Former Ticats quarterback Dane Evans engineered a last minute drive that set up a 48-yard, walk off field goal by kicker Sean Whyte as the B.C. Lions edged the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 33-30 Friday night.
With the loss, Hamilton fell to 8-9 on the season and means the Ticats will finish in third place in the Canadian Football League‘s East Division and will visit Montreal in the first round of the playoffs.
Evans replaced an injured Vernon Adams Jr. with one minute to play and the game tied 30-30. He completed all four of his passes for 42 yards to set up Whyte’s game winner.
Ticats QB Bo Levi Mitchell started his first regular season game at Tim Hortons Field and completed 13-of-19 pass attempts for 135 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in front of an announced crowd of 23,891. Mitchell was replaced in the third quarter by Matthew Shiltz, who went 14-for-19 for 180 yards and a touchdown.
Whyte opened the scoring 11:58 into the contest when he booted a 46-yard field goal and the Lions made it 10-0 early in the second quarter when linebacker Josh Woods intercepted a screen pass by Mitchell and took it to Hamilton’s endzone for a 46-yard touchdown.
Mitchell redeemed himself on Hamilton’s next drive by engineering an eight play, 57-yard drive that ended with a five-yard touchdown toss to receiver Terry Godwin to pull the Cats to within three points of the Lions.
Adams and the Lions answered right back when he threw a five-yard touchdown to receiver Dominique Rhymes. The nine-play, 66-yard drive gave B.C. a 17-7 lead with 3:51 to play in the first half.
With 43 seconds remaining in the second quarter, Mitchell teamed up with receiver Tim White for an 11-yard TD before Whyte added his second field goal of the game from 36-yards away with no time left in the half.
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The Tiger-Cats took their first lead of the game midway through the third quarter when White hauled in his second touchdown of the game, a seven-yard score from Shiltz.
Whyte booted a 42-yard field goal about 90 seconds later but the Ticats regained a 24-23 lead late in the third stanza after Marc Liegghio’s 27-yard field goal, his first of the contest.
The see-saw scoring continued in the fourth quarter when Adams zipped a pass into the hands of Alexander Hollins for a five-yard TD and a 30-24 lead for B.C. and Liegghio drew the Ticats three points closer with a 30-yard field goal.
With the Lions threatening to get into the endzone again and extend their lead, Hamilton defensive back Dexter Lawson Jr. made a remarkable one-handed interception at the Ticats goal line. 11 plays later Liegghio kicked a 48-yard field goal to tie the game 30-30 with one minute to play.
60 seconds later, Whyte clinched the victory for the Lions (12-5) that keeps their hopes alive of finishing in first place in the West.
B.C.’s Mathieu Betts recorded one sack for his league leading 17th of the season. That tied a record shared by former B.C. defensive end Brent Johnson and Winnipeg’s Jamaal Westerman for most by a Canadian in a single season.
Adams completed 21 of his 30 pass attempts for 296 yards and two touchdowns as the Lions won for the first time in Hamilton since 2017.
The Tiger-Cats will now enjoy their final bye week of 2023 before they visit Montreal on Oct. 28 in their final game of the regular season.
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