'Cat fight could get nasty

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:46 AM ET

In hockey, it's the Senators and the Leafs.

And in football, a decent rivalry is brewing between Bytown and Steeltown.

Whenever the Renegades and the Hamilton Tiget-Cats get onto the same field, you can usually expect sparks to fly, and probably a few fists, too.

That could be the case on Friday night when the teams battle at Frank Clair Stadium.

"There are some teams out there that really like to give it to us," said Renegades offensive lineman George Hudson. "Winnipeg's one, but Hamilton's right up there too.

"It just seems that some mouths start to run a little bit more, and certain things happen that you're not used to."

HAYWOOD EJECTED

Ottawa defensive lineman Jerome Haywood has been ejected from two games against the Ticats.

In August, he got into a fight with offensive lineman Marwan Hage during a first-half dustup at Ivor Wynne Stadium.

Two years ago in the season opener, it was a scuffle against Pascal Cheron, now a teammate in Ottawa.

"I don't know what it is, but maybe there's something in the air," said Haywood. "A lot of the stuff happens when we're up there. Maybe those guys get tough and they want to win in front of their crowd, so they play a lot harder and do what it takes to win."

Tempers flared last year when the Renegades made their only trip to Hamilton. Hudson accused Ticats defensive lineman Tim Cheatwood of spitting in his face, an incident which Hudson hasn't forgotten.

"I hope his attitude's changed and I hope he's become less of a punk," Hudson said yesterday. "I don't expect a guy to be like that ever. That's just disgusting and I don't want that to happen to me again."

Cheatwood missed the clubs' first meeting of this season in August while attending training camp with the NFL's Houston Texans, but he will be with the Ticats for Friday's critical game.

The struggling Ticats appeared destined to play out the final weeks of CFL regular season, but showed no sign of letting up last weekend by handily beating Edmonton to improve their record to 3-10.

"It's pretty obvious that those guys want to win," said Hudson. "They're playing hard and they're hungry right now.

"They haven't given any gimmes this year. They're tough. They've got a great receiving corps and when Danny (McManus) is on, they're hard to stop."

Haywood agreed. "They remind me of the Pittsburgh Steelers," he said. "Same colours, and they just play tough and nasty. Nobody likes to lose. Right now, they know their backs are against the wall because they've let a lot of players go already. They know they're playing for jobs next year, and that's why they've stepped it up."

The 5-9 Renegades, meanwhile, have lost six straight and need to win Friday to remain in the hunt for a playoff spot. The Renegades then have a bye week before returning to action Oct. 21 in Hamilton.

"We've just got to get a win," said Haywood. "It's like a playoff game for us."

The pressure is on.

"We've been looking at this like do-or-die for the last three weeks, and maybe that hasn't been helping," said Hudson. "Maybe we're putting a little bit too much pressure on ourselves."


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