#2 Gee-Gees to face #3 Gryphons in semifinal action
The board is set, and the number-two ranked University of Ottawa Gee-Gees will face off against the number-three ranked Guelph Gryphons on Nov. 3 at home for the second round of the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) playoffs.
After ending the season 6-2, the Gee-Gees secured the first-round bye following their 27-22 win against the Queen’s Gaels on Oct. 20.
At that point, five teams were vying for three playoff spots in the OUA, with the Guelph Gryphons, McMaster Marauders, and Waterloo Warriors making the cut. Top-ranked Western and crosstown rival Carleton had already secured spots.
The Gryphons advanced to the semifinals after winning the second of two straight high-scoring affairs versus the Warriors, racking up a total of 92 points and nearly 1,000 yards of offence. They now return to Gee-Gees Field, where they fell just short by a score of 12-10 to the U of O earlier in the season.
The game versus the Gryphons was the first start of the season for Gee-Gees quarterback Sawyer Buettner, who got the nod over second-year Alex Lavric after being swapped in for him late in the previous game.
After coming in and getting the week in the game versus McMaster, Buettner had a strong game versus Guelph for his team, throwing for 228 yards. Ultimately it was defence that won it for the Garnet and Grey. They held the Gryphons, who enter the playoffs seeded third, to 269 yards of offence and just one touchdown.
The other side of that coin is that the Gryphons also held the Gees’ offence to just one touchdown in the game, and under 400 yards of offence.
Like the U of O, Guelph has one of the strongest defensive cores in OUA football, ranked third in points allowed and fourth in yards allowed, just higher than the Gee-Gees in both categories.
The Gee-Gees led the province in team interceptions, giving them an edge in that category. Cornerback Jamie Harry led the league in interceptions for his team with six throughout the regular season.
Offensively the teams will come in pretty evenly-matched, with the Gryphons enjoying a slight edge in terms of points scored and yards gained.
However, the Gryphons’ offence will have to keep up the momentum from their last few outings to be able to crack the Gees’ defence.
The Gees will also need to capitalize on the chances their defence gives them, as this has cost them several times throughout the season, beginning in their Week One loss to the Laurier Golden Hawks.
They will have to be able to make use of offensive weapons such as Kalem Beaver and Carter Matheson through the air, which was somewhat lacking in their last game versus Guelph. Running back Dawson Odei had a strong game with 150 yards, but the offence cannot rely on him alone in this upcoming contest.
The Gees will also have to play disciplined, as they finished the regular season the second-most penalized team in the whole OUA.
The game will be played at 1 p.m. on Nov. 3 at Gee-Gees Field. The winner will move on to the Yates Cup championship game, where they will play whoever emerges from the Carleton-Western semifinal showdown to see who will be the top team in the OUA. Grab tickets here.