Saturday night the Hamilton Tiger-Cats showed off their quarterback depth in a close 25-21 win over the Ottawa RedBlacks at TD Place in what was the most entertaining game of the preseason so far.
Everyone knows that Jeremiah Masoli, without a doubt, is Hamilton’s starting pivot heading into the season but what stands behind him is relatively unknown. Dane Evans, heading into his third season with Hamilton, showed why the team was comfortable moving on without Johnny Manziel last summer and Hayden Moore showed some promise in the second half as well.
Evans looked poised and confident while completing 11 of his 14 first half passes for 96 yards but Hayden Moore went 15 of 22 for 176 yards, 2 scores and an interception in the second half. A product of the Cincinnati Bearcats, the same school as Zach Collaros, Moore led his team to its first bowl victory since 2012 with a win in the Military Bowl over Virginia Tech this past December. He owns the school’s single game passing record when he threw for 557 yards in a game against Memphis in 2015.
His 34-yard touchdown strike to Marcus Tucker was an absolute laser and if this performance is any indication, the Ticats may have solid quarterback on their hands.
Of course this game was dominated by backups but the Ottawa RedBlacks still need to figure out who their starting quarterback is. Dominique Davis completed 5 of his 7 pass attempts for 118 yards and may have the edge on Jonathon Jennings for the job. Former Saskatchewan Roughrider Caleb Holley led all receivers with 120 yards but 23-year old DeVonte Dedmon could have earned himself a job too with an electric 100-yard kick return for a touchdown.
Perhaps what I loved most about this game was the performance of a couple global players for the Ottawa RedBlacks. Jose Maltos looked like an experienced CFLer when he recovered nicely on a punt play by kicking on the run with his left foot following an errant snap. He added a 38 yard field goal on his only attempt as well.
And it was only a 12 yard catch but receiver Guillermo Villalobos had one of the highlights of the night with this grab..
It wasn’t all positive signs for Ottawa when it looked like rookie receiver RJ Shelton could have suffered a serious injury after going down with a non-contact injury.
If it’s an Achilles injury, that would make two players in two days. What gives?
The 2019 preseason wraps up on Friday before final cut down day on June 8th by 10 P.M. ET.