Football Gryphs dropped at Mac, but make playoffs
HAMILTON – The Ron Joyce Stadium jinx continues for the Guelph Gryphons, but it didn’t keep them out of the OUA football playoffs.
The Gryphs never led as they dropped their final game of the regular season 27-22 to the McMaster Marauders Saturday on Mac’s home field to finish at 3-3 and in a four-way tie for second in the West Division.
McMaster 27 Guelph Gryphons 22
Western Mustangs finished atop the division at 5-1 while the Gryphs, Laurier Golden Hawks, Waterloo Warriors and Mac all finished at 3-3. Windsor Lancers finished at 2-4.
Top four qualified for the playoffs so the calculators had to come out to decide which one of the 3-3 teams would be the unlucky dog. In the end it turned out to be Mac that would join Windsor on the playoff sidelines. Laurier was placed second, Guelph third and Waterloo fourth.
For the Gryphs, they’re still looking for their first win at Mac since a Halloween Day 47-24 victory in 1998. Since then it’s been a scary place for the locals as they’ve dropped 14 in a row in Hamilton.
Saturday, the Marauders scored on their first possession and led 7-3 at the end of the first quarter, 12-9 at halftime and 12-11 after the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, McMaster quarterback Andreas Dueck and receiver Jackson Cooling connected on a 70-yard touchdown play with 3:09 to go to put the hosts up 27-14.
After the Gryphs turned the ball over on downs inside the Mac 20, Guelph’s defence stood tough and the Marauders yielded a safety to cut the gap to 11 points.
Guelph QB Shawn Lal completed four consecutive passes, the fourth one a six-yard TD toss to Clark Barnes. A failed two-point convert attempt left the difference at five points and Mac dove on the ball on an attempted onside kickoff to preserve the victory.
Other than the last-minute TD by Barnes and two safeties, all of the remainder of Guelph’s points were put on the board by kicker Eric Stranz as hit on field goals of 46, 47, 19 and 43 yards.
Daniel Bosett and Liam Putt each had one-yard rushing TDs for McMaster while Adam Preocanin kicked a 31-yard field goal and two converts and David Bazzo caught a two-point convert pass. The Gryphs also conceded a safety.
Mac had 24 first downs (10 rushing and seven on Gryphon penalties) while the Gryphs had 17 first downs (13 passing).
The teams were fairly even in total yards with Guelph getting 355 and McMaster 364.
The Gryphs had 13 penalties for 111 yards while Mac had eight for 83 yards.
Guelph also threw two interceptions, lost a fumble and yielded 20 yards on two sacks while McMaster was intercepted once, recovered its own fumble and gave up 44 yards on four sacks.
Neither team converted any of their third-down gambles, the Gryphs coming up short on four of them and the Marauders on three.
Lal went the distance at QB for the Gryphs for the first time this year. He completed 23 of 41 pass attempts for 302 yards.
Kiondre Smith caught 10 passes for 123 yards and Barnes hauled in five for 70 yards.
Kaine Stevenson had six carries for 43 yards and Lal had two for nine yards.
Smith handled most of the returning chores as he returned nine punts for 102 yards and four kickoffs for 144 yards.
Anthony Moretuzzo had seven tackles and an interception while Jared Beeksma and Ben Lack each had five and a half tackles. A.J. Allen, Kosi Onyeka, Justin Lauzon and Josh Campbell each had one sack.
The Gryphs are to play Laurier at Waterloo’s University Stadium Saturday at 1 p.m. in a division semifinal.
Western is to host Waterloo in the other division semifinal.
The East Division semifinals feature Ottawa Gee-Gees (third at 3-3) at Toronto Varsity Blues (second at 3-3) and Carleton Ravens (fourth at 2-4) at Queen’s Gaels (first at 6-0).
The division semifinal winners are to meet in their respective division final Nov. 13 while division champs are to play in the Yates Cup championship match Nov. 20.
- Guelph Sports Journal