Canadian Football League

Sunday, June 12, 2005

First Canadian Football League Game In Halifax End In Tie

A scurl of bagpipes and a gentle rolling fog welcomed the CFL to the East Coast Saturday as the Toronto Argonauts renewed their bitter rivalry with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in a pre-season contest seen as a showcase for the league and for Halifax as a potential expansion site.
Hamilton Tiger-Cats Renard Cox, left, tackles Toronto Argonauts Robert Baker in CFL pre-season exhibition action in Halifax on Saturday. (CP/Andrew Vaughan) The defending Grey Cup champion Argos and the Ticats played to a 16-16 tie before a boisterous sellout crowd of over 11,000 at Huskies Stadium.
Although the game lacked the offensive fireworks the league is known for, the fans did get to see some big plays.
The Argo secondary provided the game's first touchdown when defensive back Jordan Younger ran a Danny McManus pass back 41-yards. It capped a less than stellar performance by the veteran Ticat pivot who was intercepted three times in just over a quarter of action.
"I put our offence in a hole and thankfully our defence was playing the way they did, they did an outstanding job," said McManus.
Argo Kicker Noel Prefontaine added two field goals and the defence held the Ticats to just 84 total yards in the first half as the Argos retired to the dressing room with a 13-0 lead.
Toronto appeared to have the contest under control late in the second half, but the Ticats were rescued by third string quarterback Ben Sankey who came off the bench to connect on a 51-yard pass and run play to running back Craig Yeast.
The score cut the deficit to three points with just over six minutes remaining.
Another Sankey-directed drive was capped by a 15-yard field goal from kicker Jamie Boreham, tying the game in the dying seconds.
The tilt dubbed "Touchdown Atlantic" was treated as a night-long party by the fans, many of whom sported the colours of their favourite team while banging thundersticks.
David Moorer of Chester, N.S. proudly wore his Argo jersey along with his sons, Justin, 13 and Colin 10.
"I've been an Argo fan ever since I can remember and I'm bringing up my boys the same way," said Moorer who was originally from Ontario.
He added that he would readily support a CFL franchise in the Nova Scotia capital although he might not know who to cheer for.
"I can't wait, except I'll be torn between who would be my favourite team between the Argos and Halifax," he chuckled.
The same couldn't be said of Kevin Simpson, who travelled to Halifax with his wife Rose from their home in Charlottetown, P.E.I.
"If Halifax were to get a team we'd probably come over a couple of times a year to catch a game, especially if Hamilton was playing," said Simpson a Hamilton native.
Despite not producing a winner, the game was a big hit with Halifax resident Anthony Vincer who said it was mission accomplished for the city.
"I hope that the people have served noticed that we should have a team," he said.
The atmosphere in the stadium wasn't lost on the players either, including veteran Argo defensive back Adrion Smith who picked up player of the game honours for two first half interceptions.
"They did their job," said Smith of the fans.
"Everything went according to plan as far as showcasing this game, the enthusiasm is there," he said.
Both teams were to return home Sunday.
Coaches Mike (Pinball) Clemons and Greg Marshall will have to pare their squads significantly by midnight Monday.


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