No Mercy for Varsity Blues at Homecoming Game

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Written by Stephen Sweet

The Guelph Gryphons football team earned their first victory of the season on Saturday in a landslide, defeating the University of Toronto Varsity Blues by a score of 66-14. The Gryphons dominated in every aspect of the game, as they proved to be the faster, stronger, and far more prepared team.

The Gryphons provided the excitement right from the beginning of the game, when less than then minutes in, Josh McCreight blocked the Varsity Blues’ first punt attempt and the Gryphons recovered on the Toronto 10-yard-line, which eventually lead to a 14-yard Rob Maver field goal. The Gryphons solid defense continued to stymie the Blues’ offense, which soon found itself without starting quarterback David Hamilton, who left in the first quarter due to injury and did not return. He was replaced by Mark Stinson, who didn’t fare much better.

U of G’s 52-yard drive late in the first quarter helped lead the Gryphons to a 13-0 lead. The turning point, however, came relatively early in the second quarter; a Joe Valtellini field goal missed and the Gryphons had to start with the ball on their own 5. Their drive began, and ended, with a quick pass to wide receiver David McKoy, who burst past the defenders and ran a whopping 105 yards for a Gryphon touchdown. The momentum swing of the touchdown proved to be too much for the Varsity Blues, as the Gryphons began to pour on the attack. Justin Dunk would connect on 5 touchdown passes in the second quarter alone, three to McKoy and two to veteran receiver Jeff Keegan, as the Gryphons ran up the score on their hapless opponents from Toronto, much to the delight of the 5,806 on hand for the Homecoming Weekend.

The Gryphons lightened up a little in the second half, but following a pair of Mark Stinson to Cory Kennedy TD’s, the Gryphon offensive came back with a force. Despite playing mainly backups in the second half, the Gryphons scored twice more, with the results coming from a Dunk touchdown run, his second of the game, and from backup QB Lance Fergin’s 32-yard strike to Ryan Craig. To cap things off, U of T’s Mark Stinson’s pass into the end zone with under a minute remaining and was picked off by Jamie Shaw, his second interception of the game. The Gryphons have now won 12 straight meetings against the Varsity Blues, having not lost a game to U of T since 1995.

The Gryphons proved to be a more daring team than the Blues. There were several occasions during the game where U of T had a third down and less than a yard to go, and chose to punt the ball away rather than take the risk. Meanwhile, the Gryphons’ lone risky play of the afternoon was a fake punt, executed perfectly by McKoy in order to gain a first down. On the very next play, Dunk completed a 30-yard pass to Jeff Keegan for a touchdown. Clearly the Gryphons had more confidence in their offensive unit than the Varsity Blues did. Of course, having David McKoy on your team can’t hurt. McKoy was everywhere in the second quarter. He executed a fake punt, had over 200 yards receiving, returned punts, and rumour has it he was selling popcorn on the sidelines between downs as well.

The Gryphons played a more complete game than the Varsity Blues, who could never seem to get their offense going. U of G’s offense was a balanced attack, led by the multi-talented Justin Dunk, who could run, pass, and hand off to Nick Fitzgibbon, who had a fine running game until he left in the second quarter. Dunk threw for five touchdowns and ran for two more and those passing numbers are sure to move him even higher than fourth in the OUA in passing, which was where he was ranked coming into this game. This Gryphons team, frustrated after a pair of close losses earlier in the season, came out with a convincing win Saturday afternoon and this will certainly give them momentum as they head into Ottawa next weekend.

For photos of the game click here

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