Golden Gaels Photos
Queen's Golden Gaellery by Jeff Chan
Guelph at Western - Yates Cup20151114
All photos on this site are Copyright © Jeff Chan, and may be used for personal non-commercial applications including by Queen's University, and the CIS and its member conferences, and participating teams, so long as photo credits are shown or the photos are otherwise attributed to Jeff Chan.
GUELPH 23, WESTERN 17
GRYPHONS DOWN MUSTANGS 23-17, CLAIM FIRST TITLE IN 19 YEARS
The Guelph Gryphons captured their first Yates Cup title since 1996 with a come-from-behind 23-17 victory over the Western Mustangs at TD Stadium in the 108th Yates Cup, presented by Investors Group.
Trailing throughout the first three quarters, Guelph tied the score in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter from a 36-yard touchdown reception by Jacob Scarfone (London, Ont.), and took the lead on a pair of Gabriel Ferraro (Mississauga, Ont.) field goals.
Linebacker John Rush (Niagara, Ont.) was honoured with the Dalt White Trophy, presented by Porter Airlines, as the game MVP, leading the Gryphons with 12.0 tackles, including 3.0 sacks.
"Going into the fourth quarter, we had a strong belief that we could do what it takes to win this game," said Rush. "We just kept throwing punches and knew we would overcome them."
Head coach Stu Lang, in his sixth season at the helm of the Gryphons, marked his first Yates Cup coaching victory after appearing in two of the previous three championship games, including a 20-15 loss to McMaster in 2014.
"We've been close so many times," said Lang. "Right from the start this year the guys committed. They knew how it hurt so much in Hamilton 12 months ago. I am so proud of these guys, to win on enemy field against a team that has not lost and to fight back – this is amazing. This is one of the greatest Guelph Gryphons football teams ever."
Guelph quarterback James Roberts of Cambridge, Ont. led the victorious offence, connecting on 14 of 28 passes for 221 yards and tossing one touchdown. Scarfone accounted for 142 of those receiving yards, reeling in six passes.
On the ground, running back Johnny Augustine (Welland, Ont.) amassed 108 yards on 19 carries, forming an effective platoon with Brandon Gordon (Toronto), who carried the ball 15 times for 98 yards.
The victory gave Guelph its fourth Yates Cup title in club history, having previously hoisted the venerable trophy in 1984, 1992 and 1996.
Western quarterback Stevenson Bone (Darien, Conn.), filling in for injured conference MVP Will Finch, completed 21 of 39 passes for 236 yards, and led the Mustangs with 85 yards on the ground on 16 carries, tallying both of Western's touchdowns. Jamal Kett (Orangeville, Ont.) topped Mustang receivers with six receptions for 84 yards.
Bone opened the scoring with an 11-yard touchdown dash at the 9:28 mark of the opening frame. Guelph later broke onto the score sheet on their first possession of the second quarter, tallying three points on a 22-yard Gabriel Ferraro field goal. Bone added his second major of the afternoon, running a one-yard keeper over the goal line just after the nine-minute mark.
Western took a 14-3 lead into the intermission, but had failed to capitalize on a number of first-half opportunities, missing two field goal attempts from within the 40-yard line, and failing to convert a pair of Gryphon fumbles into any points.
Guelph scored its fist major of the afternoon with a one-yard run by Roberts to draw within four points. Western restored its one-touchdown advantage late in the third frame with Ben Kelly connecting on a 38-yard field goal.
After three quarters of offensive inconsistency, the Gryphons tied the score on the second play of the final frame, Roberts connecting with Scarfone for a 36-yard touchdown. Western fumbled on the ensuing play from scrimmage, turning the ball over to Guelph on their own 20-yard line. A 20-yard touchdown run by Gordon on the following play was called back for holding by the Gryphons, only to see Western reclaim possession two plays later with an interception by linebacker Nick Vanin (London, Ont.). The Gryphons took, then insured their lead with a pair of field goals from Ferrero before the final gun. A last-minute drive by the Mustangs fell short, the game clock clicking to zeroes with the Mustangs stranded on the Guelph five-yard line.
With the victory Guelph hosts the RSEQ champion Montreal Carabins in the CIS semi-final Mitchell Bowl on November 21.
WES – TD Bone 11 run (Kelly kick) 9:28
GUE – FG Ferraro 22 4:56
WES – TD Bone 1 run (Kelly kick) 9:09
GUE – TD Roberts 1 run (Ferraro kick) 5:30 WES – FG Kelly 38 13:30
GUE – TD Scarfone 36 pass from Roberts (Ferraro kick) 0:45
GUE – FG Ferraro 23 8:16
GUE – FG Ferraro 14 12:11
GUELPH GRYPHONS HOIST YATES CUP AS OUA CHAMPIONS
By Rob Massey, Guelph Mercury
The Guelph Gryphons finally have something to show for their regular-season success.
