Gryphons fall to Gee-Gees in OT again
Rob Massey, Guelph Sports Journal
GUELPH – The Guelph Gryphons veterans must have had a feeling of déjà vu as the Gryphs opened their OUA football season with a 24-21 loss in double overtime to the Ottawa Gee-Gees Sunday at Alumni Stadium.
“We’ve got to stop shooting ourselves in the foot,” Gryphon coach Kevin MacNeill said. “We can’t mistakes. Even myself, there are some calls I’d like to take back in that game. We all have to improve a little bit. If we all keep on improving every single day, we’ll be OK.”
Last year at Ottawa, the Gryphs lost by three points (31-28) in double OT when the Gee-Gees scored a touchdown on their second possession of extra time after Gabe Ferraro had kicked a field goal to put Guelph ahead.
This year, Ferraro missed wide left on a 36-yard field goal attempt after Lewis Ward had booted a 28-yarder to put Ottawa ahead.
Scoring in the game was largely due to the feet of Ferraro and Ward. The only touchdown came when Gryphon quarterback James Roberts and veteran receiver Jacob Scarfone hooked up on a 74-yard scoring play with just over two and a half minutes to go in regulation time. A two-point conversion pass to Kian Schaffer-Baker reduced an 11-point deficit to three and the Gryphs got those three points when Ferraro hit a 38-yard field goal with one second to go.
“The guys battled like crazy for nine minutes in the fourth quarter to tie it up and put it into overtime,” MacNeill said. “We were down two scores, scored quick and that was great to see.”
The Gryphs had led 4-0 at the end of the first quarter and 7-5 at halftime, but trailed 9-7 after the third quarter as both teams struggled on offence.
Ferraro hit field goals of 36 and 46 yards in the first half and one of 49 yards in Guelph’s first possession of overtime. He also kicked a rouge in the first quarter when a 29-yard field-goal attempt went wide left.
Ward kicked field goals of 21, 27, 37 and 43 yards in regulation time and 41 and 28 yards in OT. He also missed from 37 and 42 yards.
Ottawa’s other points came of three safeties conceded by the Gryphs, the third one giving Ottawa a 9-7 lead with two and a half minutes to go in the third quarter.
Roberts completed nine of 25 pass attempts for 189 yards as he was hurried most of the game. He also threw two interceptions and was sacked three times.
Ottawa quarterbacks Alex Lavric and Victor Twynstra combined to connect on 27 of 42 pass attempts for 237 yards. They weren’t intercepted and didn’t throw any TDs, but were sacked eight times.
The game served as an introduction to Guelph fans of defensive lineman Alain Cimankinda and running back Patrick Pierre. Cimankinda, who was born in Congo and grew up in Ottawa, transferred from the New Mexico Military Institute in June. Once he got re-accustomed to four-down football and the size of the Canadian field, he recorded three solo and six assisted tackles and three and a half sacks for a loss of 22 yards.
Pierre started last season as a member of Guelph’s scout team until he was rewarded for his efforts on that squad with some playing time in the final three games of the regular season. With Johnny Augustine being moved to slotback, Pierre is the starting running back this season and he turned in a 100-yard effort on 26 carries Sunday. Augustine had three carries for eight yards and caught one pass for 23 yards.
Rookie Ryan Isenor also saw his debut as Gryphon kick returner. He returned 10 punts for 82 yards and two kickoffs for 49 yards.
On defence, Luke Korol had 12 solo and four assisted tackles while Job Reinhart had 2½ sacks for a loss of 15 yards and Charlie Taggart had two sacks for a loss of four yards. Akeem Knowles recovered a fumble.
The Gryphs were also whistled for 10 penalties (four for personal fouls, usually unnecessary roughing) and a loss of 95 yards, two penalties and 43 yards more than Ottawa.
“We were playing some young kids there and they made some bad decisions,” MacNeill said. “We took some guys out because of it and we’ll make them lessons learned.”
Next up for the Gryphs is a Labour Day match with the Western Mustangs at London. Game time is 7 p.m.
