Medlock, Bombers pick up first win of season

Posted November 21st, 2018 by admin and filed in 长沙夜网
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HAMILTON – Until this season began, Justin Medlock was the only kicker Tim Hortons Field had ever known.

The 32-year-old was with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats when the stadium opened in September 2014 and navigated the infamous winds through the 2015 season, until he signed with Winnipeg in the off-season.

He returned Thursday night as a Blue Bomber, hitting four of his six field-goal attempts to give Winnipeg its first win of the season, a 28-24 victory over the Ticats.

ChangSha Night Net

Medlock made field goals from 25, 18, 38 and 47 yards out and missed twice, both from 51, in front of 23,846 former fans. He couldn’t hear the fan reaction to his return (a smattering of boos) because he wears ear plugs. And the winds were almost non-existent.

“A couple days out you can tell by the wind report, so I knew it was going to be a little calmer,” he said. “I mean, summer here isn’t too bad. It’s fall that’s the issue.”

Medlock’s replacement in Hamilton, Brett Maher, made his only field-goal attempt, from 48 yards.

Hamilton (1-2) committed six turnovers, including two interceptions and three fumbles by quarterback Jeremiah Masoli. Winnipeg (1-2) turned it over twice.

Defensive back Maurice Leggett had two interceptions, including one returned for a 50-yard touchdown, and Ryan Smith also scored for the Bombers. Brandon Banks’ scored a 120-yard TD off Medlock’s missed 51-yarder early in the first quarter, Andy Fantuz and Chad Owen added TDs for Hamilton.

“That linebacker spot is a hard position to play,” said Leggett, a former safety. “Because you play inside and outside, it can go either way. So it’s more a cat and mouse game with the receiver and the quarterback. And it was my night. I was on fire. I guess I was guessing right.”

Winnipeg quarterback Drew Willy completed 32-of-42 for 279 yards, one TD pass and a fumble. Masoli completed 29-of-39 pass attempts for 367 yards and two TD passes, but had the five turnovers. An interception and a fumble both came late in the game with Hamilton within at least field-goal range.

Winnipeg was up 22-10 heading into halftime on the strength of Leggett’s and Smith’s TDs — scored within 47 seconds of each other in the final two minutes of the first half. But Bomber Quincy McDuffie opened the second half with a fumble on his kickoff return, recovered by Mike Daly, and that made things interesting.

Hamilton took the ball 50 yards on five plays ending with Masoli hitting Fantuz for a seven-yard TD to make it 22-17.

“We faced some adversity early,” said head coach Mike O’Shea about the Banks TD. “We faced some adversity again right off the bat in the second half (with the McDuffie fumble) and it didn’t faze them at all.”

“You didn’t look around and think there was anybody hanging their head. They were (thinking) how are we going to get this back? How are we going to make this work? They showed some resiliency and some professionalism in terms of their attitude and mindset.”

Turnovers were the story for Hamilton.

“We don’t protect the football, we don’t play in this sport,” said head coach Kent Austin. “That goes for everybody. Receivers can’t have the ball yanked out of their arms. Quarterbacks can’t turn the ball over down field.”

But he still had encouraging words for Masoli, who has been starting for Hamilton this season as the Ticats wait for Zach Collaros to return from knee surgery.

“Other than the turnovers, he played huge, and I addressed that in (the locker-room).”

Masoli also kept his comments to the point after the team’s second home loss in a row.

“We’ve got to clean it up, period. Point blank. Too many turnovers, penalties, just shooting ourselves in the foot. You can’t win football games like that.”

Masoli’s second fumble of the night at the Hamilton 35 led to Medlock’s 38-yarder a 25-17 lead midway through the third. But Masoli went on a 75-yard scoring drive, hitting Owens for a 34-yard score to pull to 25-24.

Medlock hit a 47-yarder with five seconds left in the third and Winnipeg took a 28-24 lead into the final quarter.

Hamilton’s next drive deep in Winnipeg territory, Masoli was again intercepted by Leggett on the Winnipeg 13. Looking to ice the game with 6:47 left in the fourth, the Bombers drove 89 yards on 11 plays, only to see Willy fumble the ball and have it recovered by Hamilton’s Michael Atkinson on the eight-yard line.

Hamilton began its final drive on its own 16-yard line with 1:34 left on the clock and a chance to win. But after driving 72 yards to the Winnipeg 22 and 14 seconds left on the clock, Masoli fumbled for the third time in the game and Winnipeg recovered to secure the win.

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