Hamilton Tiger-Cats defensive end Adrian Tracy (5) dives over B.C. Lions quarterback Travis Lulay (14) to recover a fumbled during first half CFL Football division semifinal game action in Hamilton, Ont. on Sunday, November 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power

Ticats destroy Lions 48-8 in CFL East Division semifinal

Wally Buono’s last game as B.C. coach ends in disappointment

HAMILTON — Jeremiah Masoli threw three first-half TDs to lead the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to a lopsided 48-8 East Division semifinal win over the B.C. Lions on Sunday afternoon.

Hamilton advances to the East Division final next Sunday against Ottawa at TD Place. The Redblacks swept the regular-season series 3-0.

Masoli, the East Division nominee for the CFL’s outstanding player award, helped Hamilton emphatically snap a three-game losing streak. The Ticats were the last team to reach the East final after losing their final three regular-season games, doing so in 2015.

Masoli finished 14-of-19 passes for 259 yards and three TDs before giving way to Dane Evans in the fourth.

B.C. reached the East Division playoffs as a crossover team after finishing fourth in the West with a 9-9 record. But the Lions ended their season with three straight losses, an unceremonious end to head coach Wally Buono’s illustrious CFL career.

The 40-point playoff loss was also the worst in Lions’ history. No crossover team has reached the Grey Cup since the rule was adopted in 1996.

Hamilton’s Frankie Williams ended B.C. starter Travis Lulay’s day with a 39-yard interception return TD at 9:22 of the third. After completing 8-of-17 passes for 103 yards with a pick and lost fumble, Lulay was replaced by Jonathon Jennings on the Lions’ next possession.

B.C. drove to the Hamilton one-yard line late in the third but Tyrell Sutton couldn’t handle a high snap. Ticats linebacker Simoni Lawrence recovered and returned the ball to the Lions’ one-yard line, where Evans scored to put the home side up 44-0 at 13:55.

The Lions finally broke Hamilton’s shutout bid with Jennings’ 30-yard TD pass to Shaq Johnson at 2:15 of the fourth. Jennings then found Bryan Burnham for the two-point convert.

Retired wrestler Ric Flair whipped the announced Tim Hortons Field sellout of 23,911 into a frenzy by leading the pre-game Oskee-Wee-Wee chant.

The first half looked much like the first two quarters of Hamilton’s 40-10 home win over B.C. on Sept. 29. The Ticats had a 28-0 half-time lead Sunday after leading 30-3 advantage at the half back in September.

Hamilton opened with three straight touchdown drives, the first time any team had done so in a CFL playoff game since the Ticats on Nov. 17, 1985 in a 50-26 win over Montreal.

Masoli opened with 10 straight completions for 177 yards and two TDs and finished 13-of-16 in the first half for 245 yards and three touchdowns. Masoli had 189 passing yards on 18-of-26 attempts for three TDs in the September victory.

Youngster Bralon Addison had an outstanding first half, registering five catches for 124 yards while Luke Tasker caught two of Masoli’s TD strikes. Hamilton had 305 net offensive yards through two quarters.

Masoli and Co. had every answer for a B.C. defence that finished tied for the CFL lead in sacks (45) and interceptions (21). But the Lions were a dismal 2-7 on the road this season.

The game was halted at approximately 11 a.m. for a moment of silence to commemorate Remembrance Day. The CFL also honoured veterans during the pre-game coin toss and were scheduled to do the same before the Winnipeg-Saskatchewan West Division final in Regina later Sunday.

In addition, players sported poppy decals on their helmets.

RELATED: ‘Losing is something I’ve never gotten used to’: coaching great Wally Buono

Kevin Palmer and Sean Thomas Erlington also had touchdowns for Hamilton. Lirim Hajrullahu booted six converts, a field goal and single. The remaining points came on a safety.

Tasker gave Hamilton its 28-0 half-time lead after hauling in Masoli’s 25-yard touchdown pass at 10:48 of the second. About the only thing to go wrong for the Ticats in the first half was Hajrullahu missing a 39-yard field boot on the half’s final play.

B.C.’s offence mustered just 101 total yards and had the ball for just over 10 minutes in the opening half. Lulay, making his first playoff start since the ‘13 West semifinal, was 6-of-12 passing for 84 yards.

Masoli hit Thomas Erlington on a nine-yard TD pass at 3:11 of the second to put Hamilton ahead 21-0. It came after Long missed a 41-yard field goal try.

Hamilton opening against the 15-kilometre-an-hour wind but led 14-0 before the contest was 10 minutes old. The Ticats opened with a nine-play, 90-yard scoring drive that Palmer capped at 6:20 of the first, recovering Evans’ fumble on third-and-one in the end zone.

Then after Adrian Tracy recovered Lulay’s fumble at the B.C. 42 on the Lions’ first play from scrimmage, Masoli found Tasker on a 14-yard TD strike at 9:34.

THE CANADIAN PRESS

CFL

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

B.C. Lions quarterback Travis Lulay (14) is pressured by Hamilton Tiger-Cats linebacker Simoni Lawrence (21) during first half CFL Football division semifinal game action in Hamilton, Ont. on Sunday, November 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power

Just Posted

BC SPCA team helps discover new feline virus after outbreak at Quesnel shelter

Fechavirus is a kind of parvovirus, which makes cats and kittens very sick

COVID-19 highlights lack of connectivity in First Nations communities

Many don’t have access required to utilize online platforms, says First Nations Technology Council

Commercial salmon fisheries delayed for Bella Coola area

DFO notice says Area C gill net fisheries in Area 8 have been delayed until June 15

Pacific Coastal won’t open until community is ready

The company has suspended operations until further notice

George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy

Death sparked a wave of protests across the U.S. and abroad

COVID-19: B.C. commercial landlords can’t evict if they decline rent assistance

Emergency order ‘incentive’ for federal program, Carole James says

Investigators probe death of CN employee at Surrey rail yard

Transportation Safety Board is investigating an ‘occurrence that took place during switching operations’

Trans Mountain starts B.C. leg of pipeline twinning project

Mostly finished in Alberta, Burnaby terminal expanding

NDP getting COVID-19 wage subsidy ‘indirectly,’ B.C. Liberal leader says

Andrew Wilkinson says he’s heard no concerns from public

Love flourishes at Peace Arch Park, but COVID-19 concerns loom

South Surrey park becomes only place for international couples to meet

Most Read