Big win over Windsor

The Gryphon offense came out firing on all cylinders and jumped out to a quick 23-0 lead. They kept their foot on the gas all game. The final result was an 82-10 blowout.

Windsor score

The scoreboard says it all. Photo: Elisabeth Duncan

QB James Roberts did not appear to be hampered by the knee injury he sustained late Labour Day evening in London. There was no sign of him limping and the “knee brace” he wore looked more like a compression sleeve than the bulky mechanical-type of brace I was expecting. Roberts completed 16 of 21 for 302 yards, 4 TDs and 0 INTs.

As well as he played, I was still happy to see our starting QB out of the game before halftime. Roberts left with a 47-3 lead. Backup QB Theo Landers scored on a 20-yd keeper on his first series of action. Guelph went into the Half with a 53-3 lead.

The Gryphons tamped down the scoring in the 2nd Half. Quarterbacks Landers and Brayden Lassemba only threw 4 passes but some strong special teams play made it impossible for the Gryphons not to score … a missed FG returned 125 yards for a TD and a fumble recovery on a Windsor return set Guelph up with a 1st&goal at the Windsor 9.

Game Recaps and Stats

Gryphons.ca: Gryphons erupt in 82-10 win over Windsor

If there is such a thing as a statement game, the Guelph Gryphons football team had one. On a short week, coming off two heartbreaking overtime losses, the Gryphons put on a dominating display at Alumni Stadium Saturday, defeating the Windsor Lancers 82-10.

Guelph scored 10 touchdowns on the day, improving to 1-2 on the season in the most emphatic way possible.

“Honestly, the last two weeks, we’ve played some good football,” said head coach Kevin MacNeill. “The guys have been battling hard and it was nice to see them stay focused through those first two weeks and have a good performance today.”

GoLancers.ca: Lancer football falls to Guelph – there is only so much you can say on a loss like this without going negative. Here is a short and sweet wrap-up:

GAME FLOW
Coming off of two overtime losses, the Gryphons came out with something to prove and put up 33 points before the Lancers’ Clark Green hit a 36-yard field goal in the second quarter to get the Lancers on the board.

Windsor’s lone touchdown came early in the fourth quarter when Gaynor charged 70-yards down the field into the endzone.

OUA Website: Box Score and Game Stats

Guelph Sports Journal: Two-minute slide show of game photos by Rob Massey

Guelph Today: More photos and a post-game story featuring Job Reinhart – Gryphons score team-record 82 points in big win .

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Gryphon Players of the Game

PoG Wk3.jpg

Photo image: Gryphons.ca

The Gryphons.ca story here.

QB James Roberts was also the named Gryphon Male Athlete of the Week.

The Guelph Gryphons were in desperate need of a win — so their quarterback made sure it happened. Roberts put his stamp on Guelph’s record-breaking 82-10 win over Windsor almost immediately after kick off Saturday at Alumni Stadium.

The fourth-year man from Cambridge, ON came out firing and found receivers Zeph Fraser, Kian Schaffer-Baker and Kade Belyk for touchdowns, all by the 8:24 mark of the first quarter. Roberts was surgical in that opening 15 minutes, completing all nine of his pass attempts for 169 yards and the three scores, setting the tone for what would ultimately be Guelph’s single-game school-record point total.

He was lifted in the second half for backup Theo Landers but still finished the day 16-for-21 for 302 yards, while tying his single-game career high of four touchdown passes.

There was actually some question as to whether Roberts would play after he twisted his knee in overtime of a Labour Day night game at Western. He went down on the first Guelph overtime series but made his way back to the field Saturday for one of the best performances of his Gryphon career.

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Highlights of the games 10 touchdowns …

 

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Doughlin, Newton make Ticats debuts tonight

Ticats logoCongratulations and best of luck to defensive back Tristan Doughlin and linebacker Curtis Newton!

This pair of former Gryphons will make their regular season debuts in the Black & Gold of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. They will be in the lineup tonight when Hamilton plays the RedBlacks at TD Place Stadium in Ottawa. The game will be broadcast on TSN beginning at 6 p.m..

Correction: Curtis Newton was added to the Ticats active roster on Sept 3 and played in the Labour Day Classic.

tristan-doughlin-guelph.jpgFor Doughlin it will be his first CFL regular season game. The Tiger-Cats signed DOughlin in the off-season. He was released late in training but resigned in late July to the practice roster only to be released again in August. Hopefully, the third time is the charm for Doughlin.

Newton began his CFL career last season with the Toronto Argonauts. This year he appeared in two games with the Argos before being released on July 11. Two weeks later he signed with the Ticats and has been on their practice roster until being activated this week.

There are now a trio of former Gryphons on the Tiger-Cats active roster with Doughlin and Newton joining veteran offensive lineman Ryan Bomben.

