Gryphon Football Players of the Game – Week 4
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Good choices in my opinion. In Fraser’s first game of 2016, he was excellent with 12 catches for 93 yards. Carney was playing in the Safety position for just the second time in his CIS career. I wouldn’t count the missed 61-yard FG attempt against Ferraro. That was nothing but an attempt to win the game with a rouge. Had Ottawa not had a timeout left or their coaches not been on-the-ball enough to call it, I believe Guelph would have won the game 23-22.
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As I said in my previous post, while the game was entertaining the result was disappointing. But I wasn’t disappointed with the effort of the team. If the Gryphons were going to quit on what has started out as a disappointing season, this was a game where it could have happened. It didn’t.
The team struggled with some of the same issues that have plagued them thus far but I thought they gave a great effort. In the first 4 games and again in Ottawa, more young and inexperienced players have been forced to play than anyone could have expected. Along with that comes some of the rookie mistakes you would expect.
The Gryphons have made a lot of mistakes – missed tackles, dumb penalties, dropped balls, etc. – and they some of them have been by veterans. In spite of all that the reality is … this team is just a few plays away from being the only 4-0 team in the OUA.
On the bright side, we also now have a good number of young players who have gained some real CIS experience in the first 4 games. I’m not worried about this team going forward. The goal of going beyond another Yates Cup is still realistic in my opinion.
Of course, the voters in the weekly CIS Top 10 poll see it differently. They have got one thing right the past 2 weeks, unlike the previous two years Ottawa actually deserves their Top 10 ranking. This was a pretty good Gee-Gees team.
However, I don’t think Ottawa is the calibre of the 2015 Guelph or Western teams. Heck, a Double OT game is about as close as you can get to proving that two teams are equal and the 2016 Gryphons are not playing nearly as well as the 2015 version. Nonetheless, the voters have moved Ottawa up from #8 to #5 for playing what was almost a tie game on their home field. Meanwhile, Guelph receives a solitary vote this week compared to 32 points the previous week. That’s laughable.
On the road, the Gryphons proved themselves virtually equal to the now number #5 team in the country. How equal were these teams on Saturday? Mike Hogan noted in his OUA.ca In the Huddle column … This game was remarkably close in virtually every statistical category. Nobody would complain about a post-season rematch.
I like the Gryphons in any rematch. I think we saw Ottawa at close to their best while I think Guelph should be much better a month from now.
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One stat that wasn’t “remarkably close” was penalties. The Gryphons had 12 for 90 yards while the Gee-Gees were penalized 9 times for 72 yards. On the season the Gryphons have been penalized 22 times for 200 yards in their two losses but only 11 times for 110 yards in their two wins.
The Gryphons leading tackler was cornerback Akeem Knowles who was making the first start of his CIS career. Knowles had 8 solo and 2 assisted tackles. Linebacker Luke Korol had another solid game with 7 solo tackles. LB/DE Job Reinhart saw a lot of action with starting DE Derek Drouillard out of the game early and on crutches. He recorded 6 solo and 2 assisted tackles.
Knowles started in place of 5th-year veteran Colin Mandich who was too sick to make the trip. On the other side of the field true freshman Graham Brodie was starting his second game. He was filling in at the Field Corner position for Mikey Carney who has been playing Safety in the absence of Tristan Doughlin. There is a good story on Brodie on the Gryphon Football Team App – Local player making plays.
Brodie’s nerves have also been calmed by the faith the Gryphons have placed in him. A Bishop Macdonell Catholic High School graduate who has played on Team Canada and Team Ontario squads was named to the dress roster coming out of training camp.
“First-year games, it’s always tough going in there as a rookie, but the team really has my back and they seem confident in me so that really boosted me up,” he said. “I feel like I can play against some of the veteran guys.”
Despite his football background, the university league is a step up and he’s had to adjust to it.
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Quick highlights from the Ottawa game. The high school hallway the players appear to be walking down is uOttawa’s Lees Campus/Football building.