Tre Ford and Edmonton Elks win 29-25 over Tiger-Cats in Hamilton

Tre Ford was in his happy place Friday in Hamilton.

The Edmonton Elks quarterback got a win in his first career CFL start 30 minutes down the Queen Elizabeth Highway from his hometown of Niagara Falls, Ont.

The Elks came from behind to beat the Tiger-Cats 29-25 in front of 20,233 at Tim Hortons Field.

“To come back to Hamilton and have all my family watching me get that first start and that first win has been fantastic,” Ford said.

Among Ford’s supporters were his wife, parents, sister, sister-in-law and mother-in-law, his high school football coach from A.N. Myer Secondary, his University of Waterloo head coach Chris Bertoia, eight of his former university teammates and more friends.

Story continues below advertisement

Ford was shaky at times as the Elks trailed by 13 points early in the second half.

But the 2021 winner of the Hec Crighton Trophy winner that goes to the most outstanding Canadian university football player threw a game-tying touchdown pass to Kenny Lawler early in the fourth quarter.

The winning play for the Elks (1-3) arrived with 1:38 remaining when defensive back Scott Hutter tackled Hamilton quarterback Dane Evans and knocked the ball loose.

Jalen Collins recovered for a 14-yard touchdown.

“I saw him tackle him and thought, ‘please punch the ball out,” Collins said.

“All we needed was an opportunity to close the game out. We were fighting all night. It was ugly.”

Hamilton Tiger Cats wide receiver Papi White (4) cannot catch Edmonton Elks defensive back Jalen Collins (33) who runs the ball into the end zone after recovering a fumble by Hamilton Tiger Cats quarterback Dane Evans (9) late in the fourth quarter of CFL football game action in Hamilton, Ont., Friday, July 1, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power

The winless Tiger-Cats opened a season with four straight losses for the first time since 2017 when they started 0-8.

Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: Edmonton Elks’ game against Hamilton Tiger-Cats to be battle between struggling CFL clubs

“I want to apologize to all the guys. I put both home losses on me,” Evans said. “I just have to take care of it, and we win the game.”

Evans was 20-for-31 in passing for 197 yards and a touchdown throw. He was intercepted twice.

Ford’s numbers didn’t sparkle, although he did rush for 61 yards on six carries. The 24-year-old competed 15 of 26 passes for 159 yards and a touchdown. He was intercepted once.

Edmonton Elks wide receiver Derel Walker (87) dives for yardage after being tackled by Hamilton Tiger Cats defensive back Richard Leonard (23) during first half CFL football game action in Hamilton, Ont. on July 1, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power

Edmonton’s defence helped out with interceptions by Sheldon Brady and Matthew Thomas, as well as the pivotal late-game recovered fumble by Collins.

“A big shout out to the defence,” Ford said. “They won us that game. They made what, three or four turnovers? They did super well.

Story continues below advertisement

“I have room for improvement. I’m not going to complain because we did win. But I’m going to hit the film room to see what I can critique and where I can get better.”

READ MORE: Canadian QB Tre Ford starts for Edmonton Elks on Canada Day in Hamilton

Hamilton went after the rookie with various blitzes in the first half.

“My legs are going to open things up for my arm,” Ford said.

Ford credited teammate and quarterback Nick Arbuckle, who started in Edmonton’s three losses this season, for advising him during the game on defensive reads.

“He’s been like that since Day 1, even though we’re competitors for the position,” Ford said.

He admitted to early jitters as Hamilton led 16-6 after the first quarter and 19-9 at halftime.

Story continues below advertisement

“I always get nervous for the first play of every game,” Ford said. “I think it’s a good thing because it means I care and that I want to win.”

Evans hit Steven Dunbar for a 21-yard strike, and Lawrence Woods returned a kickoff of 72 yards for Hamilton’s first-half touchdowns.

Edmonton Elks running back Sherman Badie (28) fends off Hamilton Tiger Cats linebacker Simoni Lawrence (21) during first half CFL football game action in Hamilton, Ont. on July 1, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power

Edmonton’s Kai Locksley scored on a one-yard plunge.

Elks kicker Sergio Castillo made two of his three field-goal attempts, while Hamilton counterpart Michael Domagala nailed his three and gave the Ticats at lead with a 33-yarder with 3:10 remaining in the game

“We’re not good enough right now,” Hamilton head coach Orlondo Steinauer said. “We’re not executing at the level which needs to happen. We’re just not making those plays we need to make.”

Story continues below advertisement

Hamilton Tiger Cats defensive back Lawrence Woods (37) isn tackled by Edmonton Elks defensive back Mike Dubuisson (29)and Ante Milanovic-Litre (34) during first half CFL football game action in Hamilton, Ont. on July 1, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power

© 2022 The Canadian Press

View original article here Source