Football Gryphs top Toronto, host quarter-final Saturday
TORONTO – The Guelph Gryphons secured a home playoff game in the OUA football quarter-finals when they downed the Toronto Varsity Blues 40-26 at Varsity Stadium Saturday.
The Gryphs finish the regular season at 6-2 to tie with the McMaster Marauders for second place in the 11-team league. However, the Marauders win the tie-breaker thanks to their season-opening 25-10 win over the Gryphs at Alumni Stadium Aug. 25.
The top two teams in the standings – Western Mustangs at 8-0 and McMaster – get byes straight into semifinal games that they will host while the third- (Gryphs) and fourth-place (Ottawa Gee-Gees at 5-3) host quarter-final games Saturday.
The Gryphs did have a shot at finishing second, but they didn’t get the help they needed to do so. They had to beat Toronto and required the Waterloo Warriors (4-4) to beat McMaster Saturday. If that had happened, the Gryphs would have finished all alone in second. However, McMaster won 31-14.
While Toronto did score the first eight points of the game with a touchdown on their first play from scrimmage 11 seconds into the game and a rouge on the ensuing kickoff, the Gryphs responded with 17 points later in the quarter for their largest first-quarter output of the season.
The Gryphs were ahead 17-8 at the end of the first quarter and 19-16 at halftime before scoring the lone TD of the third quarter for a 26-16 lead.
Theo Landers had two fourth-quarter touchdown runs, one of 12 yards and the second one exactly twice as long.
The Gryphon ground game did surge ahead in the game as they gained 354 yards rushing on 31 carries for an average of 11.4 yards per rush. Kwame Osei gained 129 yards, Landers 113 and Juwan Jeffrey 102. Jeffrey scored a TD on a 25-yard run in the first quarter, the same quarter Clark Barnes scored a TD on a 10-yard run on his only carry of the game.
Guelph’s other TD was scored by A.J. Chase on an eight-yard toss from Landers in the third quarter. Landers did complete 23 passes for 285 yards.
Eric Stranz accounted for eight points as he kicked an 18-yard field goal and converted all five TDs.
The Gryphs also had a team safety.
While the Gryphs had 31 first downs in the game, they limited Toronto to 13 as Guelph had possession of the ball for more than 36 minutes.
There were a few concerns come out of the game, though. Gryphon quarterbacks fumbled three times (two by Landers, one by Dante Djan) and lost all three and they were also sacked four times for a loss of 14 yards.
Defensively, Jared Beeksma had six tackles and Tavius Robinson, Job Reinhart, A.J. Allen and Greg Corfield each recorded a sack.
Fourth-year defensive back Dotun Aketepe had an interception, his fourth of the season and eighth overall in his time with the Gryphs.
By finishing third the Gryphs are to host the sixth-place Carleton Ravens in a quarter-final match Saturday at Alumni Stadium.
Waterloo, Carleton and the Laurier Golden Hawks each finished with 4-4 records. Laurier was odd man out thanks to a 22-10 home loss to Carleton Friday.
The Gryphs defeated Carleton 37-20 at MNP Park in Ottawa Sept. 1 for their first win of the season and they went 5-1 after that game while the Ravens went 3-3 after that.
Game time Saturday is 1 p.m.
Gryphons 40 Varsity Blues 26
- Guelph Sports Journal