Brandon Banks scored twice in the fourth quarter as the Toronto Argonauts clinched a 28-8 Labor Day victory over the Hamilton Tiger Cats on a foggy Monday afternoon.
Banks, in his first year with Toronto after playing eight seasons with Hamilton, capped a double reverse at 3:33 to silence Tim Hortons Field’s pool of 25,266, a record for a Tactics game at the venue.
The TD came after Toronto quarterback Henok Mwamba shortstopped quarterback Jalen Morton in a gamble for third on Hamilton’s 27-yard streak.
Toronto’s McLeod Bethel-Thompson hit Banks in a 27-yard TD strike at 7:55 to put Toronto ahead 25-8. This came right after Jamal Peters’ second interception for the game.
Peters has had five interceptions in Toronto’s last two games against Toronto. He had three picks – one back for TD – in Argos’ 37-20 home win on August 26.
Banks finished with two catches for 80 yards.
Toronto (6-5) took their first Labor Day win over the Techats since 2012 and handed Hamilton their first-ever Labor Day loss at Tim Hortons Field (7-1). Argos also won the season series 3-1.
More importantly, Toronto is four points ahead of second-placed Montreal (4-7) in the Eastern Conference standings. Hamilton (3-9) is still tied to Ottawa (3-8).
But Toronto was the beneficiary of Hamilton’s non-existent offense as the Ticats points came from intercepting a TD return and a single punt.
With veteran Dane Evans (shoulder) sick, rookie Jimmy Newman starts his CFL debut. The results were expected as Newman completed 14 of 25 passes for 172 yards and an interception, leaving in the third before returning late in the fourth.
Morton had a 2-of-6 pass for 13 yards and an interception.
Bethel-Thompson took his first Labor Day win on his third attempt. He finished 22 of 34 passes for 298 yards with two touchdowns and interceptions.
Field goal Boris Bede put 23 yards in at 13:01 from the third goal Toronto led 11-8.
Marquith Ambles had another landing in Toronto. Pedi fired two field targets, three convertibles, and one target.
Jomal Roll scored Hamilton’s goal. Seth Small kicked the diversion while Michael Domagala added one song.
Roll gave the biggest display in the first half to lead Hamilton to an 8-8 draw. A Bethel-Thompson high pass to Damonte Coxie from the hands of an Argo receiver to Rolle, who returned his first pick of the year 86 yards for TD in 3:44 of a second.
Toronto threatened to take a first-half advantage when Hamilton’s Richard Leonard was reported to interfere with Corley Jettens Jr., giving Argos the ball at the Ticats 26-yard line 13 seconds left. But Hamilton’s coach Orlondo Steinauer successfully challenged the penalty and the match went unfinished.
Otherwise, it was an otherwise dismal half as Toronto managed 173 attacking yards, compared to Hamilton’s 119 yards. Bethel-Thompson had 10 of 17 passes for 160 yards with a TD and two interceptions while Newman completed 6 of 12 passes for 58 yards and a pick.
Domagala and John Haggerty of Toronto were busy with six and five balls, respectively.
Domagala cut Toronto’s lead to 7-1 with a 67-yard penalty in the wind at 9:10 before Bede squandered a 43-yard field goal at 13:51 giving Argos an 8-1 advantage.
Bethel-Thompson found Ambles on a 26-yard TD hit to open the scoring in 5:12. A play came after Bethel-Thompson hit Banks wide open at 53 yards.