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From last night’s game in Ottawa …

Newton Doughlin.jpg

The Tiger-Cats add Curtis Newton to the lineup on Labour Day and win their first game of the year. Six days later they put another Gryphon, Tristan Doughlin, in the lineup and extend their winning streak to two. Just saying.

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Game 3 Preview: Windsor Lancers come to town

Lancers logoI’m looking forward to attending a home game tomorrow. It doesn’t particularly have anything to do with the opponent being Windsor.

Both teams will come into the game with 0-2 records. That is surprising. I think people expected the Lancers to have a pretty good shot at opening the season 2-0. Obviously, with a loss in overtime and the other in double overtime, the Gryphons were very close to being 2-0.

I don’t really have a lot to say about a storyline for the game. You would think that revenge for last year’s big upset loss to the Lancers would be a factor but I don’t really feel it. Hopefully, the Gryphons are just looking at it as the next game and not something extra.

Previews & related links

Lancers.ca does not appear to have a preview of the game but here are their recaps of their Labour Day loss to UofT and their season opening loss to Waterloo.

Wow! No preview on the Gryphons.ca website either as of Friday night. Update: Here is the preview

The adage goes that you are what your record says you are. Maybe so but the Guelph Gryphons can make a good argument that they are much better than a tough 0-2 start might indicate …

“We are proud with how this team has responded to adversity through the first two weeks of the season,” says head coach Kevin MacNeill. “There has been great belief among the players and we have done some really good things on the field. We just have to be more consistent and avoid a few of the mistakes that have cost us at key moments. We could easily be 2-0 right now.”

The OUA.ca website has Week 3’s 55-man Rosters up the day before the games. That is progress. I still miss the fact that they no longer include depth charts for each team.

TD celly

My Thoughts

Windsor has been in rebuilding mode for several years now and they don’t appear to be appear to be gaining any traction. They’ve already lost 2 of their 3 easiest games. i don’t think they will present a serious challenge to the Gryphons.

Guelph needs to build on their strong, but losing, performance in London Monday night. For me, that means the offense has to move the ball with some consistency. And put up some points. Windsor gave up 40 points to the Waterloo offense, plus 14 more on special teams.

Both teams have experienced some injury issues at quarterback. The Lancers lost their starting QB in Game 1. They had a true freshman start for them in Week 2 and I expect we will see him again tomorrow. For Guelph, it’s a different story. James Roberts suffered a minor knee injury in OT at Western but he is expected to start.

It’s great that Roberts is able to play but if it were up to me I would let him rest his knee tomorrow and start Theo Landers. It’s been three years since a backup QB at Guelph [James Roberts in 2014] has received any significant playing time.

Roberts does not need to prove anything to me. And, as a 4th year player who has already started 22 games, four or five dozen more snaps tomorrow are not going to do anything for his development. Landers, on the other hand, would benefit significantly from some regular season playing time. Hopefully, we will see him in the game by the start of the 3rd Q. Freshman Brayden Lassemba will dress as the third QB tomorrow.

I haven’t heard much about starting RB Patrick Pierre. He only had 4 carries in the Western game and they were all early in the game (before OUA.tv coverage kicked in). Apparently he may have sprained his ankle. The good news is he will dress tomorrow.

Recent series History

Guelph is 8-2 against Windsor since 2007. The losses were in 2011 and 2016. Those two losses correspond with low points for the Gryphons in the past decade. Guelph was 2-6 in 2011 and 3-5 in 2016. It would be a really bad sign for 2017 if Windsor were to win tomorrow.

2016 – 33-29 Windsor
2015 – 41-27 Guelph
2014 – 24-9  Guelph
2013 – 31-21 Guelph [Q-Final playoff game]
2013 – 24-23 Guelph
2012 – 28-9 Guelph
2011 – 41-21 Windsor
2010 – 41-14 Guelph
2009 – did not play
2008 – 34-8 Guelph
2007 – 36-10 Guelph

Broadcast options

TV:  Rogers Cable 20 [Guelph, Cambridge, Kitchener-Waterloo, Brantford]
Radio:  none
Online:  www.oua.tv

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Quick thoughts & links on loss at Western

Taylor hurdle attempt.jpg

Mustang running back Alex Taylor made the mistake of trying to hurdle Gryphon defensive back Mikey Carney

In some of my post-Ottawa comments I wrote  ….

As everyone saw the primary problem for the Gryphons was the offense.  And, everyone has ideas about what needs to change on the offense. I think having some patience may be most important.

We didn’t have to be patient long!

QB James Roberts and the rest of the offense showed up in London. It was a much better performance. Recall, I pointed to the lack of first downs [11] as my biggest concern after the Ottawa game. Last night the Gryphons made the plays to earn 25 first downs. That’s an acceptable number against the OUA’s topped ranked team.

