Now that was a Labour Day Classic.
There is nothing like watching the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Toronto Argonauts going toe-to-toe on Labour Day, and cliches aside, the latest edition of the CFL’s greatest rivalry on Monday afternoon put the capital ‘C’ in Classic.
A record crowd at Tim Hortons Field of 25,093 fans witnessed one of the rowdiest, controversial, hard hitting and exciting Labour Day games in recent memory.
There was Earl ‘The Pearl’ Winfield’s 400 yard performance in the 1988 Labour Day game in which he scored a touchdown three different ways – receiving, punt return and kickoff return.
Remember the 2004 game? Troy Davis rushed for a Ticats single-game record 233 yards as Hamilton and Toronto tied 30-30, the only Labour Day that did not produce a winner.
And who could forget the first Labour Day game, the first game period, at Tim Hortons Field in 2014? Hamilton’s new stadium hadn’t even been completed but Ticats fans went home happy after a 13-12 win over the Argos – and a new era in Hamilton’s storied football history was born.
The Tiger-Cats’ 38-27 win over the Argonauts on Monday had just about everything.
A melee on the field in the first quarter resulted in the ejections of Ticats defensive backs Tunde Adeleke and Frankie Williams which forced Hamilton to fill those vacancies in the starting lineup. Fans voiced their displeasure with the officiating crew over that call – and several other perceived slights that were made against the hometown team.
The Ticats roared back from a 13 point deficit in the first half (they were trailing 24-11 in the second quarter) after dominating the second half – outscoring the visitors 27-3 after the break.
Quarterback Dane Evans was great on the game’s opening drive but looked out of place for the rest of the first half, and then put on a passing clinic in the third and fourth quarters. At one point, Evans completed 19 consecutive passes and finished with 442 passing yards.
Defensively, despite the two early ejections, the Cats rearranged the deck chairs and did not allow Toronto into the endzone over the last 21 minutes of the game.
Trudeau joins Hamilton, Ont., Labour Day parade, met with protests
The victory was Hamilton’s sixth consecutive win over Toronto on Labour Day, which had never been done before. And what’s a Labour Day game without a deafening ‘Argos Suck’ chant from the hometown crowd?
Yes, this Labour Day Classic had it all and then some.