TORONTO, Sept. 12 – The York University Lions football team fell to the No. 5 nationally-ranked Guelph Gryphons by a score of 49-22 in their annual Homecoming game on Saturday afternoon (Sept. 12) at York Stadium.
A slow first quarter for the Lions hurt them early, as the Gryphons scored four touchdowns in the opening frame for a significant 28-0 lead. But the young Lions buckled down after that and held the Gryphons to just 21 points the rest of the way.
Two one-yard rushing touchdowns by Johnny Augustine (Welland, Ont.) and a pair of passing touchdowns by quarterback James Roberts (Cambridge, Ont.) staked the Gryphons to the four-score lead after the first 15 minutes of play.
The Lions held the Gryphons off the scoreboard in the second and added three points of their own, on a Guelph-conceded safety, and added another point on a booming punt by Nick Naylor (Abbotsford, B.C.) at the end of the half that went into the end zone for a rouge.
The first half was sloppy for both offences as a total of seven interceptions were thrown, two by York starting quarterback Eric Kimmerly (Oshawa, Ont.) and one by Brett Hunchak (Calgary), as well as four by Roberts. One of them thrown by Rogers was picked off by Rees Paterson (Sherwood Park, Alta.), who got the Homecoming crowd on its feet with a spectacular play where he wrestled the ball away from the receiver on the way down.
As the Lions continued to settle down in the third quarter, Kimmerly drove his team down the field by utilizing his legs and eventually found the end zone by calling his own number and walking past the goal line to add six points on the board, and a converted extra point by Naylor made the score 28-10.
After another one-yard touchdown run by Augustine, and on the first play of the fourth quarter, kick returner Jahmari Bennett (Mississauga, Ont.) corralled a missed field goal attempt, broke a few tackles and exploded down the sideline as the York faithful rose to their feet and cheered him on for the entire 115 yards to pay dirt for a huge touchdown that made the score 35-17 in favour of the Gryphons.
Mid-way through the frame they settled for another safety, adding a couple more points on the board for the Lions at 35-19, and then Kimmerly marched the Lions down the field again with completions to Nathaniel Pinto (Toronto) and Nikola Kalinic (Toronto) that led to a 27-yard field goal by Naylor to cut the lead to 35-22.
The York comeback fell short after that as the Gryphons made a few momentum-shifting first downs down the stretch to add to their lead.
Bennett finished with 295 all purpose yards, including 175 kick return yards on seven touches as well as the 115-yard touchdown.
Lions rookie running back Jesse Amankwaa (Etobicoke, Ont.) broke off impressive runs all afternoon and finished with 13 carries for 64 yards. Kimmerly was 21-of-35 for 207 yards and added another 37 yards on the ground.
Roberts ended the game 20-of-32 for 231 yards, with two touchdowns and five interceptions. In addition to Paterson, the other Lions ball hawks included Connor Pritty (Markham, Ont.), Brett Colangelo (Oakville, Ont.), Ian Lawrence (Paris, Ont.) and Matthew Skoko (Toronto).
The team leader in tackles and third in the OUA Hussein Hazime (Toronto) added to his sack total when he broke past the Gryphon linemen and chased down Roberts, and he also had six tackles.
Next up for the Lions is a game against the Waterloo Warriors in Waterloo, Ont., on Saturday (Sept. 19) at 1pm, while the Gryphons will head home to host the McMaster Marauders in their annual Homecoming game at the same day and time.
Source: York Lions