Gryphons Take Down Mustangs 51-26 On Road to 2014 Yates Cup

Monday, November 10, 2014


Written by Jaimee-Lisa Cotter

There is no secrecy surrounding the Guelph-Western rivalry that fuels countless jokes, mildly inappropriate slogans and displays of school pride that are openly exchanged at every opportunity.

The biggest platform for this might be on the football field, where Guelph took on the UWO Mustangs last Saturday in the OUA Semi-Finals, on the road to the 107 annual Yates Cup.

Within the first five minutes of play, Guelph found themselves down by nine points. Not just down, but scoreless against their opponents, with no momentum to kick start their morale.

When Guelph’s starting quarterback Jazz Lindsey left the game in the second quarter due to a reoccurring shoulder injury, a nervous murmur rolled through the crowd as concern for Lindsey—and for victory—was casting a shadow on an already dreary day.

Back-up freshman quarterback James Roberts had the opportunity to put the team on his back, and came out shining (brighter than the sun) to pull the Gryphons ahead of Western and keep them dominating the scoreboard  for the remainder of the game.

Running back Rob Farquharson ran an astounding 232 yards—which included his no less than three touchdown runs— leading him to be named most valuable player.  

And as the shivering, drenched Lady Gryphon cheerleaders chorused out their, “Sack that quarterback” anthem, the squad took them up on the offered encouragement. Two huge sacks and five tackles for losses meant that the ball was back in Guelph hands.

It was a team effort by the players on the field, and by the fans in the stands rung out in cheers just as hard as they likely wrung out their wet socks as they celebrated the 51-26 defeat over the University of Western Ontario Mustangs. The weather was irredeemable: it poured rain for almost the entire game, puddling in the footholds and aisles of the cold steel bleachers under 1720 fans in attendance.

Guelph is a community that is influenced by the presence of a university town, and not always in a positive way: no doubt there are horror stories and experiences had by families by loud neighbours, rowdy parties and general debauchery in the name of homecoming, Halloween and St. Paddy’s day fun.

As an aside, the charge for receiving a noise complaint up to $365 this year, it isn’t all too surprising that students resent their neighbours for calling the police.

But on Saturday, standing in the rain side by side and issuing collective gasps and shouts of encouragement, one would never know that this tension exists with the high fives, chest bumps and hugs between strangers brought together by their love of football and a sense of pride for their hometown.

Even local business owners show their support of the team in more ways than mere sponsorship: Dario Di Renzo, co-owner of Frank & Steins Pub in downtown Guelph, runs a lap of the track in Alumni Stadium for every touchdown Guelph scores during a home game, and upon completion has the crowd count as he does ten pushups.  

Dario was a busy (and tired) man during Saturday’s game.

Gryphons Varsity Football Head Coach Stu Lang embodies this fierce pride and sense of comradery that is characteristic of the Guelph community. When initially offered a coaching position in 2007, the former five-time CFL champion offered to work for the salary of one whole dollar if it meant that the administration would put that funding back into the football program.

While the move would have been unprecedented, Lang agreed to take a salary within the running average for a coach in his position, and does donate a large majority of it back into the Gryphons varsity football program.  

Two years ago, Guelph traveled to McMaster to take on the Marauders for the 105 Yates Cup. This year, they’ll be ready for revenge: red, gold and black poised for the attack.

With Guelph’s defeat over Western, the Gryphons will once again find themselves vying for the Ontario division title against the Marauders on Saturday November 15.

Watch out Mac, the cowbells are coming. 

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