Thoughts on the Waterloo game

Alec Charette versus Waterloo Photo credit: Lou Toppan

Alec Charette versus Waterloo
Photo credit: Lou Toppan

It was another one of those “a win is a win” games. The Mercury’s Rob Massey hits on that theme in his game story – Gryphons unhappy but clout Waterloo to remain unbeaten.

It was a win and that was about all the Guelph Gryphons were happy about Saturday as they remained undefeated in OUA football with a 41-19 victory over the Waterloo Warriors.

The halftime score 35-6 better reflects the abilities of this Gryphon team than the final score. And Gryphon players and coaches know it from the quotes I read.

“It was obviously a win and the 12th one, which is important, but if any win can make you unhappy, today was that win,” Gryphon coach Stu Lang said. “I have higher expectations for our players.”

“We weren’t happy with the way we performed in the second half,” receiver Alex Charette said. “We have a lot to improve on still.”

Certainly there were some ready-made excuses for the poor performance. The Gryphons were missing a bunch of important players including John Rush, Rob Farquharson, Dillon Dimitroff, A’dre Fraser and Bryson Dobush among others. But I really don’t think that absolves them for the mistakes, poor execution and penalties.

Mind you, it wasn’t all bad. When the Gryphons eliminated the mistakes and executed crisply in the 2nd Q they were dynamite. Like the 3rd Q against Mac or the final drive versus Windsor we were seeing the real potential of this team. If Guelph plays to their full potential for four quarters they have the potential to win the Vanier Cup, not in the future, but this year. The problem is that the Gryphons have yet to play “a full four-quarters” game this year.

*     *     *

The most consistent element of the Gryphons has been the defense. It was thought to be one of the more vulnerable elements of this year’s squad because of the significant turnover in personnel. Not many people thought this D could lose vets like Mike Millar, Jake Reinhart, Jarryd Baines, Brian Dunjko, Zack Androschuk et al, and not take a step back. I think their are two explanations for that – coaching and recruiting.

Obviously DC Kevin MacNeill and his position coaches are doing a great job. Combine that with a boatload of talented players from recent recruiting classes and Guelph’s D is better than ever. The Gryphons are among the national leaders in many defensive stats. That includes being #1 in sacks, #1 in rushing yardage [54.8 ypg], second in interceptions, third in yardage given up [273.6 ypg], fourth in scoring defense [16.6ppg] and fifth [#1 in the OUA] in passing yardage surrendered [218.8 ypg].

On this defense it begins up front. Our DLs generate a huge amount of pressure without having to blitz. Starters Ian Marouf [6.5 sacks], Jeff Finley [5.5], Cam Walker [5] and Jordan Thompson [4.5] are all among the top 13 in CIS sack leaders. Yesterday versus the Warriors was another demonstration of the dominance of the Guelph front 7 as they recorded 9 sacks. And to illustrate the depth we have there, 4 of the 9 sacks came from Blake McNeely, Andrew Graham [2] and Mike Halfday who were recording their first OUA sacks. In fact, third-year DL Halfday was playing in his first regular season OUA game.

Another young Gryphon who recorded a first was redshirt freshman DB Ryan Nieuwesteeg with an interception. Nieuwesteeg has been a Special Forces regular this year but got his INT playing corner in relief of starter Colin Mandich [1 solo tackle & 2 pass breakups]. At the other corner spot [field side] Mikey Carney got his first start after starting the first four games of the season at Field Half. Brandon Hunter [2 solo tackles] got the start at Field Half, his first I believe.

*     *     *

On the offensive side of the ball standouts included Jazz and Saxon Lindsey, Johnny Augustine, Alex Charette and the offensive line. Jazz was 19 of 33 for 249 yards and 4 TDs. The blemish on  his stats line was 4 INTs, though none of them proved costly. Saxon led all receivers in the game with 9 catches for 98 yards and 2 TDs. Charette seemed to be making plays all over the place though many of them were on specials. He caught 4 passes for 42 yards but the play of the game may have been his 125 yard return of a missed FG for a TD. That helped offset a couple of penalties he drew for holding.

Johnny Augustine breaks away for a big gain vs Waterloo Photo credit: Lou Toppan

Johnny Augustine breaks away for a big gain vs Waterloo
Photo credit: Lou Toppan

Freshman TB Augustine had an outstanding game running for 126 yards on just 13 carries, the second time this freshman has broken the 100 yard barrier. Guelph’s only other tailback playing yesterday was third year player Stephen Gauntlet. He rushed 10 times for 44 yards. Another notable performance was Carl Trivieri‘s. He only had two receptions for 55 yards but he made the most of each, scoring two TDs.

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For full game stats, box score and a play-by-play record of the game go to the CIS website: http://english.cis-sic.ca/sports/fball/2014-15/boxscores/20130928_842t.xml

A story from uWaterloo.ca –  Gryphons remain perfect with 41-19 win over Warriors

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