2014 CIS Football Team Preview: Guelph Gryphons

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Source: Michelle Pino, Guelph SportsInfo

2013 regular season record: 7-1
2013 regular season standings: 3rd in OUA
2013 playoff record: 1-1
2013 playoff finish: Lost to Queen’s 34-17in OUA Semi-Final in Kingston

The 2013 season was another year of continued progress for theGryphons. Overall the squad was full of veteran leadership thathelped propel the team to another great 7-1 regular season.

Therewere flashes of brilliance seen, but still mixed in were somechallenges and inconsistency. In 2014, the Gryphons will be lookingto turn the corner and take the next step. Two years in a row theyhave performed well in the regular season which has set theexpectations high.

Now in the fourth year with the same offence, fans should seethe playbook opening up and timing looking even better. The runninggame will continue to be dynamic with the duo of veteran RobFarquharson and second-year Johnny Augustine now having experiencein the CIS. Quarterback Jazz Lindsey is showing that he iscontinuing to grow and understand the game. Key returning playersat the receiver spot will be Alex Charette and A’dre Fraser.Both of these players started last year and will be called upon tostep up as the new leaders of the receiving core.

Defensively the Gryphons will look to build on last year’simpressive success that saw them hold opponents to a mere 332 yardsper game, good enough for first in the OUA and fifth in the CIS aswell as only 17 points allowed per game (1st in the OUA/5th in theCIS). The defence only drops two players from last year’sgroup so the expectations are set high for 2014. Middle linebackerJohn Rush returns after missing six games in 2014, having beensidelined by a knee injury. The defensive line returns with anotheryear under its belt and will be looking to add to its 34 sacks fromlast season.

Quote from head coach:

“In the last two years we have won more league games than anyother OUA team but we have not yet achieved our goal of winning theYates Cup. Our coaching staff which began four years ago has a teamfilled with our recruits, so we are excited about finally breakingthrough. Our players, led by a dedicated group of seniors, want to’finish’ the journey.”

Head Coach:

– Number of seasons as head coach with team (including 2013):5
– Number of seasons as head coach in CIS (including 2013): 5
– Career regular season record with team: 20-12
– Career regular season record in CIS: 20-12
– Career overall record with team (reg. season & playoffsonly): 21-13
– Career overall record in CIS (reg. season & playoffs only):21-13

OFFENCE

Number of returning starters: 8

Key returning players:

RB Rob Farquharson returns for his 5th season. Earned 2012 OUAsecond team all-star after a breakthrough season, finishing thirdin CIS rushing. In 2013, came back after a hamstring injury earlyin season to suit up for four games. Led the team in rushing yardsrecording 419 yards on 64 carries with five touchdowns. Was namedthe Gryphons offensive player of the week four times.

QB Jazz Lindsey returns for 4th season. Had a strong 2013 seasonfinishing with a total of 1805 yards and 13 touchdowns. Was invitedthis summer to play in the East-West All-Star Bowl and spent timewith the Toronto Argonauts during their training camp. Coaches areexpecting Lindsey to emerge as a cerebral decision maker and takehis game to the next level in 2014.

WR Alex Charette returns for his 4th season. Was one of the topreceivers for the Gryphons in 2013 with 468 yards on 36 catches.Along with his excellent receiving yards he is a dangerous weaponon special teams. He was named the OUA and CIS special teams playerof the week after an electrifying 125-yard touchdown off a missedfield goal in a win over Waterloo. The coaches expect Charette tobecome a leader this season after a great showing at the East-WestAll-Star game in May.

WR A’dre Fraser will return for this 3rd season and beexpected to step up as one of the new leaders in the receivingcore. Named a 2012 and 2013 OUA all-star. He has big play abilityand will be able to stretch the field vertically even better thanprevious seasons. In 2013 the 6-foot, 175 pound returner led theteam in kick return yards with a total of 205 yards.

OL Matt Nesbitt returns for his 3rd year of eligibility. Afterthe loss of key players Cameron Thorn and Jake Piotrowski, he willbe looked upon to anchor and lead the offensive line. The 6-foot,305 pound lineman has seen playing time since being a freshman.

Key recruits:

WR Khaliel James from Catholic Central in Windsor. Joins theteam as one of the more dynamic athletes in the province. He is arare combination of size and speed that should instantly add depthpotentially in the both backfield and as a slot back.

QB James Roberts from Jacob Hespeler in Cambridge. Hasrepresented Ontario on three occasions and has had incrediblesuccess both at high school and in the OVFL for the CambrdigeLions.

Key losses:
Saxon Lindsey, WR
Dillon Dimitroff, WR
Jake Piotrowski, OL
Cameron Thorn, OL

DEFENCE

Number of returning starters: 8

Key returning players:

DB Tristan Doughlin returns for his 3rd year of eligibility.Last season he emerged as a huge playmaker and physical presence atfree safety for the Gryphons with 32.5 tackles, 24 solo tackles and2 interceptions.

DE Cam Walker enters his 4th year of eligibility. Named a 2012and 2013 OUA all-Star. In 2013 he recorded 26.5 total tackles and 6sacks for a total loss of 29 yards. Was twice named the Gryphondefensive player of the week and invited to the 2014 East-WestAll-Star Bowl.

LB Andrew Graham returns for only his 2nd year of eligibility.After John Rush’s season ending injury last year Grahamstepped up and did an excellent job as a force in the middle. Hewas named a 2013 OUA all-star after recording 17 solo tackles, 2.5sacks and 1 interception. He was named the Gryphons special teamsplayer of the week three times throughout the season.

LB John Rush is returning for his 4th year after a season endingknee injury took place after only playing four games in 2013. The2012 OUA all-star will be looking to get back into his all-starform following an intense rehab regime. Before his early exit in2013 he tallied 18 solo tackles and was named the week 1 Gryphondefensive player of the week.

Key recruits:

DB Nick Parisotta from Lady of Lourdes in Guelph will remain inthe city and play for his hometown Gryphons. He played for Canadaon the Junior National team at the IFAF World Championships inKuwait this summer and has also played for Team Canada in the 2014International Bowl Series. Named the 2013 MVP of the D10 footballhigh school league.

DB Royce Metchie from St. Edmund Campion and the BramptonBulldogs of the OVFL. Played for Canada on the Junior National teamat the IFAF World Championships in Kuwait this summer and in 2012played for the GTA Rising Stars in their all-star game.

Key losses:
Taylor Palmer, DB
Vince Lonsdale, LB

SPECIALTEAMS

Key returning players:

PK Daniel Ferraro returns for his 4th year with the Gryphons. In2013 he made 10-of-16 field goal attempts, with his longest beingfor 47 yards and punted 68 times for a total of 2398 yards with along of 52. Daniel and his brother Gabriel, a first year joiningthe team will be looked upon this season to solidify the kickinggame in 2014.

C Dan MacDonald will enter his 4th year of eligibility thisseason. One of the country’s best long snappers, MacDonaldshould continue to provide excellent ball security.

PK Jacob Scarfone enters only his 2nd year of eligibility. As arookie, he was one of the most versatile players last season;kicking, running fakes, and recovering pooch kicks. He has theinstincts and athleticism to be a game changer in 2014.

Key recruits:

PK Gabriel Ferraro from St. Marcellinus in Mississauga will bethe second Ferraro to join the team alongside his brother Danielwho is in his fourth year with the team. Gabriel played in the 2014International Bowl Series.

Key losses:
Julian Tropea, PK

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