The Mustangs opened their season Sunday with a 66-3 win over the York Lions at York. In other openers, the defending champion Laurier Golden Hawks blanked the Toronto Varsity Blues 39-0 at Waterloo, the Waterloo Warriors won for the first time since the final game of the 2014 season when they downed the Windsor Lancers 54-33 at Windsor and the Carleton Ravens edged the Queen’s Gaels 22-17 at Kingston Saturday.
The McMaster Marauders had the bye, but beat the Saskatchewan Huskies 22-10 in an exhibition match Friday.
Western 66 York 3
The Mustangs scored two touchdowns in the final four and a half minutes of the first quarter to get on track for the win. They led 16-0 at the end of the quarter and added 18 points in the second quarter and 30 in the third to pull away.
Brett Ellerman caught touchdown passes of 54 and 29 yards from quarterback Chris Merchant while Cedric Joseph scored a pair of touchdowns on two-yard runs. Backup quarterback Stevenson Bone scored a TD on a one-yard run and found receiver Malik Besseghieur on a 75-yard scoring play.
Bleska Kabamba returned an interception 43 yards for a touchdown and Cole Majoros scored the other TD on a 90-yard punt return. The Mustangs recorded two safeties and Marc Liegghio kicked field goals of 13 and 18 yards, a rouge and seven converts.
London’s Dante Mastrogiuseppe scored the points for the Lions as he kicked a 12-yard field goal in the final minute of the first half.
Laurier 39 Toronto 0
The Golden Hawks held the Varsity Blues to seven first downs and 75 yards of total offence in the game while Laurier had 28 first downs and 492 yards of total offence.
Toronto didn’t throw any interceptions or fumble the ball away, but the quarterback Connor Ennis was sacked three times.
Laurier scored 10 points in the first quarter, eight in the second and 14 in the third on their way to the win.
Carson Ouellette caught a 52-yard TD pass from quarterback Michael Knevel while Osayi Iginuan (one yard), Levondre Gordon (13 yards) and Kevantye Bailey (20 yards) scored on runs. Nathan Mesher kicked field goals of 44, 21 and 13 yards and four converts. Laurier also scored a safety.
Waterloo 54 Windsor 33
The Warriors scored three consecutive touchdowns in the second half on their way to the win.
Windsor led 17-11 at the end of the first quarter and Waterloo went up 32-28 by halftime and extended the lead to 40-31 by the end of the third quarter.
The teams had 24 first downs apiece and combined for 744 yards of total offence – 382 by Waterloo.
Tyrell Ford returned punts 98 and 100 yards for TDs for Waterloo while quarterback Lucas McConnell tossed touchdown passes to Blair McKay (17 yards), Mitch Kernick (24 yards) and Richmond Nketiah (5 yards). Back-up quarterback hit Gordon Lam with a 17-yard scoring pass and Brandon Metz scored on a 20-yard run. Caleb Girard kicked seven converts and three rouges and the Warriors also had a safety.
Marvin Gaynor scored a TD on an 11-yard run for Windsor while quarterback Sam Girard hit Tristan Carter with an eight-yard scoring toss and Cassell Jones with a seven-yard TD pass. Clark Green hit field goals of 27 and 16 yards and added three converts. Windsor also had three safeties.
Carleton 22 Queen’s 17
Michael Arruda’s one-yard plunge into the end zone with 18 seconds to play lifted the Ravens to the win.
The teams were tied 3-3 at the end of the first quarter and Carleton led 12-3 at halftime. Queen’s jumped ahead 17-12 with back-to-back TDs by Matteo Del Brocco on passes from quarterback Nate Hobbs. The first one was an 18-yard play five and a half minutes into the second half and the second one came on a 16-yard play in the third minute of the fourth quarter.
Arruda’s TD was the first by Carleton’s offence. Frederik Robitaille had scored early in the second quarter on a 22-yard run after he recovered a fumble. Michael Domagala converted both TDs and kicked 37- and 27-yard field goals. The Ravens also had a safety.
Nick Liberatore accounted for the other points for the Gaels as he converted both TDs and added a 20-yard field goal.