Football Gryphs out of playoffs after last-minute loss
OTTAWA – The Guelph Gryphons were a minute away from grabbing the final OUA football league’s playoff berth when everything came crashing in on a windy and rainy Saturday.
A win over the Carleton Ravens would put the Gryphs in the playoffs, but Carleton rallied for a 29-27 win. The Ravens already had their playoff spot secured, but a loss to the Gryphs would put them in seventh with a match against the Laurier Golden Hawks in next weekend’s quarter-finals.
However, the Gryphs looked like having the short trip to Waterloo for a playoff game against the Golden Hawks as they held a 13-point lead with just over a minute to go.
A Carleton penalty for hitting Guelph punter Nick Guardiero gave the Gryphs a first down at the Carleton three-yard line. Two plays later rookie quarterback continued his touchdown streak as he found the endzone and a convert by Ben Lane put the Gryphs up 27-14 with two minutes to go.
Carleton got the ball back on their own 36 and started a seven-play drive that included four complete passes the finished with a five-yard TD toss from quarterback Tristan Lefebvre to Hunter Brown with 61 seconds to play.
While the Gryphs gained a first down thanks to another Carleton penalty, they had to punt the ball away when two rushing plays gained a total of a single yard. Guardiero’s punt went out of bounds at the Carleton 18 with 37 seconds to play.
That was enough time for the Ravens to find the Guelph endzone in three plays including passes of 42 yards to Tristan Ready and a 50-yard touchdown strike to Frederik Hachey. Brandon Forcier’s convert put Carleton ahead by one and they doubled that lead with a rouge on the kickoff.
Guelph got a final attempt to grab a playoff berth with the ball on their own 35 with 12 seconds to go, but time ran out after a pair of incomplete last-gasp pass attempts by Tristan Aboud.
While the Gryphs would get in the playoffs with a win, they could also get a spot in the postseason if the Toronto Varsity Blues defeated the Waterloo Warriors. While Toronto held an eight-point lead in the opening minute of the fourth quarter at Toronto’s Varsity Stadium, the Warriors rallied for a pair of touchdowns for a 26-21 win.
That left the Gryphs and Waterloo tied at 3-5, but the Warriors got the playoff berth thanks to their 30-23 win over Guelph Sept. 30 at Waterloo when the Warriors were triumphant after scoring 16 points in the final 2:01.
Saturday against Carleton, the Ravens led 7-3 at the end of the first quarter and 13-10 at halftime before the Gryphs jumped ahead 20-13 by the end of the third quarter.
Donavin Milloy (1 yard), Mason Duvall (4 yards) and McCray (3 yards) scored rushing touchdowns for the Gryphs while Kaine Stevenson caught a two-point convert pass and Lane kicked two converts. The Gryphs also had two safeties and a rouge.
Alex Gayle (4-yard run) had Carleton’s only touchdown that didn’t come in the final minute of the game. Forcier kicked three converts and field goals of 27 and 47 yards and the Ravens had two rouges.
Aboud completed 15 of 23 pass attempts for 168 yards, was intercepted once and was sacked five times for the second consecutive game.
Milloy was a workhorse as he had 30 carries for 199 yards and McCray had seven carries for 55 yards.Stevenson caught seven passes for 115 yards while Willem Arseneau had three catches for 24 yards.
Brandon Ferigo had five tackles for the Gryphs who didn’t have any sacks. Ferigo also had an interception.
Lefebvre completed 17 of 31 pass attempts for 221 yards and two TDs and was intercepted.
Gayle had 21 carries for 142 yards and Brown caught six passes for 64 yards.
The Gryphs had 25 first downs to 18 for Carleton and 419 yards in total offence to Carleton’s 363. Guelph also had possession of the ball for 37:21, almost a whole quarter (15 minutes) more than Carleton.
For the Gryphs, it’s the second consecutive year they finished out of the playoffs after they went 1-7 last year. They reached the West Division final after going 3-3 in the pandemic-shortened 2021 season.
- Guelph Sports Journal