Gryphons put it all together to crush Varsity Blues
GUELPH – The Guelph Gryphons turned in their most complete effort of the OUA football season Saturday as they demolished the Toronto Varsity Blues 48-0 at Alumni Stadium.
The 48 points were the highest single-game output of the season for the Gryphs and was a single point short of the combined total of their previous three games – a 14-12 loss to the Windsor Lancers, a 14-8 loss to the Queen’s Gaels and a 27-10 win over the Waterloo Warriors.
Guelph Gryphons 48 Toronto 0
The defence continued its stellar play, shutting down the Varsity Blues. The Gryphs held Toronto to 16 first downs (they had 33), 73 yards rushing (they had 180) and 165 yards passing (they had 425).
The Gryphon offence was rolling right from the start as they scored touchdowns on each of their first two possessions and added another one on their fifth possession.
Guelph scored 14 points in the first quarter, equalled that in the second quarter and added seven more in the third quarter.
Receiving touchdown twins Clark Barnes and Kiondre Smith accounted for five of the touchdowns, three by Barnes and two by Smith. Nick Mirijello had the other TD, also on a reception, while Eric Stranz kicked field goals of 21 and 13 yards and converted all six touchdowns.
Barnes scored what was eventually the winning touchdown 5:06 into the game on an eight-yard pass from quarterback Shawn Lal. Smith pulled in a 32-yarder from Lal just shy of four minutes later.
Smith added his second of the game with 3:12 to go in the first half as he latched onto a 38-yarder from Lal and Barnes came back with his second just under three minutes later on a 26-yard play.
Barnes had his third TD reception late in the third quarter, this one a three-yard pass from Deandre Rose.
Mirijello’s TD made it at least one touchdown toss from each of the three Gryphon quarterbacks as he caught a five-yard pass from Ettore Casati III.
Lal completed 25 of 32 pass attempts for 394 yards and four TDs, but was intercepted twice. Casati completed three of four attempts for 28 yards and his TD and Rose’s lone pass attempt was his TD toss.
Toronto QBs completed 11 of 26 pass attempts for 165 yards and one interception as Gryphon defensive back Ben Lack pulled down his second of the year.
Smith caught 12 passes for 175 yards and Barnes, OUA special teams player of the week last week, caught eight for 119 yards. St. James grad Jakob Tomas had three catches for 32 yards.
Nolan Lovegrove caught four passes for 64 yards to lead Toronto.
Kwame Osei had 12 carries for 80 yards for the Gryphs while Ross grad Teo Jean-Gaston had three carries for 31 yards and Craig Sherrington had five carries for 26 yards.
Adam Williams had 12 carries for 60 yards for Toronto.
Stranz averaged 41.3 yards per punt on the three he had in the game. Toronto’s Chris MacLean had eight for a 40.5-yard average.
Barnes didn’t have any return yards this week as Toronto chose to kick to Smith on their only kickoff. He returned it 10 yards and also returned seven punts, his normal return job, for 68 yards.
For the Varsity Blues, Ethan MacKinnon two punts for 19 yards while Maxwell Gyimah had six kickoff returns for 89 yards.
Stranz averaged 60 yards on eight kickoffs while MacLean’s lone kickoff was a 75-yarder.
Anthony Moretuzzo had six tackles and two breakups on defence for the Gryphs while Justin Lauzon had two sacks and Kole Watson, Lack and GCVI grad Brandon Ferigo had one apiece.
While only the first-place Western Mustangs (4-1) have clinched a playoff berth in the West Division, the four playoff participants in the East are known – Queen’s Gaels at 6-0 and Carleton Ravens, Toronto and Ottawa Gee-Gees, all at 2-3.
The Gryphs and Laurier Golden Hawks are tied for second in the West at 3-2 and will get playoff berths with wins next Saturday, the final day of the regular season. Windsor, McMaster Marauders and Waterloo are all at 2-3 and all have a shot at a playoff berth.
Two West teams will miss the playoffs while the winless York Lions (0-5) have already been knocked out of the playoff picture.
Next Saturday’s schedule has the Gryphs playing at McMaster at 1 p.m., Laurier playing at Waterloo at 1 p.m. and Western playing at Windsor at 2 p.m.
- Guelph Sports Journal