TORONTO — One major question mark from the Toronto Argonauts’ pre-season seems to have resolved itself — that’s the strength of the quarterbacks.
Ricky Ray, Trevor Harris and Mitchell Gale all threw touchdown passes for Toronto as the Argos romped to a 41-23 victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Thursday, the CFL pre-season finale for both teams.
Ray, the Argos’ star QB who set a CFL single-season completion record last year, played less than a quarter but was solid in his first game action this season.
“I felt I was able to see things the way I wanted to,” Ray said. “Last year I played an even shorter period of time (in the pre-season). I feel like things were pretty smooth for the most part, I felt like the speed of the game wasn’t something I had to adjust to, so that was good. I feel ready to go.”
Ray completed seven of nine pass attempts for 90 yards and a touchdown. Harris was 8-for-16 for 86 yards, one touchdown and an interception, while Gale was 10-for-11 for 131 yards and one TD.
The game, played in front of a capacity crowd of 5,216 fans at a sun-drenched Varsity Stadium — normally the home to the University of Toronto Varsity Blues — marked the first meeting between the two teams since the Tiger-Cats ended the Argos’ 2013 season, with a 36-24 Eastern final victory.
It was also the first time Ray and his Argos understudy last season Zach Collaros had faced each other since Collaros was released then signed as a free agent with Hamilton in the off-season.
Collaros, the Tiger-Cats’ most significant off-season acquisition, completed 13 of 18 passes and threw for 196 yards and one touchdown.
“It’s tough not having him here, he’s a good guy, good player,” Ray said of his former teammte. “But it’s also exciting to see him get his chance and play. He played really well tonight and I think he’s going to have a great year.”
Ray missed eight games last season to injury so having a competent quarterback behind him will be important. Harris appears ready to step into that role, with Gale and Casey Pachall waiting in the wings.
The roster deadline for CFL teams is 11:59 p.m. on Saturday.
“It’s hard at this point, we’ll have to go back home and watch the film but some guys certainly stepped up and did what they needed to do,” said Argos coach Scott Milanovich. “So we’ll have to see who those guys were and make some decisions (Friday) or Saturday.”
Milanovich was pleased with Gale, receiver Terrell Sinkfield, who caught five passes for 100 yards, running back Jeremiah Johnson, who scored on a 24-yard run, and the entire defensive line.
The Argos had a whopping nine sacks on the night.