I’ll try to share more thoughts on the game in the next day or two. For now, here are the …

The Game Stories & Recaps

OUA.ca: Complete stats, Box Score and Play-by-Play

London Free Press: Western wins weather-delayed overtime thriller over Guelph. I would recommend this story if you are would be my recommendation

There truly is no way to explain in a concise fashion the Western Mustangs home opener Monday night . . . or was it Tuesday?

The fact that the game started on Monday at 7 p.m. and didn’t finish until 12:30 a.m. Tuesday morning is a pretty good hint that it wasn’t your normal Ontario university football game.

And …

There were five lead changes and three times the game was tied. No one was quite sure which team would show up at any particular time in the game.

The Gryphons scored 16 points in succession to go up by 10; then the Mustangs scored 21 points in succession to go up by six before the Gryphons hit back for 14 straight to go back up by seven.

When you toss in almost 1,000 yards in total offence and 30 penalties, you wind up with a soup that everyone enjoyed, even though, from a fine cooking point of view, it wasn’t the best-looking soup.

That last Morris Dalla Costa sentence is classic and accurate.

Gryphons.ca: Gryphons take No.3 Western tot OT but fall 41-34

Roberts was sharp all night before departing on the final drive, completing 20 of 28 pass attempts for 286 yards and two touchdowns, both caught by Zeph Fraser. His second touchdown connection with Fraser at 13:25 of the fourth was crucial. It stopped a run of 21 straight Mustang points and Roberts then found Kian Schaffer-Baker in the end zone for a huge two-point conversion, tying the game 24-24.

WesternMustangs.ca: Mustangs take down Gryphons in overtime thriller

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Gryphon Players of the Game

PoG Wk2.jpg

The Gryphons.ca story here.

WR Zeph Fraser also took home Offensive Player of the Week honours from the OUA …

OFFENCE: Zeph Fraser (Mississauga, Ont) – 3rd year – Guelph
In just his second game in a Gryphon uniform, third year man and Laurier transfer Zeph Fraser had an outstanding performance against the No. 3-ranked Western Mustangs. The Mississauga native hauled in 8 receptions for 143 yards and 2 touchdowns, helping the Gryphons push the Mustangs to overtime before ultimately falling 41-34 in what turned out to be an instant classic from London on Monday night.
After accounting for the Gryphons first touchdown of the night with a 4-yard reception in the 2nd quarter, Fraser was at it again in the 4th when he hauled in a 24-yard TD pass to tie the game at 24-24. Zeph’s longest reception on the night was a 35-yard connection with James Roberts in the 1st half that led to a Gabe Ferraro field goal.
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Final thoughts on the 2OT loss to Ottawa

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Mike Hogan’s  quick synopsis of the game:

The Ottawa Gee-Gees picked up a huge win, beating the Gryphons in Guelph 24-21 in double overtime. Ottawa’s Lewis Ward and Guelph’s Gabriel Ferraro traded 40-yard plus field goals in the first OT. Ward hit one from 28 yards in the second round of the shootout, before Ferraro missed from the 36. Guelph led 7-5 at the half. Ottawa missed a great opportunity in the third quarter when Guelph took major penalties on successive plays, but Ward missed a FG at the end of the drive. Quarterback Alex Lavric replaced Victor Twynstra at half time for Ottawa, finishing 16-22 for 132 yards. Bryce Vieira couldn’t get it going, finishing with 13 carries for just 30 yards. Patrick Pierre, his Guelph counterpart, finished with an even 100 yards on 26 carries. The Gryphs were thrilled to see Jacob Scarfone back in the lineup after missing last season with an injury. He only had three catches, but one was for a 74-yard TD late in the fourth quarter. Ferraro sent the game to OT with a clutch 38-yard FG with one second left in regulation. Nick Dagher led U-of-O with eight catches for 60 yards.

Gryphon rookie D-Lineman Alain Cimankinda was named the OUA’s Defensive Player of the Week

In his first game in a Gryphon uniform, defensive end Alain Cimankinda put together an outstanding performance, racking up 3.5 sacks to go along with 9 tackles.

The Gatineau, Quebec native came up with several timely plays, including a sack late in the 4th quarter (1:30 remaining) which forced an Ottawa punt to get the ball back to the Gryphon offence.

Cimankinda, who played his CEGEP football at Champlain-Lennoxville in Quebec under current Gryphons offensive coordinator Jean-Francois Joncas, spent one season at the New Mexico Military Institute (NCAA – Junior College) before arriving at Guelph.

Cimankinda’s rookie campaign is off to a flying start, with the dynamic defensive end providing a constant disturbance in the Gee-Gees backfield throughout the game

Alain Cimankinda.jpg

The Gryphon Football Team App has its own story on Alain Cimankinda – Cimankinda Praises Team First

“He was disruptive on both running and pass,” head coach Kevin MacNeill said. “He did a great job.”

