Gryphons head West to face Bisons in preseason clash

Source: Guelph Gryphons Sports Information

Winnipeg, MB – The Gryphons football team is Manitoba-bound to face the reigning Canada West champion Manitoba Bisons in a preseason game.  Kickoff is set for Saturday, August 22 at 1pm Central Time (2pm Eeastern) at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg.  This game marks the first of two meetings between these schools that will take place over the next two seasons as they will meet up once again in 2016 for a preseason game, with that one set to take place at Alumni Stadium in Guelph.

The Gryphon coaching staff will have plenty to evaluate on Saturday afternoon as the team heads west with a traveling roster of 71 players.  The team is scheduled to arrive on Friday afternoon and will hold a ‘walk-through’ practice that evening before suiting up for the game on SaturdaySaturday’s game will be full-go, consisting of four 15 minute quarters and will be a fully officiated game that will have all three phases of the game (offence, defence and special teams) executed at full contact.

U of G quarterback James Roberts has had a strong training camp and will look to continue that performance in live competition against a physical Bisons defence.  Saturday afternoon will also serve as an opportunity for a pair of rookie quarterbacks for the Gryphons, Theo Landers and David Luke, to get their first taste of true competition at the CIS level.  Laval transfer, Alex Skinner, has recently joined the Gryphons but is not expected to play on Saturdayversus the Bisons.  When it comes to the Gryphons offensive line, there is no shortage of CIS experience with four players on the roster with at least four years of experience under their belt.  However, that unit will be tested against a tough Manitoba front which is led by 6-4, 300 pound defensive tackle David Onyemata who anchors the Bisons front seven.

For the Gryphons defensively, coordinator Kevin MacNeill and his staff will be keeping a close eye on several positional battles.  The best player on last year’s defence, Cam Walker, has traded in his Gryphons jersey for an Argos jersey.  He has left some big shoes to fill at defensive end.  Jordan Thompson, Black McNeely, Charlie Taggart, Reza Shayani will compete alongside a talented group of incoming rookie linemen to try to help fill the void left by Walker.

The Manitoba Bisons have some major voids to fill themselves after losing several of their star players from last season.  Gone is play-making receiver Nic Demski (Saskatchewan Roughriders), standout quarterback Jordan Yantz (tried out with Winnipeg Blue Bombers) as well as starting running back Kienan LaFrance (Ottawa RedBlacks).  Nevertheless, the Bisons will once again be one of the top teams in the Canada West conference after coming one play shy of reaching the Vanier Cup a season ago.

The Gryphons open up their OUA regular season schedule on Sunday, August 30 when they travel to Warrior Field to face Waterloo at 7pm.  Guelph’s home opener will take place on Labour Day (Monday, September 7) when they host the Laurier Golden Hawks at 1pm.

Recent Preseason Games for the Gryphons:
2014 – @ Montreal (L 38-10)
2013 – @ Western (integrated practice)
2012 – @ Saskatchewan (W 26-21)
2011 – vs Concordia (L 23-21)
2010 – @ Concordia (L 40-23)

Guelph’s complete 2015 schedule is listed below.

Saturday, August 22 – Guelph @ Manitoba

Sunday, August 30 – Guelph @ Waterloo (season opener)
Monday, September 7 – Laurier @ Guelph (Labour Day)
Saturday, September 12 – Guelph @ York
Saturday, September 19 – McMaster @ Guelph (Homecoming)
Saturday, September 26 – Ottawa @ Guelph (United Way Game)
Saturday, October 3 – Guelph @ Queen’s
Saturday, October 17 – Windsor @ Guelph (Breast Cancer Game)
Saturday, October 24 – Guelph @ Carleton

Non-combatants: Western, Toronto

OUA quarter-finals: October 31
OUA semi-finals: November 7
108th Yates Cup: November 14
Mitchell Bowl (RSEQ @ OUA): November 21
51st Vanier Cup: November 28 at Telus Stadium (Laval University – Quebec City)


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