Football Gryphons stifle Varsity Blues to square record
Rob Massey, Guelph Sports Journal
TORONTO – The Guelph Gryphons used their smothering defence and scoring by their veterans to clout the Toronto Varsity Blues 43-6 for their second consecutive OUA football victory Saturday at Varsity Stadium.
“When it comes down to it, we executed the game plan,” Gryphon linebacker Derek Drouillard said. “When you look at the four quarters we played, we played the full 60 minutes. Last week was a dominating win (81-10 over Windsor Lancers), but we had to make sure we played 60 minutes. (Last week) we kind of got sloppy.”
“Winning both of these games just shows that we’re ready to come on and execute in this league,” Gryphon receiver Kian Schaffer-Baker said. “It shows that we’re a top-tier team and I don’t think we’ll be stopped.”
After conceding a safety early in the second quarter, the Gryphs struck for 33 consecutive points in a game that was never really in doubt.
“We were a little cautious or feeling it out a little bit in the first half, but second half the kids came out like gangbusters and shut down the game so it was good,” Gryphon coach Kevin MacNeill said.
Despite the scores of the games, matches between the Gryphons and Varsity Blues are usually tough, hard-hitting affairs and this one wasn’t any different.
“They’re a gritty team,” Drouillard said. “They work really hard. I think when you come into somebody’s house, they’ve always got a chip on their shoulder. They’ve got their home-fan support. When you take the will out of them, you can communicate early and you execute your plays like you want to, you take the steam out of them, but they’re a gritty team and they’re tough to play against.”
The Gryphs held Toronto to nine first downs – only one on the run – and 157 yards of total offence to claim the win. By comparison, the Gryphs had 22 first downs (nine rushing) and 500 yards of total offence on a humid afternoon.
Guelph’s points were all scored by veteran Gryphons as fourth-year receiver Jacob Scarfone caught touchdown passes of 36 and 55 yards from fourth-year quarterback James Roberts. Fifth-year slotback Johnny Augustine had TD runs of two and 21 yards and fourth-year kicker Gabe Ferraro accounted for all the other scoring as he kicked field goals of 30, 25, 39, 43 and 26 yards and four converts.
Ferraro has a couple of records in sight. Halfway through the season and he’s kicked 15 field goals. The OUA and team record is the 26 his brother and current coach Daniel kicked in 2014. He also has 231 points in his career. The team mark is the 290 Rob Maver recorded in four seasons (2006 to 2009).
Roberts was credited with completing 17 of 28 pass attempts for 327 yards and the two TDs while Theo Landers came in for the final five minutes and completed his only pass attempt for six yards.
Augustine had 13 carries for 86 yards and Jamal Hooker had 16 carries for 73 yards.
Schaffer-Baker caught nine passes for 132 yards while Scarfone caught four for 110.
“That just shows that the quarterback has got some trust in me,” Schaffer-Baker said of his number of catches. “It gives me a chance to show what I can do.”
On defence, Nick Parisotto and Drouillard each had an interception while Parisotto and Luke Korol each recovered a fumble. Korol also had a sack and he made eight solo and two assisted tackles.
“All credit has got to go to (defensive coordinator Adam) Grandy,” Drouillard said of his interception. “I know I got the interception, but I think it all goes to him. He made the check. When they show this formation set, we’re going to show a blitz and then drop out of it. We repped that all week. I dropped and I knew exactly what it was. You just have to execute the game plan and that’s where the plays come from and that’s all I did.”
Despite the win, the Gryphs come out of the game knowing they have things to work on as they took 11 penalties for 109 yards and they fumbled three times – once each by Hooker, Kade Belyk and Schaffer-Baker.
“I would’ve liked to have seen a little less penalties and a little cleaner football at times,” MacNeill said. “There were a lot of momentum changes and we have to hold on to the football better.”
“We had quite a few fumbles. A lot of us, we need to learn to tuck the ball in and run a bit more,” Schaffer-Baker said. “A lot of times we got into the red zone, but we couldn’t quite finish and we kicked a lot of field goals. We know we’ve got a good kicker so we get points no matter what.”
The result leaves the Gryphons at 2-2 with both losses coming in overtime while Toronto fell to 1-3.
Next up for the Gryphs is their annual Homecoming Game Saturday when they’re to host the McMaster Marauders (2-1) at Alumni Stadium. Game time is 1 p.m.