Cole Watson’s touchdown catch earns Argos exhibition win over Ticats

Argonauts 30 Tiger-Cats 23

HAMILTON — Dakota Prukop’s 43-yard touchdown pass to Cole Watson in the fourth quarter led the Toronto Argonauts to a 30-23 exhibition win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Thursday night.

Watson’s circus catch capped an eight-play, 77-yard march at 7:08 and erased a 23-20 Hamilton advantage at Tim Hortons Field. The attendance wasn’t announced.

Donald De La Haye’s 16-yard field goal at 13:27 put Toronto (2-0) ahead 30-23. Frankie Williams’ 58-yard kickoff return put Hamilton (1-1) at the Argos’ 43-yard line with 1:22 remaining but Hayden Moore’s third-down completion was three yards short of a first down with 44 seconds to play, resulting in a turnover on downs.

Lirim Hajrullahu’s 43-yard field goal at 5:55 of the third put Hamilton ahead 23-20.

The contest was the final audition for Toronto and Hamilton players as CFL clubs must make their final roster cuts by 10 p.m. ET on Saturday.

Hamilton kicks off the ‘19 regular season hosting the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Thursday night. Toronto opens its campaign at BMO Field against the Ticats on June 22.

McLeod Bethel-Thompson started for Toronto as incumbent James Franklin didn’t dress. Bethel-Thompson was sharp, completing 11-of-17 passes for 222 yards and a TD in the first half, playing all but two snaps — taken by Canadian rookie Michael O’Connor — before Brandon Bridge of Mississauga, Ont., opened the third.

Bridge was 4-of-8 passing for 40 yards with an interception as Prukop started the fourth.

Jeremiah Masoli started for Hamilton in his first exhibition action. The East Division’s outstanding player last season was 17-of-26 passing for 154 yards and a TD while scoring another in the first half. Backup Dane Evans started the third and completed 8-of-11 passes for 87 yards before Moore took over in the fourth.

Bralon Addison had Hamilton’s other touchdown. Hajrullahu booted the converts and three field goals.

James Wilder Jr., and Derel Walker scored Toronto’s touchdowns. Zack Medeiros kicked a convert, Drew Brown added two field goals and De La Haye had a single.

Brown’s 12-yard field goal at 14:14 of the second made it 20-20 at halftime. It came after Bethel-Thompson’s 75-yard TD strike to Walker at 12:52.

Hamilton converted two Toronto turnovers into 10 points for a 20-11 lead. Hajrullahu hit a 26-yard field goal at 12:43, set up by Curtis Newton’s recovery of a fumbled kickoff return at Toronto 34-yard line.

Masoli’s one-yard run at 10:25 came after Richard Leonard intercepted O’Connor to put Hamilton at the Toronto 31-yard line. Hajrullahu’s 10-yard field goal at 6:50 pulled the Ticats to within 11-10 after De La Haye missed from 41 yards out for the single.

Wilder Jr., put Toronto ahead 10-7 with a three-yard TD run at 14:50. It came after Brown connected from 19 yards out at 9:59.

Masoli’s 11-yard TD strike to Addison at 3:17 capped a 10-play, 70-yard drive to start the contest.

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