“At the end of the day, this is a team game. It’s not about Alain Cimankinda alone, it’s about the whole team,” he said. “Every time I step on the football field I expect myself to have this kind of game, but at the end of the day it’s about what the team did. What we all did as a group. It was a tough loss and it stops right there. I’m always going to imagine myself making these plays and having these kind of games.”

Quick thought … the outstanding game Cimankinda had and the well-deserved recognition he received for it took some of the limelight off of some other defensive players. Luke Korol, Job Reinhart, Charlie Taggart, Derek Drouillard were all outstanding as well.

Don’t be surprised if Cimankinda gets extra attention from the Mustangs offense – OL double teams or a RB/FB helping out on him. And don’t be surprised if that isn’t entirely effective in slowing him down. Regardless, don’t be surprised if that doesn’t free up other defenders to make plays. Cimankinda could have another great game and still see Reinhart or Taggart pass him on the QB Sack leaders list.

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Ottawa head coach Jamie Barresi took over the Ottawa program in 2013 after they had a disastrous experience with an interim coach who was fired in the middle of the 2012 season. Barresi has made progress turning the Gee-Gees program around. Even without always having elite talent he has produced outstanding results on offense. His teams have averaged 531 yards per game in their 32 regular season games, 2013 thru 2016.

Knowing of the offensive prowess of Barresi’s teams, I wondered where last week’s game ranked. It turns out the Gee-Gees 269 yards of net offense were their second lowest total since 2013. The lowest Gee-Gees offensive output of the Barresi era was 228 yards in a 2014 loss to the Gryphons. Only one other OUA team has ever held a Barresi coached team to fewer than 360 yards. Western held Ottawa to 324 yards in 2016.

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A chance to re-watch the game on video and a week to reflect on it have me feeling a little different than I did immediately after the game.

As everyone saw the primary problem for the Gryphons was the offense.  And, everyone has ideas about what needs to change on the offense. I think having some patience may be most important. Consider …

  • this was the first game with a new offensive system which new OC J-F Joncas has proven he can win with.
  • there were 3 new starters on the O-Line (Jerome, Woodmansey and Petrie), a new starter at running back (Pierre) and a new starter at one of the receiver positions (Zeph Fraser). Also, Eric Starczala, last year’s starting centre who was preparing to play RT this season, had to be switched to LT to fill in for the injured Jaylan Guthrie.
  • I now tend to think the Ottawa defense deserves more credit than I was willing to give them at the time. If it turns that this is the best Gee-Gees defense they have put on the field in 7 or 8 years as opposed to a mediocre OUA defense it has to change your perspective. It will be interesting to see how they do against Queen’s this afternoon.
  • it’s hard to sugarcoat it – James Roberts did not have a great game. We’ve all seen him play much better and can expect him to do so again. He deserves the benefit of the doubt.
  • it’s a cliche but … you can learn more from a loss than a win. Having watched the video it was obvious many lessons can be learned and changes made that are fairly simple. For example, on one of the sacks of Roberts it was obvious by his reaction that RB Patrick Pierre immediately recognized he had made a mistake with blitz pickup. Since he recognized his own mistake, as opposed to being oblivious to it, I think he learns that lesson quickly.

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There were a lot of good things happening off the field last Sunday.

As usual, the tailgate party was great. 

The sound system upgrade is a big success. You have absolutely no trouble hearing everything that is said over the P.A. system even on top of The Hill. If anything, the sound was a little too loud at some points.

FoGF logoMany members of the new Friends of Gryphon Football organization were there to pick up their swag at the FoGF tent in the tailgate area. As a Gold level member I received a snap-back hat, a T-shirt and a zip up hoodie, all in a red and black Gryphon football tote bag.

I joined as a member to support Gryphon Football and help ensure its sustainable success, not for the swag … but when I received my stuff I was pleasantly surprised. It was unique gear and higher quality than I expected. It all fit perfectly. I’ve already worn the t-shirt and hoodie several times.

Pavillion

The new Football Pavillion looks beautiful from across the field even if it is not yet complete. The grand opening event has been rescheduled to Oct 2. As you can see from the video at the top of this post the team is still using the traditional dressing room in the older part of the stadium.

People high enough up in the stands could see the wood decking on the roof-top patio. They said it looks like a very large backyard or cottage deck. I can’t wait to check it out!

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Game 2 preview: Labour Day @ Western Ontario

week_2_marquee_matchup

Photo image: OUA.ca

This is the earliest meeting between these two teams that I can remember. It seems to me that Guelph and UWO usually meet in late September or October. It is a little different to have the Mustangs will come in with a 1-0 record while the Gryphons are 0-1. The game is the OUA’s Marquee Game of the Week.

