Gryphons honour best of D10 football’s 2016 season
Rob Massey, Guelph Sports Journal
GUELPH – District 10 high school football, with help from the University of Guelph Gryphons varsity football team, honoured its best from the 2016 season Thursday.
The top awards for individual players were handed out at a luncheon hosted by the Gryphs at Cutten Fields.
Simon Chaves, quarterback and defensive back for the champion Guelph CVI Green Gaels, was named the winner of the Nick FitzGibbon Award as the league’s most outstanding player. Receiver Tommy Nield of the Centennial Spartans was named the offensive player of the year while Brandon Ferigo of GCVI was the top defensive player. GCVI lineman Tavius Robinson was named the lineman of the year while rookie-of-the-year award went to offensive lineman Desmond McGregor of the St. James Lions.
Chaves and Nield will move on to university football, Chaves with the Gryphs and Nield with either the Gryphs or the McMaster Marauders. Chaves also hopes to join older brother Alexander on the varsity wrestling team. The other three plan to be back in D10 football next fall.
Each had their favourite memories from the 2016 season. For the Gaels, it was the championship game.
“The drive — the last drive we had in the D10 final,” Chaves said. “I think it was the last 37 seconds, or something like that.”
That drive that started deep in their own zone resulted in a rouge on the final play of the game that broke the tie between GCVI and St. James.
“That last point and seeing the ref throw up the one, then I knew we’d won it,” Robinson said. “That was the best memory.”
“I definitely think of the game, the final D10 championship,” Ferigo said. “It was crazy and it was so much fun. It was up and down, an emotional roller coaster, really.”
“Definitely being in the finals for the championship,” McGregor said. “That’s always going to stay with me even as I get older and keep playing for this team. For my first year to be a starter as a Grade 9, that’s great to make it there.
“I’ve played football all my life and it was definitely one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. We were so close to winning. I wish we’d come out on top, but what happened happened.”
“Definitely it just being my last year of high school football and playing with all my friends,” Nield said. “It was a great experience and I’ll never forget it.”
In D10 football, players play it tough on the field, but there’s plenty of respect for the opposition. It also helps that many of the top players in the league are summer teammates on Guelph Minor Football Association Junior Gryphons teams.
“You don’t hate the other team, you have friends on it,” Ferigo said. “You don’t mind playing them, but you don’t hate them or anything.”
After every D10 game it is common to see opponents standing together chatting about the game – talking, not arguing.
All of the individual award winners will continue to work out to prepare for their next season of school football, whether it be at the university or high school level. Each also plans to play summer football, all with Junior Gryphons teams except McGregor who will play with the Cambridge Lions where he has played for years.
Nield’s reasons for continuing his workouts are pretty much the same as all the others.
“I’ve just got to put on some weight, keep up in the gym and just get bigger, faster and stronger,” he said.