Gryphons suffer Homecoming setback to McMaster

Rob Massey, Guelph Sports Journal

GUELPH – Homecoming was again not kind to the Guelph Gryphons as they were dropped 29-9 by the McMaster Marauders on a scorching hot Saturday afternoon at Alumni Stadium.

The loss leaves the Gryphs in a position where they need to win at least two of their final three games of the OUA football league’s regular season to be assured of the playoff berth. They got into the playoffs at 3-5 last year, but that record might not be good enough this year.

Five teams already have at least three wins and six teams qualify for the playoffs.

“We’ve just got to get better, that’s it,” Gryphon running back Johnny Augustine said. “There’s nothing else to it. It’s just get better.”

“We just have to move on to the next one,” linebacker Riley Baines said. “That’s it.”

Such was the game that Dario Di Renzo who runs the Gryphon flag around the stadium’s track following TDs by the home team never ran a lap Saturday as the Gryphs dropped their second consecutive Homecoming Game.

“We just need to be better,” Baines said. “We need to work harder at practice and it’ll translate into the game.”

Thanks to the foot of Gabe Ferraro, the Gryphons were close in the first half. His field goals of 19 and 22 yards in the first quarter gave Guelph a 6-0 lead at the end of the quarter before the Marauders scored a field goal and touchdown in the second quarter to shoot ahead before Ferraro hit from 48 yards on the final play of the opening half to cut the gap to 10-9. A return by Jacob Scarfone of a wide field goal attempt set up the Gryphon field goal.

The second half was all McMaster as the Gryphs went to back-up quarterback Theo Landers after starter James Roberts was knocked out of the game when he was hit by fifth-year defensive end Mark Mackie as he tried to find room to run.

Landers has played in every game this season, usually on third-and-short plays although he did replace an injured Roberts on the final play of overtime against Western and was sacked. Landers also played about a 22 minutes in the lopsided win over the Windsor Lancers and also the final five minutes of last weekend’s win over the Toronto Varsity Blues.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s James or not, whoever is at quarterback we have to rally with them,” Augustine said. “We’ve got to support and protect.”

Saturday, Roberts completed 11 of 18 pass attempts for 125 yards and Landers completed nine of 15 attempts for 80 yards. He was intercepted twice and both had long returns, one by Nolan Putt for 67 yards and the other by Jake Heathcote for 26 yards.

Landers ran for 48 yards on 13 carries while Augustine carried the ball 20 times for 72 yards.

On defence for the hosts, Royce Metchie had five solo tackles and five assisted tackles while Nick Parisotto had five solo and three assisted tackles and Baines had six assisted and one unassisted tackles. Luke Korol had the game’s only sack.

“We didn’t force turnovers, which is a bummer,” Baines said.

Guelph native and McMaster rookie Tommy Nield had a productive game for the Marauders. He caught three passes from quarterback Jackson White for 81 yards including one of 64 yards that went for a TD early in the second half.

McMaster’s points came as Tyson Middlemost caught an 11-yard TD pass from White in the second quarter, Nield scored his TD in the third quarter and Jordan Lyons scored on a six-yard TD run with 66 seconds to go in the game. Adam Preocanin scored field goals of 23 and 38 yards and three converts. And the Gryphs conceded a safety midway through the third quarter.

The loss was Guelph’s first setback in regulation time this season. Both of their other losses, to the Ottawa Gee-Gees and Western Mustangs, came in overtime.

Left on Guelph’s schedule is a game against the Waterloo Warriors (4-1) at Waterloo Sept. 30, home against the Laurier Golden Hawks (4-0) Oct. 14 and in Ottawa against the Carleton Ravens (1-3) Oct. 21.

“Everything,” Augustine answered when asked what the Gryphs needed to concentrate on during practice this week. “There’s not one particular thing. We just have to execute everything.”

“We’ve just got to be better as a unit – all phases,” Baines said. “It’s as simple as that.”