Regardless of record, this is a matchup of two of the OUA’s most talented teams. The Mustangs were the nearly unanimous favourites in the OUA’s preseason polls. At #3 they are also the top OUA team in the first national poll of the year.

The Mustangs return 6 starters on offense and 7 on defense. The Mustangs offense scares me more than their defense. Key returners on offense include starting QB Chris Merchant and RB Alex Taylor. The defense returns their LB corps and some excellent DBs. Their D-Line looks young based on the depth chart for last week’s game.

Game previews & related links:

OUA.ca website: Preview: Marquee Game of the Week

OUA.ca website: 55-man Rosters for Week 2

Gryphons.ca: Gryphons vs Mustangs – Week 2

It was a disappointing season opener for Guelph but the players moved on quickly.

“We all understand the challenge that we face this week,” says (DC Adam) Grandy. “The guys are very confident and have risen to that challenge of taking on an opponent like Western. Prep has been good.

WesternMustangs.ca:
Mustangs set to clash with Guelph in Monday’s home opener

Coach Marshall on the Gryphons

“Guelph’s got a more veteran team this year. They’ve got pretty much everyone back, quarterback [James Roberts] is back, they’ve got Jacob Scarfone back, and Johnny Augustine, they moved him to a receiver position. They’re strong. They lost a couple big bodies on the defensive line, but overall they have most of their team back. I really think that Guelph will be a really good test for us.

“I expect that they’ll be a playoff team this year and they’re coming off a really tough loss in double overtime to Ottawa, so they don’t want to start 0-2 and repeat what happened last year. I expect a very motivated Guelph team, and a very good football team that will come in here and give us a good game.

And from the London Free Press – Western Mustangs face Guelph Gryphons in first test of football season  …

MacNeill says his team wants to run the ball and didn’t run it as well as he would have liked against the Gee-Gees. The Gryphons ran it 35 times for 126 yards averaging 3.5 a carry. But they kept pounding away all game. Patrick Pierre ran 26 times for 100 yards.

MacNeill says the offence is still learning. He brought in Jean-Francois Joncas as a new offensive coordinator and the Gryphons are learning a new offence.

“Putting in a new offence; there are some growing pains along with that,” MacNeill said. “I’ve seen deficiencies we’ve had in the past that are being corrected. From that perspective we’re happy with the group of guys we have and the coaching staff.”

Look for the Gryphons to challenge the young, smallish Western defensive line although MacNeill says it’s more than just the defensive line.

My Take on this Game

The short version: I’m looking for a big bounce-back game from the Gryphons. I expect it will be quite close. While I understand that Western is favoured, I won’t be surprised if the Gryphons win.

I’m optimistic. In part, because of what I saw from the defense in Week 1. That was a championship-calibre defense in my opinion. Against Western you have to be prepared to deal with both the run and the pass game.

I think the real questions in this game are about the Gryphons offense. As bad as last week was, I’m prepared to be patient but I do want to see some adjustments and some progress. Converting on 2nd down will be key. Picking up 20 first downs is the bare minimum I want to see, as there is no way I want to give the Mustangs as many opportunities as the Gee-Gees offense had.

Veterans like QB James Roberts and H-Back Johnny Augustine need to make the small plays that eluded them against Ottawa. Those 5-yard gains on 2nd-&-3 that keep the chains moving and build momentum.

Among the young players on O, Patrick Pierre had a reasonably good game in his first start but he has some things he can improve on. The O-Line which had 3 new starters – Colin Jerome, Coulter Woodmansey and Benjamin Petrie – and a fourth player – Eric Starczala – in a new position should also improve over the course of the season. Hopefully it starts this week. It would be great to have LT Jaylan Guthrie back in the lineup after missing the exhibition event and game 1.

Recent Series History

Guelph has had competitive games with Western for the last decade but that changed in 2016 with a surprisingly one-sided game at Guelph’s Homecoming. The past decade has included a 5-game losing streak from 2008 to 2011 and a 4-game winning streak from 2012 to 2015.  Western leads the all-time series 44-15-12.

There hasn’t been a Yates Cup since 2006 without one of these teams in it.

Flush the Mustangs

2016 – 50-16 Western
2015 – 23-17  Guelph [Yates Cup]
2014 – 51-26  Guelph [Semi-final]
2014 – 49-46  Guelph
2013 – did not play
2012 – 42-39  Guelph
2011 –  33-29  Western
2010 –  15-8  Western
2009 –  41-39  Western
2008 –  47-16  Western
2007 –  31-17  Guelph

Broadcast options

TV:  Rogers Cable 13 [London/St.Thomas]
Radio:  Newstalk 1290 CJBK, CHRW Radio 94.9 FM & CUSN Radio with former Gryphon Alec Reid
Online:  www.oua.tv

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Details on the Gryphons loss to Ottawa

Scarfone TD.jpg

#2 Jacob Scarfone touchdown play     Photo: Gerry Fraser

Here are the links to the game recaps, the stats, et cetera:

Geegees.ca: Gee-Gees win double OT thriller in Guelph

The defence held Guelph quarterback James Roberts under 100 passing yards until deep in the fourth quarter, when a 74-yard pass resulted in the Gryphons’ first offensive touchdown.

