Young Gryphons gain experience in Yates Cup loss

LONDON – Experience might have been the best thing the Guelph Gryphons gained in their 63-14 loss to the top-ranked Western Mustangs in Saturday’s OUA football Yates Cup championship game at TD Stadium.

“I’m proud of the way we competed today,” Gryphon coach Todd Galloway said. “It was just some simple mistakes in the first quarter and they capitalized on them. We dug that hole and we struggled getting out.”

The Gryphs trailed 14-0 at the end of the first quarter, 39-7 at halftime and 53-14 after three quarters.

To compare the championship-game combatants, both teams had three players in their fifth year of eligibility on their game roster while the Gryphs had nine in their fourth year and 18 in their first. Western had 12 in their fourth year and 13 in their first year.

For the Mustangs in the final, TD Stadium really was TD stadium as they scored eight of them in the championship game, three apiece by running back Cedric Joseph and quarterback Chris Merchant.

Mackenzie Ferguson returned an interception 36 yards to the house and Griffin Campbell caught a 24-yard pass from Merchant for Western’s other touchdown.

The Gryphs scored a pair of TDs, one by Kian Schaffer-Baker on a four-yard toss from Theo Landers on the final play of the first half and the other on a 57-yard scamper by rookie running back Jean-Paul Cimankinda less than three minutes into the second half.

“It was tough at first, but we got used to it,” Cimankinda said of running against Western’s defence. “We knew they were just like us. They were big, but they were just like us. They have weaknesses and we took advantage of it.”

While the Gryphs left the field disappointed with the result, there were some positive to take out of their first Yates Cup appearance since they won it in 2015 on the same field.

“I’m confident we’ll be back next year,” Cimankinda said. “We’ve just got to work together and rise as one.”

Cimankinda had a game-high 148 yards rushing on 20 carries and Guelph’s offensive line gave Landers enough protection that he wasn’t sacked in the game.

The Gryphs will lose more than the three players who have used up their five years of eligibility – kicker Gabe Ferraro, linebacker Lukas Korol and offensive lineman Eric Starczala – and receiver Thomas Bresciani who won’t be eligible because of his age as some of the 11 fourth-year Gryphons will graduate and move on to the next stage of their lives.

Those coming back will know that they’ll have to increase their efforts even more if they’re to compete for a conference title, let alone a national crown.


