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The unmistakable drone from the two Second World War Lancaster bombers, which performed a fly-by at Tim Hortons Field before the game, had barely subsided when the Hamilton Tiger-Cats brought out the heavy artillery on Sunday.

With a military precision worthy of Remembrance Day across Canada, Hamilton quarterback Jeremiah Masoli deftly cut into a porous B.C. defence early and often, which left the Lions stumbling around as though in a dense fog.

By the time the game was over, the Ticats were celebrating a ridiculously easy 48-8 victory in the CFL East Division semi-final. Hamilton punched its ticket to the East final next Sunday in Ottawa against the well-rested Redblacks, a team that has beaten them three times in the regular season.

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Hamilton Tiger-Cats quarterback Jeremiah Masoli threw three first-half TDs on Sunday in the CFL East semi-final.Peter Power/The Canadian Press

The winner advances to the Grey Cup, Nov. 25 in Edmonton.

“I think the guys put their egos aside and played together very well,” Hamilton coach June Jones said. “They wanted to play a good game this weekend. We got to do it two more times, that’s what we’re here to do.”

“It’s feeling good, man,” Masoli added. “I can’t lie, we’re all feeling good.

“Just happy for the guys in the locker room to come out and have that dominating win, get that momentum in that locker room and get all those good vibes going.”

The Lions' ugly and inept performance was not the script B.C. coach Wally Buono envisioned for his last CFL game. After 45 years of dedicated CFL service as a player, coach or executive, the 68-year-old had announced that the 2018 season would be his last.

“They coached better, they played better, they made plays and we didn’t even show up,” is how Buono summed up his CFL swan song.

It was a brisk, overcast day in the blue-collar Southern Ontario city, but the mood of the close to 24,000 spectators quickly warmed as the Ticats started to steamroll the Lions from the opening kickoff.

Hamilton moved the ball seemingly at will and scored on its first three possessions en route to a 28-0 first-half lead.

Masoli, the East Division nominee for the CFL’s most outstanding player award, was at his scrambling best, rolling out when necessary to avoid the rush.

Masoli connected on his first 10 passes and threw for three touchdowns in the first half, two by wide receiver Luke Tasker and the other by slotback Thomas Erlington.

Hamilton’s dominance in the first half was total, where Masoli connected on 13 of his 16 passes for 245 yards. Masoli finished 14 of 19 for 259 yards before he gave way late in the third quarter to backup Dane Evans.

Travis Lulay, Masoli’s harried counterpart for the Lions, was six of 12 for 84 yards in a nightmarish opening half that also included a fumble that helped set up the second Hamilton score.

Fate was smiling on the Ticats during their opening drive, as they mounted a 90-yard march from their own 20 down to the B.C. one-yard line.

One third down, Jones elected to try for the touchdown and sent in Evans to run the offence.

Evans tried to run it over the right side but was hit in the backfield by Ivan McLennan and the ball squirted from the quarterback’s grasp into the end zone.

Hamilton left tackle Kelvin Palmer was Johnny on the spot, falling on the loose ball in the end zone to put the Ticats up 7-0.

More bad luck befell the Lions following the kickoff when Lulay fumbled the ball on his team’s first offensive possession and it was recovered by Hamilton defensive end Adrian Tracy.

It was first and 10 for Hamilton at the B.C. 47 and Masoli led the team downfield where he found Tasker wide open in the end zone for a 14-yard TD strike. That made the score 14-0.

And the rout was on.

Lulay’s afternoon of incompetence came to an end early in the third quarter when an ill-advised lolly-pop of a pass he threw into the flats was easily intercepted by Frankie Williams. Williams returned it down the sideline 39 yards for a touchdown to increase Hamilton’s lead to 37-0.

The final indignity for the Lions was still to come when the team botched a direct snap on a first and goal from the Hamilton one-yard line.

The ball slipped through the hands of running back Tyrell Sutton. It was picked up by Hamilton linebacker Simoni Lawrence, who returned it 92 yards to the Lions' one to set up another Hamilton score that brought the score to 44-0.

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