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July 5, 2024

Liegghio Has Been Ticats’ Mr. Automatic

June 16, 2024; Hamilton, Ontario, CAN; Saskatchewan Roughriders defeat the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 33-30 at Tim Hortons Field. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski

If you’re lucky—or create your own luck—what goes around comes around.

So there is a circular justice to this: Marc Liegghio played his first CFL game against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and now he’s playing for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. And playing well.

But when he lined up with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Aug. 5, 2021 – opening night of the pandemic-delayed season and a rematch of the previous (2019) Grey Cup –Liegghio was the rookie punter, and today he is the Ticats’ veteran place-kicker while rookie Nik Constantinou handles the punts.

Dennis McKnight is in his first week as Special Teams Coordinator and all segments of that grouping are adjusting to his arrival and he to them. Liegghio thanked departed coordinator Paul Boudreau–who was also is special teams coordinator in Winnipeg–for his work and wishes him well.  In the early going of a season in which the Ticats’ special teams may have had a number of problems but, Liegghio has not been one of them. He’s been good on nine of his 10 field goal attempts and all eight of his convert tries.

“I’m pretty confident with how I’m doing so far this season,” Liegghio said today. “The kicks have been looking good. The way I grade my kicks is a little different than how they look on TV. There’s always room for improvement, but on field goals and punting we’re  both doing a pretty good job and our unit is looking pretty strong right now.

“Obviously, you want to put the ball through the uprights but we grade it a bit differently ourselves. At the end of the day, if the kick goes through it was okay, but kickers look at ball contact, snap, hold.”

Liegghio was among the Blue Bombers’ final 2022 cuts as they decided to go with Sergio Castillo, a former Ticat. Two weeks later, the Cats signed Liegghio after placekicker Seth Small returned to Texas for family reasons. Liegghio was a punter and a placekicker in his five years as a Western Mustang, making second-team all-Canadian in 2017 when he made 29 of his 33 treys and helped the Stangs win the Vanier Cup. Two years later, Winnipeg took him in the fifth round of the 2020 draft.

He found a home here, both on and off the field. He’s a 90-minute drive from London, where he was a university star and an even shorter distance from Woodbridge where he grew up. Every game he has between 20 and 40 ticket requests.

“When Hamilton brought me in, it was the comfort level I felt as soon as I got here,” Liegghio said.   “Everyone was very friendly, we’re brothers in the change room, in the coach’s office, upper management. I just thought the transition was very easy. The medical staff, the equipment staff just made it so easy it felt like I’d been here for a while. The guys on the team are  all great guys, I love being around the team and the change room,” the atmosphere is so good.

“Especially on game day, the fans are so good. The past two years now, being more a part of the community events, it’s just an amazing feeling being a Tiger-Cat.”

Head coach Scott Milanovich said today that, “Leggs has been good. I trust him. I don’t want to say too many good things and put a jinx on him but he’s doing a good job and he has been since I got here, even last year. Consistently good in practice, puts his kickoff where he needs to. I’m pleased with where he’s at.”

CATS CLAUSES: Ticats DL Trevon Mason  and LB DQ Thomas were both named to the CFL’s weekly Honour Roll … Vernon Adams Jr. who was a Ticat during training camp of 2017 was the league’s Honour Roll Quarterback of the first month. He’ll lead the B.C. Lions here Sunday night … the CFL reports that this is the first time in league history that three teams have started 0-4. In case you’d forgotten; Hamilton, Winnipeg and Edmonton …the team that allows fewer sacks in the game have gone 10-2 this year … sacks, though, are down 33 per cent league-wide … kickers are 6-for-6 on field goals of 50 yards or longer.