Nov. 11.
Hamilton’s loss clinched a playoff berth for the Eskimos, who can finish third in the West by downing Calgary tonight and having the B.C. Lions beat the ’Riders tomorrow.
Should Edmonton lose or Saskatchewan win, the ’Riders will take third and the Eskimos will travel to Toronto in a cross-over semi-final and face their former starter in Ray.
The Esks were 2-0 this season against the Argos, who obtained Ray from Alberta last December.
“We’re playing better, there’s no doubt about that,” said Argos’ head coach Scott Milanovich. “I know offensively we’ve picked up the pace the last three weeks.
“I think we’ve got our confidence back,” he added. “If you have a great quarterback and some confidence, you’ve got a chance to win.”
Hamilton (6-12) continually shot itself in the foot against the Argos’ ‘B’ team, which played veteran Jarious Jackson and rookies Trevor Harris and Zach Collaros at quarterback in the contest, with Collaros’ 13-yard TD pass to Sammy Tranks putting the home team ahead 37-26 at 3:38 of the fourth.
Hamilton ends the season the CFL’s worst road team with a 1-8 record, and after a 3-2 start to the season went a dismal 3-10 the rest of the way.
Toronto beat Hamilton in three-of-four meetings this season, and Burris believes the Argos can make a lot of noise in the CFL playoffs.
“They’re a very good team and they’re going to make a run in the East,” he predicted. “They did exactly what they were supposed to do to get the win today.”