Ham does in Hamilton, CFLs romp, 30-15

August 11, 1994|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,Sun Staff Writer

A short work week turned into a tumultuous celebration last night for the Baltimore CFLs, complete with Don Matthews' 100th career coaching win and season highs all around.

When the CFLs entered their locker room at Memorial Stadium after a 30-15 Canadian Football League victory over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, they were greeted with a sign of the times.

"There were all these banners and T-shirts," said offensive guard Keith Ballard. "It looked like a party in here."

It was party time for a crowd of 37,231 who watched Baltimore at its Jekyll-and-Hyde best before putting away the Tiger-Cats.

The CFLs (4-2) rolled up a dominating 20-2 halftime lead, then committed four turnovers in the second half. Hamilton got within 20-15 before Baltimore finally applied the stopper.

The stopper, in this case, was a two-play scoring drive that typified the night. After a Hamilton punt, quarterback Tracy Ham started it with a 48-yard pass to slotback Chris Armstrong to reach the Tiger-Cats' 23.

Then running back Mike Pringle broke a 23-yard touchdown run around the right side, bouncing off free safety Todd Wiseman at the 5 and rolling into the end zone.

That was enough to assure Matthews of his 100th win in only 161 games. He became the second fastest to reach 100 wins in the CFL behind Winnipeg's Bud Grant, who needed 151.

"It's especially gratifying because I did it with four different teams," said Matthews, who received the obligatory drenching at the game's end. "And all four teams had losing records when I got there. When I left, they all had winning records."

And when Matthews was presented with the game ball in the locker room afterward, he passed the praise. "Hey men, what do I tell you all the time?" Matthews said. "Players win games. I've just been riding on your backs."

Four days after the CFLs beat the Las Vegas Posse, 38-33, on the road, they came back to put up some big numbers against the Tiger-Cats.

Ham completed 23 of 42 passes for a season-high 442 yards and two touchdowns.

Armstrong had seven catches for 224 yards -- both season highs -- and two first-half touchdowns.

And Pringle rushed for 172 yards on 24 carries, becoming the first CFLs' back to gain 100.

"I felt Pringle was the guy who opened the game up for me with his running," Ham said.

Pringle gained 100 yards in the second half alone when Baltimore became turnover-prone.

"Football is not designed for doubleheaders," Pringle said, "but that's what this was. We didn't have that much time to prepare."

The CFLs opened an 18-point lead in the first half on two Ham-to-Armstrong touchdown passes and a pair of Donald Igwebuike field goals.

Igwebuike hit from 40 and 46 yards out in the first quarter. In the second quarter, Ham threw scoring passes of 23 and 60 yards to Armstrong.

When Baltimore lost three turnovers in the second half, Hamilton got within 20-15.

That cost the CFLs a chance to put the game away early.

"When we came out in the third quarter and turned the ball over, it seemed like we stopped playing for a second,' Ham said.

"This reminds me of my college team [at Georgia Southern]. We would play when we just had to. But we aren't good enough to do that here."

The Tigers-Cats cashed in the turnovers for 13 points. They got a 5-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Timm Rosenbach to Joey Jauch and two field goals from Paul Osbaldiston of 48 and 37 yards.

That's when Matthews' calming influence helped settle the offense, according to Ham.

"Matthews is so calm and collected," Ham said. "His philosophy is players win games. At one point [in the second half] he came to me and said, 'C'mon, Alice, throw the ball.'

"That's gives you an idea what he's like. He's always relaxed. I enjoy playing for him, and I'm glad I was a member of the team that got his 100th win."

It was special for Armstrong, too. Three members of his family came from Fayetteville, N.C., to see him play as a professional for the first time.

"I wanted to have a good performance for them," he said.

Playing against mostly man-to-man coverage, he had a spectacular night, catching his fifth and sixth touchdown passes of the season.

For Ham, they were the 11th and 12th TD passes of his season. He also threw his third interception, and lost a fumble on the goal line.

All told, the CFLs rolled up 589 yards in total offense, holding Hamilton to 306.

"Today it seemed we were all on the same page and coming off the ball," Ballard said. "Coach [Steve] Buratto told us if we did our job, we'd have a big night."

It was the best of nights.

"Is that the longest game in the world?" Matthews asked. "All I did was stand out there watching and then take a shower."

CFL 100-WIN CLUB

Baltimore's Don Matthews earned his 100th career victory in the CFL last night, including postseason wins. Here are the coaches who have won 100 and how long it took them:

Coach ... ... ... ... Games ... Years ... Wins

Frank Clair .. .. ... 190 .. .. 13 .. ... 174

Eagle Keys ... .. ... 176 .. .. 11 .. ... 147

Bud Grant ... ... ... 151 .. .. 8 ... ... 122

Ray Jauch ... ... ... 178 .. .. 11 .. ... 119

Bob O'Billovich .. .. 183 .. .. 11 .. ... 108

Don Matthews .. .. .. 161 .. .. 10 .. ... 100

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