More than one mayor of Swaggerville

PAUL FRIESEN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:28 AM ET

WINNIPEG - The unmistakable evidence of a neighbourhood skunk wafted over Swaggerville at half-time last night.

It kind of reminded you of the conduct of the citizens at the time, a smelly stretch that helped the Hamilton Tiger-Cats get back into a game they’d trailed by 14.

Yes, it was more like Staggerville for a while, as the Ticats, led by old friend Kevin Glenn, spent the second and third quarters marauding through the place like bandits in the Wild West.

Back-to-back touchdown bombs before the break, a nine-play, 85-yard drive right after, and the Ticats had turned a 17-3 Blue Bomber advantage into a 24-20 Hamilton lead.

It would get slightly worse, 27-20, before the mayor of the place said enough is enough.

No, I’m not talking about Odell Willis. The CFL’s sack king and his cohorts could only watch as the marauders fired bullets through the windows, stole the horses and tipped over the outhouses.

For the first time this season, the Winnipeg defence allowed 400 yards, a mind-boggling number compared to the stingy efforts of the previous seven weeks.

No, quarterback Buck Pierce is the one who finally walked out onto Main Street, twirling his pistols, to quell the uprising and leave his team standing, to a count of 30-27.

Pierce’s first shot, a 53-yard piece of accuracy that whizzed over the head of Hamilton’s Carlos Thomas and into the arms of Terrence Edwards, got the attention of the Ticats in a hurry.

He followed that up with a 12-yard bullet to the same man in the end zone, and suddenly Swaggerville was emboldened again.

Willis and Co. crawled out from under the furniture and began firing back, regaining their form and shutting down the invaders the rest of the way.

That allowed Pierce and his deputies to pick off targets, one by one, for the three-point hit that put the Tabbies down, then the all-important clock-killing shots over the final two minutes of a duel that had more than 30,000 spectators screaming their lungs out for the good guys.

It was almost as raucous in the winning room, which resembled a saloon during the height of the gold rush.

“Unbelievable — look at it,” Pierce said. “How many times have you been in this locker-room and seen this? This is what Swaggerville is.”

So the dust settles on a Bombers outfit that remains the one to beat, not only in the CFL East, but across the land, at 7-1 virtually unrecognizable from a year ago.

The Tabbies now far back in their rearview mirror, the season series between the two put to bed, there’s no doubt what the goal has to be, and I never thought I’d be saying this in 2011.

First place.

Why not?

“There shouldn’t be a reason,” Edwards said. “We weren’t that bad of a team to not have a realistic goal of first place.”

Sure, the two-time defending champion Montreal Alouettes, the other gang on good horses, will have plenty to say about that.

Swaggerville has three meetings with them to look forward to, two of them right here.

A best-of-three for top spot?

“That’s our goal,” Pierce said. “We set ourselves up to be the best club in November. That’s our focus.”

For now, though, they’ll enjoy the immediate spoils.

And the adulation of the masses.

There was Willis after the game, having ripped off his jersey and shoulder pads, climbing onto the trainers table to lead the cheers.

There’s room for more than one mayor in this town.


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