Despite it not being a flashy win, the grit and determination displayed was the catalyst for the team’s win.

Gryphons.ca: Gryphons drop season opener to Ottawa 24-21 in double OT

“We’re happy with how we played,” Luke Korol said of the defensive unit. “Things like this happen. It’s just the way the game went. There are definitely areas that we can fix up and we’ll do that this week.

“We’ll respond and come back better.”

OUA.ca: Box score & Stats

OUA TV: full game archived video

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It’s hard to even know what to say.

Besides, I had to use the word “disappointment” too many times last year.

The coaches and players were all aware that the Gee-Gees were going to be a bigger challenge than the AUS teams they had faced in the pre-season but you have to wonder if their success in Nova Scotia wasn’t a detrimental factor.

Thinking about this game reminds me of 2011 and the loss to UofT. This game wasn’t as big an upset as that, but there are some similarities. This loss also brings back too many memories of last year.

DLine.jpg

Gryphon D-Line – #93 Charlie Taggart, #99 Greg Corfield & #5 Alain Cimankinda, along with Rush LB #54 Job Reinhart     Photo: Gerry Fraser

There was a bright side and that was the play of the defense. The D was absolutely outstanding. At this point I can’t remember the Gryphons playing a better defensive game in the past decade. Nor do I ever remember them recording 8 sacks in a single game – Alain Cimankinda 3.5, Job Reinhart 2.5 and Charlie Taggart 2.

The defense held the Gee-Gees to 90 rushing yards, an average of 3.2 yards per carry. Ottawa’s offensive star Bryce Vieira was limited to a total of 53 combined rushing and receiving yards. Linebacker Luke Korol led all tacklers with 12 solo tackles and 4 assists.

There was good and bad on Special Teams. Freshman returner Ryan Isenor was impressive in his debut. You NEVER want to give up a blocked punt but the Gryphons also partially blocked an Ottawa FG attempt. And a week after going 3 for 3 on FGs, including a 57-yarder, Gabe Ferraro hit 4 more of 36, 46, 38 & 49 yards, but he missed from 29 and 36 yards.

On offense, the most damning statistic isn’t the paltry yardage produced [257 net yards], the turnovers [2 INTs & several turnovers on downs] or the pass completion percentage [36%]. It is the ridiculously low number of first down – 11 [5 passing, 3 rushing & 3 via penalty]. I’ve always considered anything under 20 to be terrible.

When you’re not picking up first downs, you’re not moving the ball. When you’re not moving the ball, you’re losing in the battle for field position. That cost the Gryphons with three conceded safeties gifting the Gee-Gees with 6 points. The Gryphons had 13 two&outs and more series of only 3 plays.

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Gryphon Football Players of the Game – Week 1

PoG wk1.jpg

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Final thoughts on Summer Showdown

Summer Showdown 3♦ First off, I am strongly in favour of playing interlock games with teams from outside the OUA. At this point in time the pre-season is about the only time you can do it. I fully agree with Stu Lang that it adds to student-athlete experience. If knowing that you’re going to have the opportunity to play out-of-conference opponents each year makes the Gryphon program more attractive, then that is another reason to do it..

♦ The format was like a high school football jamboree but was new to USports football. I think it turned out well. With so little opportunity to play interlocking games in Canada, playing two teams at once is great.

♦ I heard nothing but good things from people who went to Antigonish, Nova Scotia to watch the games. Most made a holiday,  or mini-holiday, out of the trip. Everyone I talked to loved the food and hospitality.

♦ It seems Guelph went into the event relatively healthy and came out the same way. I noticed the names of three veterans who didn’t make the trip – Jaylan Guthrie, Riley Baines and Brandon Gordon. I didn’t hear of anyone suffering a significant injury.

♦ One of the stars of the event was sophomore receiver Jordan Terrio – 3 TDs, 6 receptions for 65 yards. He is still dealing with a hamstring issue but seems to be on top of it with help from new trainer Dave Wright. There is a Team App story on him – Terrio on the Wright path.

♦ In total, 11 receivers caught passes in the 4 mini-games. That doesn’t include a couple of veterans, Scarfone and Bresciani, who were targeted for passes that went incomplete. The Gryphons are in pretty good shape at the receiver position this year. If there is one new name to watch for in the group it might be Zeph Fraser, a Mississauga native and Laurier transfer who played two years of CEGEP football for OC Joncas at Champlain-Lennoxville.

