I had the pleasure of attending the Niagara Spears team banquet last night where I watched my son be inducted into the Spears Hall of Fame. With the recent death of 21 year old Zach Duguay, a former Spears player and assistant coach, it was a very emotional evening. Zack’s father, Brian, is HC of the JV Spears and his sister Jocelyn is the team’s Governor. They made several presentations during the evening.
Perhaps the surprise of the evening was Varsity HC Dave Howe’s announcement that he was retiring. Howe has been the head coach of the Varsity team since it was established in 2005 and he has been inducted into the of the OVFL’s Hall of Fame. I would think that several dozen current and former Gryphons have played for Coach Howe.
With the addition last night of Jedd Gardner and Jordan Duncan I believe the Spears H-o-F has eight inducted players. Former Gryphon James Savoie was inducted in the inaugural class in 2010.
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While the Spears have contributed a significant amount of talent to the Gryphons, Guelph has recruited and welcomed players from all OVFL and OFC teams. The recently announced OVFL Varsity All Star team reflects that with five recruits and one redshirt freshman being named to the 2012 edition.
Congratulations to these Gryphons: Tyler Case – OT – Hamilton Ironmen; Pat McGrath – LB – Sault Ste Marie Sabrecats; Tristan Doughlin – DB – Metro Toronto Wildcats; Zack Mallough – DT – London Jr Mustangs; Zachary Bader-Shamai – OC – Metro Toronto Wildcats. Gryphon RB recruit Travis Jennings was also named to the team as a wide receiver after a great season with the Metro Wildcats. Jennings has opted for a victory lap and plans to join the Gryphons in 2013.
Another incoming freshman who deserves some accolades is Sault Sabrecats receiver Colin Booth. Booth finished in the top ten in three OVFL statistical categories – 3rd in number of receptions , 5th in receiving yardage [650 yds] and 8th in kickoff return yards [avg 25.5 yds]. Booth was the 2011 MVP of Sault Ste Marie high school football.
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Gryphon players were also involved in the OVFL coaching ranks this summer. Second year Gryphons Jacob Harpell and Ryan O’Connor coached with their former OVFL teams, Kingston Grenadiers and Oshawa Hawkeyes. Incoming recruit Rob Carnegie worked with the running back on a very good Grenadiers JV team [7-1]. Harpell told me he has “learned a lot from the experience of seeing the game from a different angle”.