TORONTO - The York University Lions football team was defeated 26-2 by the visiting Guelph Gryphons in its Ontario University Athletics (OUA) season opener on Monday (Sept. 6) at York Stadium.
The Lions (0-1) earned the two points on a safety conceded by Guelph (2-0) in the first quarter.
York's defence was strong in the first regular season game for the squad. Third-year cornerback Andre Clarke (Mississauga, Ont.) was all over the field, recording 9.5 tackles, one interception and two pass break-ups. Zack Davis (Niagara Falls, Ont.) was also impressive in his debut with the Lions, recording six tackles, including two for loss, and one sack.
The Lions' offence was largely about the passing game. Third-year quarterback Nick Coutu (St. Catharines, Ont.) threw the ball 37 times, completing 14 passes for 133 yards with two interceptions. He also scrambled for another 53 yards on nine carries. The rushing attack was led by Jacob Appiah (Etobicoke, Ont.), who had 54 yards on just four carries.
Guelph running back Nick Fitzgibbon (Puslinch, Ont.) scored both touchdowns for the Gryphons on separate one-yard runs. He dominated throughout the game, compiling 167 rush yards on 22 carries to lead all players. Quarterback Chris Rossetti (Mississauga, Ont.) completed 11 of 22 passes for 178 yards.
Both teams got off to a slow start on offence as the game remained scoreless for much of the first quarter. The Lions opened the scoring with the safety nine minutes into the contest. Guelph responded on the next drive with a field goal by Julian Tropea (Niagara Falls, Ont.) to put the score at 3-2 after the opening quarter of play.
The Gryphons started off the second with a rouge and scored the first major of the game at the 9:05 mark of the quarter on Fitzgibbon's first touchdown to make the score 11-2. Tropea recorded another rouge and his second field goal of the game before the end of the quarter to make the score 15-2 at the half.
The only other major score came on Fitzgibbon's second touchdown of the day just under five minutes into the third quarter. Two other team-conceded safeties by the Lions rounded out the scoring.
The Lions will be at home again next weekend for a contest against the Ottawa Gee-Gees (2-0) on Saturday afternoon (Sept. 11). Kick-off is set for 1pm at York Stadium. In last year's contest between the two squads, the Lions put forth their best offensive effort of the 2009 season in a 54-31 defeat to the nationally-ranked Gee-Gees. Ottawa enters Saturday's contest on a high after recording a thrilling 20-19 come-from-behind victory over the Western Mustangs at home on Monday.
NOTES: Today's contest represented head coach Warren Craney's OUA debut, as well as the first game for offensive and defensive co-ordinators Michael Faulds and Harry Laflamme ... 2009 CIS tackles leader Steven Reading (Fenelon Falls, Ont.) recorded 4.5 tackles in the game ... Rossetti was sacked twice in the contest while Coutu went down five times ... Kicker Dror David (Toronto) returned to the team after missing the 2009 season and averaged 43.1 yards on nine punts.
York Sports Info