The young Guelph Gryphons will be looking to the veterans for both advice and leadership this OUA football season.
One of the players they’ll be looking to is third-year receiver Vyshonne Janusas who was a first-team all-star in the league last year.
“It's a great feeling to be in that position and to be a leader for the team and stuff like that, help coach up the younger guys and give them knowledge and help pass that down,” he said on the Alumni Stadium field Saturday after the Gryphons were downed 60-21 by the sixth-ranked Laurier Golden Hawks. “It's a great opportunity and a great position to be in.”
Despite the one-sided score, Janusas wasn’t discouraged as he saw some signs of better days to come.
“I'm not too disappointed because each and every drive we produced, we just weren't able to finish,” he said. “We left a lot of points up on the board. There's a lot of things we have to go back and fix. A lot of it is finishing and finishing our drives so I'm not too disappointed.”
Gryphon head coach Ryan Sheahan agreed.
“I thought we moved the ball at various times in the game, we just missed a couple of chances to punch it in,” he said. “It felt like we could've had 30 or 35 points today on offence. I thought both quarterbacks when they were in the game executed very well. We got some good run after catch from our receiving corps and the backfield delivered when they needed to.”
Janusas did some leading by example in the game as he collected eight of Guelph’s points on back-to-back plays. He caught a 15-yard touchdown toss from quarterback Tristan Aboud early in the fourth quarter and then hauled in a two-point convert pass from Aboud on the following play.
“It was just a go ball, an easy fade, and the quarterback put it in a good spot and I was able to go up and get it at the last second,” Janusas said of the touchdown catch. “The two-point conversion right after was the same thing. It was a slant and out and once again the quarterback put the ball in a great position and I was able to make the play on it.”
In all Janusas caught five passes for 65 yards. He also returned three kickoffs for 63 yards.
Laurier extended a 14-10 lead at the end of the first quarter to a 39-13 advantage at halftime and a 53-13 lead after the third.
Quarterback Marshall McCray had Guelph’s other touchdown on a one-yard run in the first quarter while place kicker Gabe Canabrava scored all of the other points in his first game action for the Gryphons. He kicked field goals of 22 and 28 yards and also added a convert.
Third-year Laurier quarterback Taylor Elgersma tied a school record with six touchdown tosses. He threw two apiece to Raidan Thorne (35 and 33 yards) and Ethan Jordan (29 and 25 yards) and single touchdown passes to Nico McCarthy (16 yards) and Jace Atkinson (22 yards). Elgersma also scored a touchdown on a one-yard push while Guelph native Tanner Nelmes scored a touchdown on a one-yard leap. Dawson Hodge kicked eight converts and the Gryphons conceded two safeties.
Elgersma completed 30 of 35 pass attempts for 440 yards and also had four carries for 21 yards.
Gryphon quarterbacks Aboud and McCray completed 24 of 36 pass attempts for 297 yards and a touchdown. They were sacked five times. They also combined for 134 yards rushing on 12 carries.
The result leaves Laurier undefeated at 3-0 and the Gryphons at 1-2. Guelph is to play the McMaster Marauders (1-2) at Hamilton next Saturday and they’re to host the York Lions (0-3) in their Homecoming Game Sept. 23.