HAMILTON — Toronto Argonauts slotback Andre Durie joked a bit about four Noel Prefontaine field goals the offence was not able to turn into touchdowns in last Saturday’s win over Calary. Toronto relied on six goals from Prefontaine in total, including the game-winner in the last five seconds, to win 39-36.
“It could have been a 60-point game,” Durie said with a nervous laugh.
“I don’t know what Andre is talking about,” head coach Scott Milanovich responded earlier in practice this week. “Every [play between the second and third quarter last Saturday] seemed to be second and 10.”
The ineffectiveness bothered the coach deeply, and he even scolded his offence after perceived poor performances in practices.
“We’ve got to be better,” Milanovich said.
The Argos were not Saturday night inside Ivor Wynne Stadium, and had to settle for five field goal attempts to try to overcome a 21-0 Hamilton lead by the second quarter. Toronto pulled within two points of the Ticats before a 75-yard drive in the fourth quarter, powered by two runs from Hamilton quarterback Henry Burris (23 then 14 yards), led to a six-yard touchdown catch by receiver Bakari Grant to seal Hamilton’s first win of the season, 36-27.
Hamilton’s 29-13 at halftime lead, however, was almost completely constructed by 2011 rookie of the year, receiver Chris Williams.
Williams first caught a 34-yard touchdown, sneaking underneath defensive backs Ahmad Carroll and Patrick Watkins, with five minutes remaining in the first quarter. Then, though non-import slotback Andy Fantuz had his first Ticats touchdown pass 44 seconds into the second period, Williams made himself the star again with an 89-yard punt return for a touchdown to put Hamilton ahead 21-0.
A pair of Prefontaine field goals — from 15 then 37 yards — and a short touchdown run from backup quarterback Jarious Jackson pulled the Argos within eight points.
And Toronto controlled possession in the first half by almost six minutes (18:17 to 12:19), but, a week after Calgary returner Larry Taylor ran back a missed field goal 125 yards for a touchdown, Williams took 44-yard missed field by Prefontaine 119 yards to put Hamilton up by two touchdowns at halftime.
Williams had 266 combined yards by the midway point.
Hamilton’s lead never looked secure as Burris kept pressing a deep passing game to Williams and Fantuz, which did not produce.
Argos backup Anthony Alix replaced Prefontaine after halftime, kicked an 18-yard field goal, then missed from 24 yards in the third period as Argos quarterback Ricky Ray could not find a rhythm.
Boyd, who finished with 19 rushes for 168 yards, finally stormed into the end zone early in the fourth quarter, after a long return by Chad Owens set up the Argos inside Hamilton’s 40 yard line.
But, still, Ray could puncture the end zone, and an interception by Argos defensive back Evan McCullough early in fourth quarter led only to another Alix field goal to pull the score to 29-27.
Having last hit receiver Dontrelle Inman for two touchdown passes against Calgary last week, Ray, who finished 23 for 28 for 227 passing yards, tried to fit two long throws to Inman and Jason Barnes late, but the former was broken up by defensive back Matt Bucknor and the latter was intercepted by Carlos Thomas.
Burris completed only 12 of 27 passes for 181 yards, albeit with three touchdown passes, but his legs (48 rushing yards) were the difference on the game-winning drive.