♦ The Summer Showdown answered my primary concern at the quarterback position. Do we have depth behind James Roberts? That is, a solid number two QB who could step in and win us games the way Roberts did in 2014 when Jazz was hurt. For the first time since 2014, the answer is YES.

QB Theo Landers had an excellent day in Antigonish. In the equivalent of 1-1/2 quarters he was 11 of 15 for 149 yards passing the ball and accounted for another 46 yards on 6 carries. Most of those were scrambles where he picked up 1st downs and got out of bounds untouched. Freshmen QBs Brayden Lassemba and Deandre Rose also gained some valuable experience.

♦ After the way running back Patrick Pierre performed against StFX – 89 yards on 10 carries – I don’t have too much concern about him being the starting tailback heading into this season. Jamal Hooker is a different type of back who was also productive in Nova Scotia. Even though Brandon Gordon stayed home to recover, we all know what he can do.

♦ I had a brief conversation with Coach MacNeill about the games in Nova Scotia. Knowing that stats don’t tell the full story I asked him about young players who stood out for him. He cited two big defensive plays that he thought were outstanding.

First, DB Jason Richards [2nd year] tracked a receiver in motion from one side of the field to the other and made the tackle on him at the LOS. The other play was made by DB Datun Aketepe [2nd year] who came from a great distance to make an open field tackle. Freshman LB Kosi Onyeka played well in action against the StFX and MtA starters.

♦ Overall, Coach MacNeill was happy with the event and how the team played. He understood the disappointment of fans who wanted to watch the games and the importance of game broadcasts in promoting the sport, but he admitted to personally being happy that the OUA teams they will face in the next few weeks were not able to watch the game.

♦ I heard from one observer that the 2nd team D-Line looked very strong, alleviating his concerns about our depth at that position.

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Game 1 Preview: Ottawa GeeGees at Guelph

Last year in my preview of the Ottawa game I wrote …

I do think this will be the most closely contested game these teams have played in years. I expect Guelph to win but I’d feel a lot more comfortable if I knew who was healthy and would be playing on Saturday.

It’s hard to get any more “closely contested” than a 31-28 game decided in overtime.

We’ve had some young and inexperienced players step in and do a good job but as the schedule gets tougher I really hope we’ll see some key players back in the lineup on a weekly basis.

Well, that was wishful thinking about fielding a healthy veteran lineup in 2016. Fortunately, the Gryphons are in much better shape injury-wise heading into the season this year.

Last year I also wrote …

Ottawa has gone through a major overhaul of the coaching staff. The changes were primarily on the defensive side of the ball but the GeeGees also added former Gryphon O-Line coach Carl Tolmie. I’ve said several times that I thought these changes would have a positive effect.

For 2017 the Gee-Gees have kept their coaching staff intact and their focus has been on a “major overhaul” of their offensive and defensive lines. HC Jamie Barresi has talked frequently about needing to add “size and aggression” and they think they have done that. Several of their big recruits are 20-somethings from CJFL teams. The one who I think is the best athlete and will have the most immediate impact is a 23-year-old defensive end from Prague in the Czech Republic,  Alain Pae Jr..

GeeGees logo

One of Ottawa’s problems has been that they haven’t kept some of their best young linemen in the program. For example, the Gee-Gees had two freshmen OLs named to the OUA All Rookie team last year but neither have returned for their sophomore season. That lack of continuity hurts a program especially early in a season as it takes time to build the chemistry that a unit and a team needs.

My Thoughts on the Game

I expect the Gryphons to win this game. I won’t go as far as to say they will win easily but it shouldn’t go down-to-the-wire or OT. While the game will be competitivie I think Guelph will end up winning by double digits.

Last season, and its 3-5 record, was an aberration. I expect this Gryphon team to return to form and compete for the Yates Cup and a first round bye in the playoffs. That means winning at least 6, if not 7, games, and you have to beat Ottawa to do that.

I think the Gryphons beat Ottawa tomorrow because they are better along the line of scrimmage. Also, in recent years the Gryphon D has been excellent at taking away their opponent’s best offensive player. If they can do that with Ottawa RB Bryce Vieira then they should win comfortably. The Gee-Gees new starter at quarterback is Victor Twynstra, a 5th-year QB with no experience as a starter. Mind you, he did look good coming in late in a blowout loss in Guelph two years ago.

On the other side of the ball, Guelph has the most experienced QB in the OUA in James Roberts. He has a solid and healthy O-Line in front of him and lots of weapons around him, both young and old. Everything I’ve heard anyone anyone say about new OC JF Joncas’ offense has been positive and the Gryphons executed it well last week in Nova Scotia, though to be honest, the Gee-Gees will present a greater challenge than our AUS opponents.

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How the Teams are Ranked

The Football Writers of Canada [FRC] first USports Top 10 football poll doesn’t come out until after the game (August 29).

