GUELPH, Ont. — The second time was the charm for Boris Bede.
Bede's 33-yard field goal on the final play earned the Toronto Argonauts a comeback 18-17 win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the final exhibition game for both teams Friday night. Bede's boot into a stiff, swirling wind was redemption as he missed from 52 yards out with 1:38 to play.
"It was a great experience for our younger quarterbacks to kind of understand the situation," Argos head coach Ryan Dinwiddie said. "I felt like we weren't always perfect but we found a way to get it done in the end.
"I knew it (52-yard attempt) was going to be a long kick, especially with the wind but I said, 'Screw this, let's try and see if he can hit it.' We did a good job of keeping them pinned up back there."
After Bede's missed attempt, Hamilton took over at its nine-yard line with 1:20 to play. But the Argos' defence allowed just one first down before forcing the Ticats to punt.
And when Toronto's offence took over at the Hamilton 45-yard line with 19 seconds remaining, Chad Kelly was under centre instead of Austin Simmons, who'd replaced Kelly earlier in the quarter.
"I wanted (Kelly) to take the clutch offence where we go no-huddle and we've got to win a game," Dinwiddie said. "I wanted him to get that opportunity to do that.
"At that stage I thought Chad operated quicker with the no-huddle."
Simmons finished two-of-five passing for 32 yards and ran four times for 28 yards.
Jamie Newman's 34-yard TD pass to Anthony Johnson put Hamilton ahead 16-15 at 12:12 of the third. It was set up by Michael Witherspoon's interception but the two-point conversion attempt was unsuccessful.
Newman completed all eight passes he attempted for 88 yards and ran three times for 16 yards.
Kelly staked Toronto to a 15-10 advantage with a six-yard TD strike to Isaiah Wright at 8:06. Kelly's pass for the two-point convert was incomplete before a solid gathering at Alumni Stadium although no final attendance was announced.
Joel Whitford's 56-yard single at 9:15 of the fourth boosted Hamilton's advantage to 17-15.
Neither team has the luxury of time for lengthy evaluation. CFL clubs must make final roster cuts by 10 p.m. ET on Saturday night.
"We're going to watch the film and then we have to re-evaluate in the morning as well before our final cuts," Dinwiddie said. "Its going to be one of those nights and we look forward to it and kind of seeing how it's going to play out.
"I went through the roster with all of our personnel guys to look at where we're at. We felt good about most of our roster but there's about five or six guys who hopefully changed opinions on game day."
Dinwiddie said he has already decided on his quarterback corps. Veteran McLeod Bethel-Thompson is the starter and will be backed up by Kelly. Simmons will serve as the No. 3 and short-yardage quarterback.
Hamilton opens its season visiting the Saskatchewan Roughriders on June 11. Toronto gets an opening-week bye and will play its regular-season opener hosting the Montreal Alouettes on June 16.
The Argos and Ticats will square off four times during the regular season.
Lawrence Woods III had Hamilton's other touchdown. Michael Domagala added a convert and Seth Small booted a field goal.
Bede converted four-of-six field goal attempts on the night.
Woods provided the biggest play of the opening half, returning a punt 99 yards for a TD at 6:44 of the first. The remainder of the points came on field goals.
Bede's 13-yard boot on the final play of the half cut Hamilton's halftime lead to 10-9. It came after Small converted a 51-yard attempt at 14:11 of the second.
Bede's 25-yard field goal at 12:40 pulled Toronto to within 7-6. It came after Bede missed from 47 yards out earlier in the quarter.
Bethel-Thompson played the entire first half, completing 15-of-24 passes for 183 yards. He also had a nine-yard run as the Argos' offence accumulated 216 first-half yards.
"Winning is always important, it's always great," Bethel-Thompson said. "But we have to focus on being clean throughout."
Veteran DaVaris Daniels was Bethel-Thompson's favourite target with four catches for 43 yards. Former Ticat Brandon Banks was targeted seven times but only had three receptions for 34 yards.
Hamilton's offence mustered just 77 first-half yards with Jalen Morton under centre. He completed six-of-11 passes for 44 yards with an interception while adding a 13-yard run.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 3, 2022.
Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press