Mustangs 63 Gryphons 14
Guelph               0-7-7-0–14
Western     14-25-14-10–63
First Quarter
Western, TD, Joseph (25-yd. run), Liegghio kick good, 6:15
Western, TD, Ferguson (36-yd. interception return), Liegghio kick good, 10:04
Second Quarter
Western, TD, Merchant (24-yd. run), Liegghio kick good, 1:24
Western, Team safety, 2:51
Western, Team safety, 6:23
Western, TD, Joseph (21-yd. run), Liegghio kick good, 7:03
Western, TD, Campbell (24-yd. pass from Merchant), Liegghio kick good, 12:22
Guelph, TD, Schaffer-Baker (4-yd. pass from Landers), Ferraro kick good, 15:00
Third Quarter
Guelph, TD, J-P.Cimankinda (57-yd. run), Ferraro kick good, 2:38
Western, TD, Merchant (13-yd. run), Liegghio kick good, 3:50
Western, TD, Merchant (1-yd. run), Liegghio kick good, 11:58
Fourth Quarter
Western, TD, Joseph (33-yd. run), Liegghio kick good, 1:02
Western, FG, Liegghio (9 yds.), 11:02
First Downs: Guelph 15; Western 35
First Downs via Passing: Guelph 5; Western 15
First Downs via Rushing: Guelph 10; Western 19
First Downs via Penalty: Guelph 0; Western 1
Total Offense: Guelph 259; Western 637
Total Offensive Plays: Guelph 57; Western 61
Average Gain Per Play: Guelph 4.5; Western 10.4
Net Yards Passing: Guelph 69; Western 354
Completions-Attempts: Guelph 12-27; Western 21-25
Net Yards Per Pass Play: Guelph 2.6; Western 14.2
Sacked (no.-yds): Guelph 0-0; Western 0-0
Had Intercepted: Guelph 1; Western 1
Net Yards Rushing: Guelph 212; Western 286
Rushing Attempts: Guelph 30; Western 36
Average Gain Per Rush: Guelph 7.1; Western 7.9
Punts (no.-yds): Guelph 8-226; Western 2-85
Punting Average: Guelph 28.3; Western 42.5
Total Return Yards: Guelph 116; Western 103
Punt Returns (no.-yds): Guelph 1-0; Western 5-45
Kickoff Returns (no.-yds): Guelph 8-116; Western 2-22
Interception Returns (no.-yds): Guelph 1-0; Western 1-36
Penalties (no.-yds): Guelph 7-60; Western 0-0
Fumbles (no.-lost): Guelph 1-0; Western 1-1
Sacks (no.-yds): Guelph 0-0; Western 0-0
Interceptions (no.-yds): Guelph 1-0; Western 1-36
Time of Possession: Guelph 28:00; Western 32:00
Rushing (no.-yds): Guelph — J-P.Cimankinda 20-148, Landers 10-64; Western — Joseph 13-122, Merchant 7-66, Humes 8-49, Taylor 5-29, John 3-20.
Passing (rec-att-yds-td-int): Guelph — Landers 12-27-69-1-1; Western — Merchant 19-22-324-1-1, John 2-3-30-0-0.
Receiving (no.-yds): Guelph — Belyk 7-37, Schaffer-Baker 3-23, Z.Fraser 1-11, J-P.Cimankinda 1-minus 2; Western — McMaster 6-113, Majoros 3-54, Campbell 2-43, Taylor 3-40, Besseghieur 4-37, Joseph 1-30, Rocheleau 1-26, Nichols 1-11.
Field Goals (made-att): Guelph — Ferraro 0-0; Western — Liegghio 1-1.
Converts (made-att): Guelph — Ferraro 2-2; Western — Liegghio 8-8.
Rouges: Guelph — none; Western – none.
Punts (no.-yds): Guelph — Ferraro 8-226; Western — Liegghio 2-85.
Kickoffs (no.-yds): Guelph — Ferraro 2-78; Western — Liegghio 9-489.
Kickoff Returns (no.-yds): Guelph — Smith 8-116; Western — Taylor 1-22, Rocheleau 1-0.
Punt Returns (no.-yds): Guelph — Smith 1-0; Western — Rocheleau 3-44, Majoros 2-1.
Interception Returns (no.-yds): Guelph — Reinhart 1-0; Western — Ferguson 1-36.
Fumbles (no.-lost): Guelph — J-P.Cimankinda 1-0; Western — Taylor 1-1.
Sacks (no.-yds): Guelph — none; Western – none.
Tackles (solo-assisted): Guelph — Aketepe 10-4, Walker 4-3, Brodie 3-1, Allen 3-0, Reinhart 2-5, Kalenga 2-3, Murphy 2-2, Richards 2-2, Chase 2-0, Diorio 1-4, Korol 1-3, Soyer 1-1, Corfield 1-1, A.Cimankinda 1-0, Wilson 0-4, Kapelanski 0-2, Taggart 0-2, Hall 0-1, Jafs 0-1, T.Robinson 0-1; Western — Sopik 7-3, Salytchev 4-4, Kambamba 4-1, Comber 3-1, Knight 2-3, Valente Jr. 1-2, Ellis 1-2, Ferguson 1-2, Andrews 1-1, Hawley 1-1, Panabaker 1-0, Smiley 1-0, Bouchard 1-0, Moore 0-5, Stadnyk 0-4, Thurston 0-2, Fordham-Mill 0-2, Hoyte 0-1, Lindley 0-1, Dion 0-1.
  • Guelph Sports Journal