Tiger-Cats host Lions in Bo Levi Mitchell’s home debut

Seven weeks after the Hamilton Tiger-Cats handed the B.C. Lions their first loss at home this season the two teams will square off Friday night at Tim Hortons Field.

Hamilton (8-8) blasted the Lions 30-13 on Aug. 26 at B.C. Place Stadium in what remains one of the Ticats’ most efficient games of the Canadian Football League season.

The Friday the 13th clash will be broadcast on CHML radio, starting with the Pregame Show at 6 p.m. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. Fans can catch The 5th Quarter postgame show 30 minutes after the final whistle.

The game will also mark the first time during the 2023 regular season in which quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell will play in front of the hometown crowd.

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“Finally,” said an excited Mitchell on Thursday as he reflected on his injury-plagued season including an abductor injury and broken leg limiting him to just four starts this year.

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“Just been waiting for this moment for a long time and excited to get it going,” said Mitchell. “Obviously, there is a bigger team focus than that. Just go out there and play as good as I can on every single play and execute and win.”

Mitchell started for Hamilton last week and played for just over a quarter in the Cats’ 38-13 victory in Saskatchewan. He completed four of his six pass attempts for 129 yards and a touchdown.

A win by Hamilton would keep their hopes alive of hosting the East Division Semifinal, although a victory by Montreal against Edmonton on Saturday would quash that possibility.

Recently acquired receivers Derel Walker and Hergy Mayala are both expected to suit up for the first time with Hamilton.

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“He’s been awesome,” said Ticats head coach Orlondo Steinauer when asked about what Walker has brought to the team. “He just leads by example. He’s been taking notes just like he’s a rookie. It’s been great so far.”

The 32-year-old Walker, the CFL’s rookie of the year in 2015, will make his Tiger-Cats debut in place of injured receiver Omar Bayless who hailed in his first two CFL touchdowns last week.

Walker started this season with Saskatchewan but had spent most of his time on the injured list before being released.

Mayala will replace injured Canadian running back Sean Thomas Erlington, who also scored a TD last week against the Roughriders.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats

B.C. defensive end Mathieu Betts is one quarterback sack away from equaling the CFL record for most sacks in a season by a Canadian.

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The record of 17 is shared by Lions icon Brent Johnson, who set the new bar back in 2005 and is shared by former Winnipeg defensive lineman Jamaal Westerman in 2015. B.C.’s James ‘Quick’ Parker holds the league record for most sacks in a CFL season with 26.5 in 1984.

Both the Ticats and Lions (11-5) have won four of their last five games, however, the Lions have lost their last three games in Hamilton. They last won at Tim Hortons Field in 2017.

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