HAMILTON - Bo Levi Mitchell tossed an early touchdown to lead his new team, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, to a 27-22 pre-season win against the Toronto Argonauts on Saturday.
This was the first CFL pre-season game for the longtime rival Ticats (1-0) and the defending Grey Cup champion Argos (0-1).
After dropped passes by wide receiver Justin McGriff and running back James Butler on Mitchell's first two attempts, he hit Richie Sindani for a 32-yard score on the Ticats' second offensive possession.
This was the 33-year-old Mitchell's first game with his new team since Hamilton acquired his rights from the Calgary Stampeders in exchange for a 2023 third-round draft pick and a 2024 fifth-round selection last November.
The two-time Grey Cup-winning quarterback signed a three-year contract with Hamilton in January.
Mitchell went 3-for-6 for 63 yards before turning the game over to backup Taylor Powell.
Ethan Ratke kicked a 19-yard field goal to open the second quarter, and wide receiver Lio'Undre Gallimore returned a punt 84 yards to give the home side a 17-0 halftime advantage before an estimated crowd of 17,500 at Tim Hortons Field.
Defensive backs Lawrence Woods III and Stavros Katsantonis made key first-half interceptions for Hamilton.
Ben Holmes started at quarterback for Toronto. But his replacement Cameron Dukes hit RaJae Johnson for a 15-yard strike at 4:28 of the third quarter. A Holmes to Dejon Brissett two-point conversion was successful.
After Bailey Feltmate caught an eight-yard touchdown pass from Powell for a 24-8 lead, Bryan Scott, the Argos third quarterback in the game, found B.J. Byrd for a short touchdown pass.
The two combined for another two-point conversion.
Hamilton placekicker Jonathan Garibay hit a 46-yard field goal in the final minute. With Dukes back in at quarterback, the Argos marched down the field for an eight-yard touchdown pass to Byrd as time ran out for the game's final score.
The Argos are celebrating their 150th anniversary season, and the Ticats will host the 110th Grey Cup championship game on Nov. 19.
Argos wide receiver Kurleigh Gittens Jr.'s day ended early. On Toronto's second offensive possession, the Wilfrid Laurier University product was rocked by Hamilton linebacker Jameer Thurman near midfield.
The East Division's 2022 nominee was attended to on the field for a few minutes before receiving attention on his left shoulder on the sidelines.
He did not return.
The Argos host the Ottawa Redblacks on Thursday, while the Ticats travel to Montreal to play the Alouettes on Friday.
Hamilton opens the regular season in Winnipeg against the Blue Bombers on June 9. Toronto has a first-week bye and will host the Ticats in its opener on June 18.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 27, 2023.