The winningest team in OUA football over the last four regular seasons, the Gryphons are now conference champions after winning the 108th Yates Cup presented by Investors Group Saturday at TD Stadium.
A second-half comeback capped by a pair of Gabe Ferraro field goals lifted the Gryphs to a 23-17 victory over the Western Mustangs. The Gryphs went in as underdogs but came out as champs. They had been ranked fifth in the country in the final CIS top 10 rankings of the year while Western had been ranked No. 2.
"Honestly, they called my number and I just did what I did," Ferraro said. "Everyone else had a part. They all played their part and that's how we got the win."
With the conference championship on the line, Ferraro remained cool as he connected on field goals of 23 and 14 yards in the final seven minutes of the game to get the win.
"There's not as much (pressure) as you'd think," he said. "I know the boys have me. I know the hold will be perfect, the snap will be perfect, the blocking will be perfect. I just had to kick them the way I always do."
The Gryphs recorded their fourth consecutive 7-1 regular season this year and made their third trip to the OUA final in those years. They lost their previous two appearances to the McMaster Marauders in Hamilton in 2012 and 2014, last year's being the one that was the fire in the belly for this year's title run.
"I'm just stunned and so proud of the guys," Gryphon head coach Stu Lang said. "They made the commitment 12 months ago sitting in that locker room in Hamilton, a game we think we should have won. They committed for 12 months and to hang on to that goal through ups and downs this season – the loss to Queen's and some players who left the team. It was a struggle, but they hung tough and no better way to come into Western, undefeated team, enemy territory, be down at half and to fight and come back and win and even that last drive, to hang in there. I'm so proud of them. They're one of the best Guelph Gryphon football teams ever."
The Gryphs did hold on for the title as the Mustangs put together their best drive of the second half in the final minute and a half. Needing a touchdown, the hosts marched 77 yards and got the ball to Guelph's 10-yard line when time ran out.
It's the fourth time the Gryphs have won the Yates Cup, the previous victories coming in 1984 when they also won the national championship Vanier Cup, 1992 and 1996.
It's said that defences win championships and that was certainly the case Saturday. The Gryphon defenders limited the high-powered Mustangs, a team that set a national record for scoring in the regular season, to a pair of first-half touchdowns and a second-half field goal.
That performance allowed the Gryphon offence to finally find a gear in the second half after it sputtered through the first half. At one point it appeared as if the Mustangs, up 14-3 at halftime, needed just one more TD to put the game away. That score never came.
Linebacker John Rush, the conference's top stand-up defensive player, stood up in the final as he had 10 solo tackles, four assisted tackles and three sacks for a loss of 25 yards to be named the game's most valuable player.
"It feels really good, but I can't really take credit for anything I did on the field today just because the group of men the coaches have surrounded me with are so outstanding," Rush said. "They just do everything for me. (Defensive linemen) Dan Horta, Donnie Egerter just eating double teams. They account for them all the time and they don't get enough credit."
Rush is the fourth Gryphon to win the Dalt White Trophy, the others being quarterback Randy Walters in 1984, quarterback Wally Gabler Jr. in 1992 and running back Gerrit Stam in 1996.
"I can't put into words how good this feels," Rush said of the Yates Cup win. "It's been five years in the making."
The Mustangs had averaged just over 368 rushing yards per game during the regular season, but were held to 194 by the Gryphs who gained 203.
Quarterback Stevenson Bone, filling in for injured league MVP Will Finch who was out with a concussion suffered in the semifinals, scored both Western TDs as he found the end zone on 11- and one-yard runs. Ben Kelly added the other points as he kicked two converts and a 38-yard field goal.
Guelph quarterback James Roberts also scored a touchdown on a one-yard plunge and he hit receiver Jacob Scarfone with a 36-yard TD strike. Ferraro kicked two converts and three field goals to account for the other points.
"We knew going in that it was going to be a game for the ages," Roberts said. "We knew they were going to score and we knew they were going to stop us. We just had to maintain a level of understanding that and just fight through it the whole way."
Roberts was in tears following the loss to McMaster last year when he filled in for injured starter Jazz Lindsey for the final three quarters of the game. He had tears again this year.
"They're tears of joy," he said. "I'm riding this big high right now and last year was a real low. It's nice to finally come back and get one."
With the win, the Gryphs are one of four teams in the country still playing. They'll host the defending national champion Montreal Carabins, this year's Quebec champions, in Saturday's Mitchell Bowl, a national semifinal. Game time is 12:30 p.m.
The Western Canada champion UBC Thunderbirds and Atlantic champion St. Francis Xavier X-Men will meet in Saturday's other semifinal, the Uteck Bowl.
The semifinal winners advance to the Vanier Cup at Quebec City Nov. 28.
All photos on this site are Copyright © Jeff Chan, and may be used for personal non-commercial applications including by Queen's University, and U Sports Canada and its member conferences, other participating teams, so long as photo credits are shown or the photos are otherwise attributed to Jeff Chan.
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