Junior Gryphons ground Jets in OPFL playoff matches
GUELPH – The Guelph Junior Gryphons opened their Ontario Provincial Football League playoffs with a pair of quarter-final victories over the Toronto Jets Saturday at Alumni Stadium.
The Junior Gryphons hung on to win the Regional Junior Varsity match 37-34 after the hosts had won the Regional Bantam game 49-6.
Both teams are to host semifinal matches Saturday at Alumni Stadium. Game times and opponents are to be decided.
Regional Junior Varsity
The Junior Gryphons surrendered a touchdown on the opening play from scrimmage, but rallied to seemingly take control of the game in the third quarter.
A field goal that was kicked on the final play of the first half turned out to be a big play as it put the hosts up 24-14 at halftime.
The Junior Gryphons extended their lead in the third quarter with a pair of touchdowns and looked to be headed for an easy win.
However, the Jets weren’t about to roll over and surrender. They responded with three TDs in the fourth quarter to make the score close.
Ben Cottrell ran in for three touchdowns for the Junior Gryphs while Max Nixon kicked the field goal and added four converts. Jon Charbonneau returned an interception for a touchdown and Ty Dokis caught a TD pass.
Leo Gallo and Ivan Icaza each caught two touchdown passes for Toronto while Steven Di Vito added a touchdown and a two-point convert. Dayton Blackman had a touchdown and a two-point convert.
The win for the Junior Gryphons avenged their only loss of the regular season, a 13-10 setback May 18 at Esther Shiner Stadium in North York.
The Junior Gryphs had finished atop the South Division at 7-1-0 and were followed by the Woodstock Wolverines at 5-2-0, Toronto at 4-4-0, North Halton Crimson Tide at 4-4-0 and Clarington Knights at 3-5-0.
Sudbury Spartans finished first in the North Division at 6-2-0 while York Junior Lions were second at 5-2-0, North Bay Bulldogs third at 3-5-0, Orangeville Outlaws fourth at 2-6-0 and TNT Express fifth at 0-8-0.
This one wasn’t close as the Junior Gryphons returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown on their way to the one-sided win.
The game was played as a nine-on-nine contest as the Jets had 17 players for the game. That meant a narrower field, but it didn’t slow the hosts down.
Guelph led 21-0 at the end of the first quarter and 42-0 at halftime. The Jets added an unconverted touchdown in the third quarter while the Junior Gryphs scored another TD in the fourth quarter.
Owen Ellis broke loose for four touchdowns for the Junior Gryphons while Owen Pavia scored a touchdown on a plunge, Lemalachi Betton got one on a punt return and Caden Henry hauled in a TD pass. Carson Taylor converted all seven touchdowns.
Aquille Chamberlain scored the touchdown for the Jets.
The win was Guelph’s second over the Jets in as many weeks. The Junior Gryphons had completed their regular season with a 50-26 win at North York seven days earlier.
Guelph finished atop the South Division at 7-1-0 and were followed by Woodstock at 6-2-0, Clarington at 1-7-0 and Toronto at 0-8-0.
York was first in the North at 7-1-0 while North Bay and Orangeville both finished at 4-4-0 and TNT was at 3-5-0.
- Guelph Sports Journal