Guelph University’s Gabriel Ferraro made four field goals in what turned out mostly to be a battle between two opposing kickers, but came up short on the his final attempt in double overtime.
Ferraro said he put a lot of pressure on himself after the miss.
“I just feel like when I’m in that situation, that’s my job and I let the team down,” he said immediately after Sunday’s 24-21 loss against the Ottawa Gee-Gees in the home opener at Alumni Stadium.
Gryphons head coach Kevin MacNeill told the team after the loss he would draw up the same play for Ferraro in the same situation every time.
Ferraro hit 36 and 46-yard field goals in the first quarter and a key FG in the fourth quarter, tying the score 18-18 with 0:01 on the clock, forcing overtime.
He hit his fourth field goal to force double overtime, matching the effort by Gee-Gees kicker Lewis Ward, who hit six field goals in total, including the game winner.
With the Gryphons down 18-7 late in the fourth quarter, MacNeill said he was proud of how the team battled back.
“Being down two scores to get back and tie it to go into overtime was a hell of a gutsy effort,” said MacNeill.
A bright spot in the Gryphons defensive effort was the team-leading 3.5 sacks made by defensive lineman Alain Cimankinda.
“He was disruptive all game,” noted MacNeill
Of his three solo and six assisted tackles, Cimankinda said “I got out there every play - if it’s a pass play I am trying to make a sack, if it’s a run play I want to be a part of the tackle. I just want to do my job and put the team first.”
The Gryphons led 3-0 after one quarter and were up 7-5 at the half after giving up one field goal and a safety.
After fifth-year quarterback Victor Twynstra left with a minor head injury, the Gee-Gees sent in first-year Alex Lavric for the second half.
Jamie Barresi, Gee-Gees head coach, said he was proud of the poise Lavric showed under pressure, especially being on the receiving end of six sacks.
“It was quite an indoctrination for someone who is just out of high school,” said Barresi.
Scoreless in the third and conceding two more safeties, the Gryphons were down 7-9 going into the fourth.
By conceding the safeties in the second and third quarters, MacNeill believes the team avoided giving the Gee-Gees additional yardage and potentially more chances to score.
“(The third) was a real tough quarter, but the defence held their ground quite well,” he said.
Three fourth quarter field goals by Gee-Gees’ Ward had the away team up by 11 points before a pass from Gryphons quarterback James Roberts resulted in a Jacob Scarfone touchdown, setting up the literal last-second field goal to send the game into overtime.
“The guys battled and they never gave up, that’s all we ask,” said MacNeill.
Scarfone ended the game with 123 receiving yards, including the 74 yard touchdown.
Ferraro said the team will bounce back and he acknowledged his role as kicker is all mental.
“Whether you hit one or miss one, you have to forget it and move on to the next one. No matter what, I need to be ready for the next one and go one-for-one,” said Ferraro.
The Gryphons go on the road next to play the Western Mustangs Sept. 4 before hosting the Windsor Lancers Sept. 9.