Yates Cup … here we come!!
To quote DB Iain Hutchison, we’re … “back where we belong”.
I also overheard Tom Newbigging tell Jeff Feagan and some other alumni, “it’s a great season when you beat Western twice”. When I thought about that I realized this really is a special accomplishment. Several times in the 1980s & ’90s Guelph teams beat the Mustangs in the playoffs after losing to them in the regular season. Western reversed that in 2007. But I can’t think of a season when Guelph actually did beat Western twice. Maybe 1987?
My prediction of 70 total points wasn’t too far off the mark with the final score of 51-26 totalling 77. But I have to admit I never would have predicted Guelph would score 51 if I’d known QB Jazz Lindsey and WR A’dre Fraser would be out of the game in the 1st Half with injuries. I’ve said since the first time I watched James Roberts that this young man is nothing if not POISED. [As COOL as a cucumber.] His performance [12 of 21 for 238 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT] was all you could ask for from a freshman thrown into that situation.
You could highlight the play of Rob Farquharson [232 yards on 25 carries, 3 TDs] and Lucas Spagnuolo [4 receptions for 137, 2 TDs] but the entire offense stepped up. How can you not love the performance of the O-Line, who facing possibly the best D-Line in the CIS, opened the holes for Farquharson and protected the QB almost flawlessly. And how about Johnny Augustine? His stat line – 3 rushes for 6 yards doesn’t begin to indicate his importance. He turned into a virtual fullback ploughing a path for Farq. So much so that late in the game Western defenders started cutting him down rather than being blocked into oblivion. This was a team win.
If any player had to protect himself from low blocks it was DE Cam Walker. Every time I watched him there was a Western player trying to take him out at the knees, whether it be a lineman or a fullback. And no wonder Western wanted to take him out, Walker was a beast, forcing a fumble, recording a sack and 5 TFLs [tackles for loss]. On one play I watched him defeat two blockers and still bring the RB down by himself behind the LOS. Walker had nine solo tackles and was only surpassed in that category by LB John Rush who recorded 13. Another highlight was 5 PBUs [passes broken up] by Gryphon cornerbacks Colin Mandich (3) and Mikey Carney (2).
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The game stories & other links:
Coming into the game all eyes were on Western’s backup quarterback Stevenson Bone, who was filling in for injured starter Will Finch. By the end of the game, it was Guelph’s backup quarterback who stole the spotlight. In the first quarter, Jazz Lindsey was shaken up and was forced to leave the game after landing hard at the end of a first down run. In his place stepped rookie James Roberts. And he did not look like a rookie out there.
Westernmustangs.ca – Mustangs eliminated by Gryphons in OUA Semi-Finals
London Free Press – Western Mustangs lose 51-26 to Guelph Gryphons in OUA football semifinal
On Saturday, the Gryphons responded the way a champion should respond. They lost starting quarterback Jazz Lindsey to a shoulder injury late in the first quarter. Backup James Roberts came in and played like a veteran, throwing three touchdown passes.
The Gryphons needed to run the football, something the Mustangs wanted them to do. The Gryphons responded to the challenge, running for 274 yards with Rob Farquharson notching 232 of those yards.
Guelph Mercury – Guelph Gryphons advance to Yates Cup final
Check the CIS website for the Box score and game stats
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In spite of the weather [cool temps with light rain] I thought the atmosphere for the game was great and it started hours before the kickoff. I have to say I was impressed by the turnout at the “pre-game social event” in P7. When I arrived at 10 a.m. the Parents of Players group was fully setup – motorhome, generator, tents, tables, barbeques, etc.. The food options were amazing as long as you like pork – pulled pork, back bacon, Pigs-in-a-blanket, Prosciutto to name just a few options. I got so busy talking to people I didn’t notice until past noon that the entire parking lot had filled up and there were hundreds of others doing some “pre-game socializing” including a very large number of alumni with family and friends.