Rick Zamperin: Hamilton Tiger-Cats must beware the trap game

Hamilton Tiger-Cats' defensive back Richard Leonard, centre, runs back his interception in the final minute against the BC Lions during second half CFL football game action in Hamilton, Ontario on Saturday, August 10, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jon Blacker

The message that should be running through the mind of every Hamilton Tiger-Cats player and coach this weekend should be ‘don’t let your guard down.’

Orlondo Steinauer has done a wonderful job in his first go-’round as a head coach in the Canadian Football League, maneuvering past significant injuries to key players like quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, dealing with a two-game suspension to star linebacker Simoni Lawrence, and keeping his troops focused on the next snap as opposed to all the noise that goes with being a professional football player.

Steinauer’s guidance is a big reason why Hamilton enters Week 11 of the CFL season with a 7-2 record and a commanding six point lead for top spot in the East Division.

READ MORE: Hamilton Tiger-Cats rough up Redblacks in Ottawa

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But the Ticats can’t let their guard down Saturday night in Vancouver when they tangle with the last-place B.C. Lions.

It’s the epitome of a trap game, a contest Hamilton should win against a 1-8 opponent that has struggled mightily in 2019.

While the Cats are motivated to pad their division lead and continue to pile up victories, the truth of the matter is that they’re not only playing a downtrodden team they are also on the road, travelling across the country, and will be going on their bye week after the game in advance of the Labour Day Classic on Sept. 2.

That’s a handful of challenges and distractions to deal with.

READ MORE: Rick Zamperin: Ticats are winning but jury is still out on QB Dane Evans

Despite their dismal record, the Lions are also a motivated club.

B.C. is eight points out of a playoff spot heading into this week, they are searching for their first home win of the season (0-3 at home), and they blew a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter against Hamilton in their previous meeting this season.

The cherry on top is that B.C. Lions owner David Braley says he is ready to sell the franchise. He has made the claim in the past, but at 78 years old, Braley seems intent on getting a deal done.

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Those factors may give the Lions a boost on the field Saturday night, or some players may take it as another negative in what has been a write off of a regular season.

Either way, the Tiger-Cats have to remain focused and not get caught in the trap.

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