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Gryphon football season ends with loss to Western

LONDON – Eric Stranz’s foot just couldn’t carry the Guelph Gryphons into the Yates Cup, OUA football’s championship game.

The Gryphs were downed 33-12 by the Western Mustangs in the West Division final Saturday at Western’s Alumni Stadium to see their season come to an end. Stranz accounted for all of the points for the Gryphs with four field goals.

Western 33 Guelph Gryphons 12

Western kicker Brian Garrity negated Stranz’s points as he booted four field goals for the hosts with three of them coming in the final six minutes of the game.

That meant Western’s touchdowns, all converted by Garrity, were the difference.

Western led 7-6 at the end of the first quarter and 14-9 at halftime before stretching the lead to 21-9 by the end of the third quarter. The Mustangs pulled away in the fourth quarter.

Stranz opened the scoring with his 47-yarder about a minute and a half into the contest.

However, the Mustangs went ahead for good about three and a quarter minutes later when running back Keon Edwards completed a seven-play, 75-yard drive with a one-yard TD plunge.

Edwards would do the same – score on a one-yard run – late in the second quarter after Stranz hit his 40-yarder late in the first quarter. The Gryphon kicker would also kick his 25-yarder on the final play of the opening half.

Justin Nickson caught a 19-yard TD toss from Evan Hillock with just less than five minutes to go in the third quarter.

The fourth quarter was all kicker with Garrity (40 yards at 0:12 of the quarter), Stranz (26 yards at 4:17), Garrity (14 yards at 9:20), Garrity (36 yards at 12:13) and Garrity (33 yards at 13:08) booting field goals in that order.

The Gryphs gained 262 yards of total offence (166 passing) on 62 plays, lost one of their two fumbles and took eight penalties that cost them 122 yards.

By comparison, Western had 355 yards of total offence (183 rushing) on 59 plays, lost their only fumble and took five penalties for 79 yards. The Mustangs also sacked Guelph quarterbacks five times.

Shawn Lal started at QB for the Gryphs. He hit 14 of 21 pass attempts for 100 yards, his longest being 18 yards. Ettore Casati III completed six of seven pass attempts for 57 yards and a longest of 16 yards and DeAndre Rose completed both of his pass attempts for nine yards. Casati was sacked three times while Lal and Rose were each sacked once.

Clark Barnes and Kiondre Smith had identical receiving records as they each caught six passes for 41 yards. Keegan Dicks caught four for a team-high 47 yards.

Jeremie Kankolongo carried the ball 15 times for 66 yards while Kaine Stevenson had nine carries for 47 yards.

Kosi Onyeka and Justin Lauzon each had 11 tackles while A.J. Allen had eight and Ethan Monaghan and Kristian Stewart each had seven. Stewart had two tackles for losses while Onyeka had one and a half.

Ben Lack had the lone interception of the game and he returned it two yards. It was his third interception in four games.

For Western, Hillock completed 13 of 21 pass attempts for 173 yards while Savaughn Magnaye-Jones caught four of those passes for 69 yards.

Edwards had 17 carries for 81 yards while Trey Humes had 14 carries for 75 yards and Edouard Wanadi had seven carries for 42 yards.

Former Gryphon Brendan Murphy had 13 tackles for Western while Deionte Knight had 12 including two sacks and three and a half tackles for losses.

Western advances to play the Queen’s Gaels in next weekend’s Yates Cup game at Richardson Stadium in Kingston. The Gaels defeated the Ottawa Gee-Gees 32-15 in the East Division final Saturday.

For the Gryphs, it was the eighth consecutive season they qualified for the playoffs. They won the Yates Cup in 2015 with a 23-17 win over the Mustangs at Western. Of the other seven seasons, they’ve been ousted by Western three times (2021 in league semifinals, 2018 in Yates Cup and 2017 in semifinal), McMaster Marauders three times (2019 in semifinal, 2016 in quarterfinal and 2014 in Yates Cup) and Queen’s once (2013 in semifinal).

Of the eight straight playoff appearances, 2015 was the only time their season ended on their own Alumni Stadium field when they dropped the national semifinal Mitchell Bowl 25-10 to the Quebec champion Montreal Carabins.

Looking ahead, the Gryphs have two players (linebacker A.J. Allen, offensive lineman Ben Petrie) on their roster who are in their fifth year of eligibility and three others (receiver A.J. Chase, linebacker Jared Beeksma, fullback Nick Mirijello) in their third.


  • Guelph Sports Journal