WINNIPEG — It was only a pre-season game but Hamilton Tiger-Cats quarterback Henry Burris was a man on a mission Wednesday night as he led his new team to a 26-25 win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
He marched 81 yards on his first drive, setting the tone and carrying the ball himself for the touchdown.
He scrambled through coverage repeatedly and even tried to bust his way over the goal-line a second time for a touchdown, although that manoeuvre failed and ended in a penalty with Burris settling for a field goal on the drive.
Burris, who just turned 37, joined the Ticats after the Calgary Stampeders replaced him last season as a starter.
The Bombers and Ticats gave their starting lineups playing time in the early part of the game but the Bombers didn’t look as sharp.
Quarterback Buck Pierce went two and out and was sacked on his first attempt to score, while Winnipeg fell just short after rallying from a 26-15 deficit at the end of the third quarter.
The first quarter ended 10-0 for Hamilton, and Winnipeg coach Paul LaPolice threw in his second-team defence in the second quarter.
Bombers kicker Justin Palardy hit a post on a 30-yard field goal attempt to start the second.
Eric Wilbur didn’t have any more luck and a 29-yard attempt went wide near the end of the second.
Pierce finally connected with Kito Poblah with a 57-yard pass to set up a short yardage situation that backup quarterback Alex Brink turned into a one-yard touchdown before the quarter ended.
The Bombers sorely missed last year’s sack leader Odell Willis as Burris repeatedly ran through open coverage.
Josh Maveety kicked three field goals for the Ticats and Luca Congi had another.
Hamilton backup quarterback Quinton Porter took over from Burris and added another touchdown in the third with a 29-yard pass to Aaron Kelly.
Then Brink, who took over from Pierce, hooked up a 14-yard pass to receiver Doug Pierce for the Bombers second touchdown of the game.
Palardy added a field goal for the Bombers in the fourth before Joey Elliott, who replaced yet another Bomber quarterback, Justin Goltz, hit Kurt Adams for a touchdown.
But the Bombers missed on the ensuing two-point convert attempt.
Wilbur went wide on a 38-yard field goal attempt that could have given the Bombers the win in the final seconds.