Last year I wrote … the 2012 version of the York Lions is the most competitive team they have fielded in more than half a decade. This year’s Lions squad appears to be as good or even better. They played very tough in a road loss at McMaster. But they lost a key game this past week to Ottawa – 46-16. Yorkulions.ca has a full game story here. Friday night’s game in Guelph is a “must win” game for the Lions if they are to make the playoffs. York is currently 2-3.
The Lions have some offensive weapons, namely QB Myles Gibbon and freshman RB Errol Brooks. The Lions are 11th of the 27 teams in the CIS in offense but 4th in rushing yardage. As we saw last year Gibbon is a dual threat QB. That entire game changed in Guelph’s favour when Gibbon left with an injury. While Gibbon is a known commodity the play of Errol Brooks is one of the surprises of the OUA season. The rookie leads the OUA in rushing with 574 yards while averaging 8.4 ypc and 114.8 ypg. The Lion’s struggles have been more on defense – 9th in the OUA in points allowed and 8th in yardage given up.
The series since 2007: Rather one-sided to say the least.
2012 – 39 – 18 Guelph
2011 – 51 – 2 Guelph
2010 – 26 – 2 Guelph
2009 – 66 – 8 Guelph
2008 – 48-2 Guelph
2007 – 47-7 Guelph
My Thoughts: While I hope the Lions can make the Gryphons work hard to earn a victory I don’t give them much chance of pulling off the upset. Guelph needs to have a productive and consistent game from the offense regardless of who plays RB, WR, etc.. We will be 3/4 of the way through the regular season at the game’s conclusion. To use a couple of clichés, it is time for this offense to start hitting on all cylinders and play a full four quarters. If we don’t start doing it now it is not suddenly going to happen in the game at Queen’s in two weeks.
I really don’t know the status of any of the injured players who sat out the Waterloo game. I was just told at the time that several of them would have been able to play if it had been a playoff game. Thus I expect we’ll see several, but not all, of Rush, Farquharson, MacDonald, Dimitroff, Fraser and Dobush back. Two players yet to appear in the lineup this season may be available soon. DE Zack Mallough and LB Vince Lonsdale were “sick” rather than injured and are nearing full recovery. Both were key contributors on last year’s 7-1 team. When John Rush isn’t in the lineup you quickly realize how little game experience our linebacking corps has. Lonsdale would add to that and Mallough would boost the depth of an already strong DL group.
My final thought is on playing a Friday night game. It is something new and different. It’s worth trying from a marketing perspective. I just hope that the Athletic Department has put the effort into selling the game that it requires. [Publicity like this and this helps I’m sure.] If the game only draws one to two thousand spectators we may have just as well stuck with the normal Saturday afternoon format. But if the game can tap in that Friday Night Lights mystique it could be something to make a part of every season.
Certainly, the University of Saskatchewan has used that format with great success and developed one of the better game-day atmospheres. They have made Huskies games a major attraction while boosting their attendance and season ticket base. I have no idea if Guelph plans to use any of the in-stadium “gimmicks” of the UofS but I am quietly hoping we will see some fireworks.