The Hamilton Tiger-Cats are officially on the board.
The play of QB Dane Evans and kick returner Frankie Williams, as well as a stout defensive performance, guided the Tiger-Cats to a 27-10 victory over the Montreal Alouettes Friday night, securing Hamilton’s first win of the 2021 CFL season.
Starting in his first game since the Grey Cup in 2019, Evans threw for 183 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another 24 yards while completing 68 per cent of his pass attempts.
It wasn’t all roses for the Sanger, Texas native, as Evans was sacked six times by the Montreal (1-2) defence, a season high for a Ticats offensive line that remains a work in progress four weeks into the season.
Williams set the tone for the game when he returned the opening kickoff 49 yards to the Montreal 50-yard line and finished the night with 184 total return yards.
Four plays after kickoff, Hamilton (1-2) found the endzone when Evans heaved a pass to rookie receiver Steven Dunbar Jr., who made a highlight reel, over-the-shoulder catch, for a 30-yard score.
Alouettes quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. completed just 51 per cent of his passes against the Cats defence and was held to 171 passing yards.
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Adams threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Quan Bray in the second quarter to cut Hamilton’s lead to 10-7 but the Ticats took a 13-10 lead into halftime and never looked back.
After a scoreless third quarter in which rookie kicker Michael Domagala missed two field goals (37 and 50 yards) wide left, the Tiger-Cats put up 14 points in the final frame.
Williams intercepted Adams at the Montreal 53-yard line and returned the ball to the Als’ 14-yard line and four plays later Evans connected with Nikola Kalinic for a three-yard touchdown and a 20-10 lead.
Hamilton added another touchdown with 1:20 left in the game when running back Sean Thomas Erlington scampered into the endzone for a five-yard major.
It was Thomas Erlington’s first game at Percival Molson Stadium since he suffered a season-ending leg injury in Week 4 of the 2019 season.
The Tiger-Cats’ next game is the Labour Day Classic against the Toronto Argonauts on Sept. 6 at Tim Hortons Field.