Cats claw Blue Bombers for first victory on the road

WINNIPEG – The Hamilton Tiger-Cats have clawed their first victory on the road for the 2006 CFL season. The Tiger-Cats came out on the winning end of a 26-11 score in Winnipeg. It was the first time they had won an away game since October 30, 2004.

Josh Ranek ran for 164 yards and caught four passes for 69 more to lead the offence while Hamilton’s defence only yielded 153 yards to the Bombers.

The Blue Bombers struck first when quarterback Kevin Glenn hit Andrae Thurman in the end zone from 15 yards out, giving the locals an early seven-point advantage. Glenn was forced to leave the game on his team’s next possession when Ticats safety Wayne Shaw drilled the Winnipeg pivot. Glenn would return briefly in the late stages of the first quarter but would watch the game from the sidelines as a spectator for the final 45 minutes.

After Winnipeg added a single on a Troy Westwood punt, Jason Maas and Brock Ralph teamed up to get the Ticats back in the game. Maas capped off a long drive when he found Ralph in the end zone to make the count 8-7 in favour of the Blue and Gold.

Pat Fleming would add a point on a punt to open the second quarter’s scoring and Josh Ranek followed that up with a 37-yard receiving touchdown to give the Tiger-Cats their first lead at 15-8.

Brad Banks and Russ Michna took turns leading the Blue and Gold’s offensive unit as Bombers QB Kevin Glenn wouldn’t see any more action in the half.

With just under four minutes left in the first half, the Ticats conceded a safety a few plays after Westwood perfectly placed a punt on the Black and Gold’s one-yard line. After the home side’s defence prevented the Ticats from escaping their own end, Hamilton’s defence stepped up immediately. Tim Cheatwood took advantage of a Bombers miscue, pouncing on a snap bobbled by QB Russ Michna to put the Ticats in great position to add to their lead. Jamie Boreham – an emergency fill-in for injured kicker Mark Myers – split the uprights from 11 yards out to put the Ticats up 18-10.

The third quarter was dominated by defense with each team adding only a single point to their totals. The most eventful play of the quarter came on a controversial call where Corey Holmes fumbled the ball toward the sidelines. Television replays seemed to indicate Holmes last touched the ball, but an on-field official ruled the Bombers knocked it out of bounds. The Ticats challenged the play, but their challenge went unfulfilled because of a technical difficulty. Fortunately for the Black and Gold, Winnipeg could only muster a missed field goal on the ensuing possession.

Hamilton’s defence showed no signs of letting up in the fourth quarter as Airabin Justin picked off a Brad Banks pass on the first play of the final frame.

With a little under eight minutes to go and Josh Ranek tearing up the Bombers’ defence, the Ticats added to their lead when Julian Radlein plunged into the end zone from the one-yard line to bolster the visitors’ advantage to 26-11.

Ticats QB Jason Maas finished the game with 170 yards passing and two touchdowns.

With the win, Hamilton sits tied at the bottom with Toronto in the Eastern Conference. Last place will be decided next Saturday, August 12, when Hamilton play the Agros at Ivor Wynne.