It’s always Tre Day in Hamilton.
And Tim Hortons Field is still Steven Dunbar Jr.’s house.
The Edmonton Elks got a pair of touchdown passes from Tre Ford to Dunbar on the way to a 24-10 victory the host Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Thursday night. The win is the first of 2023 for the Elks, who snap a 13-game regular season losing streak.
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Ford improves to 2-0 as a starting quarterback at Tim Hortons Field, after completing 13 of 18 passes for 174 yards and rushing for 60 yards on five carries. The second-year pivot, who grew up not far from Hamilton in Niagara Falls, Ont., also led Edmonton to its first win of the 2022 regular season in Hamilton on July 1, 2022.
“I love playing here, I love seeing all the family and friends come out here to support me,” Ford said in a post-game interview on 630 CHED, radio flagship of the Green and Gold.
Ford, who played university football nearby at Waterloo, also had a 2-0 record playing high school football at Tim Hortons Field. “It was definitely a good win tonight, I’m happy we could get the W.”
In his first game back in Hamilton since signing with the Elks as a free-agent during the off-season, Dunbar hauled in four passes for 93 yards, including touchdown catches of 29 and nine yards. It was the first game with multiple touchdowns in the CFL career of Dunbar, who spent his first two CFL seasons with the Ti-Cats, and was an East All-Star selection in 2022 when he had 1,000 receiving yards.
“It felt good to be back in Hamilton,” Dunbar said on 630 CHED. “I’ve got a lot of love for this organization and fan base, so it felt good to be back.”
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) August 18, 2023
Edmonton’s Taylor Cornelius also scored a touchdown on a QB sneak from the one yard-line, and Dean Faithfull hit an 18-yard field goal to go with three successful extra point kicks for the Green and Gold.
Kevin Brown led the Elks with 89 yards on 16 carries, as the second-year running back surpassed 1,000 career rushing yards. Veteran receiver Manny Arceneaux made three catches for 33 yards, becoming just the 30th player in CFL history to surpass 9,000 career receiving yards.
The Elks used a bit of trickery on second-and-one early in the second quarter, when Taylor Cornelius connected with defensive lineman AC Leonard for a 45-yard passing play. It was the longest reception in the career of Leonard, who began his CFL career with the BC Lions in 2015 as a receiver before moving to the defensive side of the ball.
— CFL (@CFL) August 18, 2023
The 10 points scored by Hamilton was the fewest allowed by the Elks since the 2021 season. Edmonton’s defence sacked Ti-Cats quarterback Taylor Powell seven times, led by Jake Ceresna and Nyles Morgan with two apiece. Kony Ealy, Ed Gainey and Leonard each had one sack.
Dunbar scored his first touchdown late in the first quarter, as Edmonton jumped ahead 7-0. After Hamilton’s James Butler rushed for a touchdown early in the second quarter to pull the Ti-Cats within one point at 7-6, the Elks responded with back-to-back touchdowns from Cornelius and Dunbar. A field goal by Ti-Cats kicker Marc Liegghio on the final play of the half made the score 21-9 in favour of Edmonton at the break.
The start of the third quarter was delayed around 100 minutes because of weather. Edmonton and Hamilton combined for just four points during the second half, a single by Liegghio and Faithfull’s field goal in the fourth quarter.
The Elks are now 1-9 and will go for their second win of the season when they host the Ottawa Redblacks at Commonwealth Stadium on Aug. 27.
“The same temperature that starts a small fire can start a big one,” Elks coach and general manager Chris Jones said on CHED. “We’ve got a small fire going now, so hopefully we can carry that into next week against a very good Ottawa team.”
WALL OF HONOUR GAME
Be there when the Elks host the Ottawa Redblacks on Aug. 27 as Terry Vaughn becomes the 42nd player inducted to the EE Wall of Honour. As part of the festivities, the Green and Gold will celebrate the 20th anniversary of their 2003 Grey Cup championship team. Being part of the action has never been more affordable, with tickets starting at just $15. Click here to get your tickets now and be part of the tradition.
Elks Football…Our Team. Our City.