Gryphon Gryphons 2017 Season Preview

GUELPH, ON – With success comes expectation. The Guelph Gryphons football team has been to the post-season for five consecutive years, including a dream run to the fourth Yates Cup victory in school history. So, the 2017 squad is hungry to keep that playoff streak alive and Coach Kevin MacNeill will lean on a talented and experienced roster to do battle with its OUA foes. With a mix of veteran players, strong recruits, and top-class facilities, this emerging program can look forward to a bright future, set in the most desirable environment in Canadian university football.

Offence:

Jacob Scarfone at 2017 Training Camp
Jacob Scarfone at 2017 Training Camp

What’s old is new again. The adage perfectly sums up the Gryphons’ offence heading into the 2017 OUA season. The imposing trio of quarterback James Roberts, running back Johnny Augustine and receiver Jacob Scarfone, all prominent members of the 2015 Yates Cup championship team, will be reunited. Roberts, a fourth year Cambridge, ON native, ranks fifth on the Gryphons’ all-time passing list (4,711 yards) and the talented QB gets his favourite weapon back with the return of Scarfone. The receiver missed all of the 2016 with a serious knee injury but Scarfone gained invaluable experience in recent months competing on the Hamilton Tiger-Cats practice roster after the team drafted the London, ON native 47th overall in the 2017 CFL Draft. Scarfone racked up a school record 942 yards in the 2015 regular season and was on the receiving end of 10 touchdown passes from Roberts. Augustine will play his fifth and final season for the Gryphons after taking part in the Edmonton Eskimos’ training camp this past spring at the fullback position. The powerful running back enters 2017 ranked fourth on Guelph’s all-time rushing list with 2,052 yards on the ground, and 19 touchdowns. Augustine isn’t the only weapon in what will be a deep backfield. Brandon Gordon (fifth year), Jamal Hooker (third year) and Patrick Pierre (second year) are all expected to earn meaningful touches. And when they get those opportunities, they will run behind an imposing offensive line anchored by two-time OUA All-Star Andrew Pickett and the very athletic Jaylan Guthrie, who many people believe will play professional football either in Canada or south of the border when his Gryphon days are done.

Defence:

Nick Parisotto
Nick Parisotto – Week 3 of 2016 season

Strong defensive play has been a hallmark of recent Gryphon teams and the 2017 edition of the corps will make moving the ball a difficult proposition for OUA offences. The linebackers are the backbone of this unit, led by Lynden, ON native Luke Korol (fourth year) and Derek Drouillard (fifth year) from London. The two captains have made a lasting impression on the Gryphon defence. Korol was all over the field in 2016, registering eight tackles per game, which ranked second in the conference. Drouillard showed his athleticism by making the jump from the defensive line to linebacker, where he made many big plays in his seven regular season games last year, including three sacks and an interception. The secondary is in good shape with the return of former All-Canadian and Guelph native Nick Parisotto (fourth year) and converted linebacker and now free safety Royce Metchie (fourth year). Both were invited to the East-West Bowl in Quebec City last May.Special Teams:

Gabe Ferraro FG attempt during Week 1 of 2016
Gabe Ferraro FG attempt during Week 1 of 2016

This prominent unit welcomes back two key pieces for the 2017 season. In Gabe Ferraro (fourth year) and Job Reinhart (third year), the Gryphons have two reliable performers that are among the best at their positions in U SPORTS football. Ferraro has become clutch kicker/punter in his Guelph career and his performance in the East-West Bowl was indicative of how the Mississauga, ON native can rise to the occasion. Among the best U SPORTS players in the country, Ferraro was a perfect 2-for-2 in field goals (the longest from 42 yards) and 4-for-4 in extra points in the West’s dominant 37-13 win. Reinhart had a standout season on the Special Forces unit and was relied on to do many things, including long snapping duties. The local product was Guelph’s only representative on the OUA All-Star First Team, earning his spot with impressive play at the Rush Cover position.

Week 1 Opponent:

To get the 2017 season underway, the Gryphons will welcome the Ottawa Gee-Gees to town for a matchup at Alumni Stadium on Sunday, August 27th. The Gee-Gees enter the 2017 season after saying goodbye to star quarterback Derek Wendel and playmaking wideout Mitchell Baines. Regardless, the Gee-Gees roster still boasts plenty of talent, led by dynamic running back Bryce Vieira who may be the best receiving back in the conference. Ottawa also boasts plenty of athleticism on the defensive side of the ball, led by linebacker Jackson Bennett who is a converted running back who also handles Ottawa’s kick return duties. The Gryphons will be eager to avenge a loss from last year versus the Gee-Gees when the Gryphons wound up on the wrong end of a 31-28 game in Ottawa.

 

Source: Guelph Gryphons

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