Brandon Banks scores two fourth-quarter touchdowns in Labour Day return to Hamilton


Published September 5, 2022 at 5:43 pm

Brandon Banks scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns to earn the Toronto Argonauts a 28-8 Labour Day victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on a misty Monday afternoon.

Banks, in his first year with Toronto after playing eight seasons with Hamilton, capped a double-reverse at 3:33 to effectively silence the Tim Hortons Field gathering of 25,266, a record for a Ticats game at the venue.

The TD came after Toronto linebacker Henoc Muamba stopped quarterback Jalen Morton short on a third-down gamble at Hamilton’s 27-yard line.

Toronto starter McLeod Bethel-Thompson hit Banks on a 27-yard TD strike at 7:55 to put Toronto ahead 25-8. It came right after Jamal Peters’ second interception of the game.

Peters has five interceptions in Toronto’s last two games versus Toronto. He had three picks — one returned for a TD — in the Argos’ 37-20 home victory Aug. 26.

Banks finished with two catches for 80 yards.

Toronto (6-5) earned its first Labour Day victory over the Ticats since 2012 and handed Hamilton its first Labour Day loss ever at Tim Hortons Field (7-1). The Argos also won the season series 3-1.

More importantly, Toronto moved four points ahead of second-place Montreal (4-7) in the East Division standings. Hamilton (3-9) remains tied with Ottawa (3-8).

But Toronto was the beneficiary of a non-existent Hamilton offence as the Ticats’ points came off an interception return TD and punt single.

With veteran Dane Evans (shoulder) ailing, rookie Jamie Newman made his first CFL start. The results were predictable as Newman completed 14-of-25 passes for 172 yards and an interception, leaving in the third before returning late in the fourth.

Morton was 2-of-6 passing for 13 yards and an interception.

Bethel-Thompson earned his first career Labour Day victory on his third attempt. He finished 22-of-34 passing for 298 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Boris Bede’s 23-yard field goal at 13:01 of the third put Toronto ahead 11-8.

Markeith Ambles had Toronto’s other touchdown. Bede booted two field goals, three converts and a single.

Jumal Rolle scored Hamilton’s touchdown on an interception return. Seth Small kicked the convert while Michael Domagala added a single.

Rolle provided the biggest play of the opening half to pull Hamilton into an 8-8 halftime tie. Bethel-Thompson’s high pass to Damonte Coxie went off the Argo receiver’s hands to Rolle, who returned his first pick of the year 86 yards for the TD at 3:44 of the second.

Toronto threatened to take the halftime advantage when Hamilton’s Richard Leonard was flagged for interference on Kurleigh Gittens Jr., giving the Argos the ball at the Ticats 26-yard line with 13 seconds remaining. But Hamilton head coach Orlondo Steinauer successfully challenged the penalty and the play went as an incompletion.

Otherwise, it was an otherwise dismal half as Toronto managed 173 offensive yards, compared to 119 for Hamilton. Bethel-Thompson was 10-of-17 passing for 160 yards with a TD and two interceptions while Newman completed 6-of-12 attempts for 58 yards and a pick.

Domagala and John Haggerty of Toronto were busy with six and five punts, respectively.

Domagala cut Toronto’s lead to 7-1 with a 67-yard punt single in the wind at 9:10 before Bede’s missed 43-yard field goal at 13:51 gave the Argos an 8-1 advantage.

Bethel-Thompson found Ambles on a 26-yard TD strike to open the scoring at 5:12. It came a play after Bethel-Thompson hit a wide-open Banks on a 53-yard completion.

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