Toronto Argonauts hosting Hamilton Tiger-Cats just four days after Labour Day contest

Nick Arbuckle and the Toronto Argonauts don't have time to dwell upon their Labour Day loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Toronto (2-2) hosts Hamilton (2-2) on Friday night at BMO Field. The two teams return to the field just four days after the Ticats' 32-19 Labour Day win over the Argos.

"It's never fun for your body to play again four days after you played," Arbuckle said Thursday during a videoconference. "But mentally you're able to be locked into the gameplan and have that extra fire in you to go out and get revenge on the loss you had.

"You're doing preparation but it's definitely a different kind of week. It's definitely better to play a rematch with the same opponent than trying to install a brand new gameplan against a new team four of five days after you played another team."

Hamilton registered touchdowns on offence, defence and special teams in securing a second straight win and seventh consecutive Labour Day victory at Tim Hortons Field. 

Hamilton quarterback Dane Evans was 21-of-29 passing for 248 yards and two TDs. Frankie Williams had a 67-yard punt return touchdown while linebacker Simoni Lawrence scored on a three-yard interception return.

"We played a good game Monday but I know offensively we still missed a couple of things," said Evans. "I know I missed a couple of throws that could've led to sustaining drives and potentially more points.

"I can promise you nobody thinks we've arrived, nobody thinks we did what we came here to do yet. We played good Monday but, don't get me wrong, we expect another tough game and I think our guys will be ready for it."

The contest was predictably a chippy one with 16 total penalties as Toronto was flagged nine times for 93 yards.

"Penalties we have to clean up, for sure," said Toronto head coach Ryan Dinwiddie. "Anytime you lose the turnover ratio we're going to lose the game and we know turnovers are costly.

"They're going to be a darn good special-teams unit but we've got to stop the big plays. You take away that punt return and pick-six, we're probably going to be in that game for the most part. We've got to clean up both those areas."

Dinwiddie said punting towards the sidelines could help Toronto's coverage teams. 

"We've got to keep the ball outside the hash, preferably outside the numbers," he said. "You can't have anything inside the hash, that's when you get the big returns.

""He (Williams) is best returner in the league. We have to make sure we do a good job of tackling, stay true to our lanes and make sure we're kicking the ball outside the numbers so we won't give him a big field."

Both teams will shuffle their roster for Friday's game.

Centre Philip Blake, safety Crezdon Butler and receivers Daniel Braverman, Damion Jeanpiere and Levi Noel are all out Friday for Toronto. So left guard Peter Dicastro will shift to centre and be replaced by Shane Richards while defensive Arjen Colquhoun and receivers Ricky Collins Jr. and Chandler Worthy return to the lineup.

Dinwiddie added veteran rush end Charleston Hughes (hamstring) will be a game-time decision.

For Hamilton, defensive back Ciante Evans, running back Don Jackson, defensive back Desmond Lawrence, and receiver Brandon Banks are all out. Banks was the CFL's outstanding player in 2019.

But of some solace to Dinwiddie is Toronto faces a known opponent on such a short week.

"The one thing that's easy is you don't have to do a ton of research again," he said. "We've got some things we can adjust in terms of what they did in our game. 

"I think after that game you have a little bit of a hangover where you're kind of licking your wounds a little bit . . . I feel like our guys are ready to go and understand the importance of this game and are looking forward to the opportunity to prove that's now how we play football like we did Monday."

Arbuckle completed 18-of-32 passes for 207 yards with a TD and two interceptions Monday. But he feels much of what ailed Toronto offensively can certainly be fixed.

"There were opportunities for us to keep drives alive, to score points," he said. "All we had to do was do the things that we've shown we know how to do in the first three games of the season. 

"For us, it's just being able to get back to playing our football, for me making the right decisions, the right reads, making accurate throws. We just have to make sure we can execute the things that we know how to do . . . and that will take care of itself."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 9, 2021.

Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press


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