The 2017 OUA Uncovered preseason polls seem to agree that Guelph is the better team this year.

OUA polls

Neither team made Krown Countdown’s Power 7 ranking …

Power 7

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Game Previews & related links

From the Gryphons.ca season preview:

The Gee-Gees enter the 2017 season after saying goodbye to star quarterback Derek Wendel and playmaking wideout Mitchell Baines. Regardless, the Gee-Gees roster still boasts plenty of talent, led by dynamic running back Bryce Vieira who may be the best receiving back in the conference. Ottawa also boasts plenty of athleticism on the defensive side of the ball, led by linebacker Jackson Bennett who is a converted running back who also handles Ottawa’s kick return duties.

The Gryphons will be eager to avenge a loss from last year versus the Gee-Gees when the Gryphons wound up on the wrong end of a 31-28 game in Ottawa.

GeeGees.ca: No game preview

OUA 55-man Depth Charts: I haven’t seen anything yet nor had a response to this tweet …

USports Football Team Preview: UOttawa Gee-Gees

OUA.ca Game Preview: The game is the OUA Marquee Matchup of the Week

The series since 2007

This series has shifted. There were close games in 2007 & 2008. Then it was rather one-sided in favour of Ottawa from 2009 to 2011. The teams did not meet in 2012 or 2013. The tide turned strongly in favour of the Gryphons for two years before last seasons overtime game.

2016 – 31 – 28 (OT) Ottawa
2015 – 48 – 26 Guelph
2014 – 42 – 7  Guelph
2011 – 35 – 8  Ottawa
2010 – 54 – 11 Ottawa
2009 – 50 – 26 Ottawa
2008 – OUA quarter-final – 42 – 37  Ottawa
2007 – 31 – 23 Ottawa

Broadcast

The only place to watch the game live is OUA.tv.

Rogers Cable TV in Guelph, Cambridge, K-W, Brantford and Woodstock will show it tape delayed.

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More on Summer Showdown – Part 2

 

def huddleI combed through the game logs and here is what I came up with for Games 4 & 5 statistics.

Game #4 vs StFX

Defensive & Special Teams Tackles

Job Reinhart  2
Kosi Onyeka  2
Lukas Brennan  1
Dean Yaromich  1
Datun Aketepe 1
Elijah Walker 1
Derek Drouillard 1
Ben Lack 1
Jared Beeksma 1

Offensive Stats

Passing – Theo Landers – 5 of 8 for 39 yards
Brayden Lassemba – 1 of 3 for 3 yards

Rushing – Jamal Hooker – 4 carries for 24 yards, 1 TD
Harry Robinson – 5 for 39 yards
Theo Landers – 2 for 18 yards
Ryan Isenor – 1 for 5 yards

Receiving – Hordan Terrio – 3 for 31 yards, 1 TD
A.J. Chase – 2 for 18 yards
Ryan Isenor – 1 for 3 yards

Overview:

  • The Gryphons took a 7-0 lead on their second offensive series. It was a 9-play, 55-yard drive involving 3 pass attempts, 6 rushes. It culminated with an eight-yard TD run by Jamal Hooker.
  • With under three minutes left, a nice punt return by AJ Chase put the Guelph in StFX terristory. Three runs by Harry Robinson covering 33 yards put the Gryphons in the red zone. Jordan Terrio caught a 10 yard pass from Theodore Landers for the second major. 14-0
  • A 35 yard field goal with no time left on the clock by freshman Chris MacLean rounded out the Gryphons scoring as the X-Men were held off the score sheet.

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Game #5 vs Mt A –

Defensive & Special Teams Tackles

Josh Cassista 3
Dean Yaromich 2
A.J. Allen 2 (incl a sack)
Mitchell Thiele 1
Brandon Schofield 1
Joe Diorio 1
Daniel Facione 2
Jason Richards 1
Alex Jafs 1
Datun Aketepe 1

Offensive Stats

Passing – Deandre Rose – 4 of 8 for 21 yards

Rushing – Harry Robinson – 3 carries for 3 yards
Deandre Rose – 1 carries for 18 yards

Receiving – Sam Lewis – 1 for 3 yards
Aidan Mielszarek – 1 for 0 yards
Nick Mirijello – 1 for 13 yards
Zeke Margaritis – 1 for 5 yards

Overview

From AUS Game recap:

  • Guelph conceded a safety in opening two minutes as MtA took an early 2-0 lead
  • Mounties touchdown by Nathan Jones (3rd and goal) on a one yard run after a long drive gave them a 9-0 advantage
  • A rouge on the ensuing kick-off rounded out the scoring in the 10-0 Mount Allison win

I was a little disappointed that the Gryphons didn’t also win the fourth mini-game. Penalties certainly were a factor. Coach MacNeill said as much post-game.

 

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