After a long and grueling regular season and playoffs, two teams have risen to the top and earned the right to play for the 105th Yates Cup on Saturday, Nov. 10. The defending champion McMaster Marauders will put their top ranking and 19-game winning streak on the line when they host the OUA second-seed Guelph Gryphons at Ron Joyce Stadium.
The 2012 edition of the McMaster team knows what it takes to be crowned Yates Cup champions. The Marauders won the 2011 title on the road by downing Western in convincing fashion. With the core of that team back this season, the Marauders are primed to hoist the trophy once again.
On the other hand, the Guelph Gryphons may be the surprise of the 2012 OUA season. After finishing last season 2-6 it would have been easy to discount Stu Lang’s squad, but after dropping the opening contest of 2012, Guelph reeled off seven straight regular season wins to finish second in the OUA. If there was any doubt that the Gryphons were for real, they put that to bed with gutsy wins over perennial powerhouses Western and Queen’s, including a come-from-behind win in the Yates Cup semifinal over the Gaels.
When the Gryphons and Marauders lock horns in the Yates Cup, the OUA season will end right where it began for both schools. The Marauders and Gryphons met in week one, and though McMaster was happy with the outcome, it served as motivation for the remainder of Guelph’s season.
In that game, Guelph jumped out to an early 7-2 lead on a 62-yard touchdown pass from second-year quarterback Jazz Lindsey (Markham, Ont.) to Michael Fortino (Niagara Falls, Ont.) midway through the first quarter. Unfortunately for the Gryphons, the play proved to be all the offence could muster as McMaster would score 48 consecutive points before giving up a safety to make the final score 50-9.
The week one meeting saw 2012 OUA most valuable player Kyle Quinlan (South Woodslee, Ont.) play to the form the OUA has grown accustomed to, throwing for 262 yards and three scores, while rushing for 104 yards.
Guelph running back Rob Farquharson (Niagara Falls, Ont.) flew under the radar in week one. The third-year back carried five times for 25 yards for the Gryphons. What not many across the OUA expected was for Farquharson to go off for 156 yards on the ground in his next contest, en route to 936 yards on the season, good enough for third in both the OUA and CIS.
Offence tends to get much of the credit on successful football teams, but the defence for both McMaster and Guelph deserve a major nod for their teams’ successes. The Marauders and Gryphons both finished atop the OUA in interceptions with 16. Both squads also feature some of the top tacklers and pass-rushers in the OUA. McMaster’s Ben D’Aguilar (Hamilton, Ont.) broke the CIS single season record for sacks with 12.5, while the Guelph D boasts three of the top ten tacklers in the OUA, in linebackers John Rush (Niagara Falls, Ont.), Jake Reinhart (Guelph, Ont.) and Jerryd Baines (Ottawa).
Will it be offence or defence that rules the day? Will the top ranked Marauders walk to their second title in as many years, or will the Gryphons relish their role as underdogs and shock the OUA football world?
No matter the outcome, history will be made on Saturday when the Guelph Gryphons and McMaster Marauders determine who will be crowned the champion of the 105th Yates Cup, presented by Pioneer Energy.
MCMASTER REGULAR SEASON LEADERS
Kyle Quinlan (South Woodslee, Ont.)
162 completions, 235 attempts, 2,457 yards, 19 touchdowns, 68.9% pass efficiency
Marshall Ferguson (Kingston, Ont.)
38 completions, 54 attempts, 482 yards, 3 touchdowns
Kasean Davis Reynolds (Mississauga, Ont.)
62 carries, 553 yards, 3 touchdowns, 8.9 yards per carry
Kyle Quinlan (South Woodslee, Ont.)
550 yards, 7 touchdowns
Robert Babic (Burlington, Ont.)
51 catches, 679 yards, 3 touchdowns
Brad Fochesato (Windsor, Ont.)
27 catches, 561 yards, 5 touchdowns
Aram Eisho (Hamilton, Ont.)
52.5 tackles, 50 solo tackles, 3 sacks,
Nick Shortill (Nobleton, Ont.)
34 tackles, 32 solo tackles, 4 sacks, 2 interceptions
Joey Cupido (Hamilton, Ont.)
28.5 tackles, 26 solo tackles, 4 sacks, 2 interceptions
GUELPH REGULAR SEASON LEADERS
Jazz Lindsey (Markham, Ont.)
128 completions, 228 attempts, 1601 yards, 12 touchdowns
Rob Farquharson (Niagara Falls, Ont.)
151 carries, 934 yards, 8 touchdowns
40 carries, 232 yards, 1 touchdown
Dylan Dimitroff (Burlington, Ont.)
29 catches, 330 yards, 2 touchdowns
Saxon Lindsey (Markham, Ont.)
23 catches, 240 yards, 3 touchdowns
John Rush (Niagara Falls, Ont.)
55 tackles, 41 solo tackles, 4.5 sacks. 2 interceptions
Jake Reinhart (Guelph, Ont.)
50 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 1 inteception
Jerryd Baines (Ottawa)
37.5 tackles, 3.0 sacks, 2 interceptions