The York University Lions football team will finish its 2012 campaign Saturday afternoon when the squad welcomes the Guelph Gryphons to York Stadium for the final week of the regular season.
Kickoff is set for 1pm and the first 500 fans will receive a free string knapsack. The game can also be seen live online at SSN Canada.
The Lions (2-5) still have an outside chance of grabbing the sixth and final playoff spot in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA), but they’ll need a win over the second-seeded Gryphons and help from around the league to make that happen. The Lions need Laurier to lose to McMaster and Windsor and Toronto to defeat Waterloo and Queen’s, respectively, in order to advance.
Lions football players gear up for final game of regular season
Guelph (6-1), meanwhile, is one of three teams to have already secured a spot in the post-season. They will finish in second place in the OUA standings regardless of this weekend’s results, and will host the first OUA semifinal Saturday, Nov. 3, following a bye in the quarter-finals.
The Lions are riding a big wave of momentum thanks to a thrilling 36-24 victory over the rival Toronto Varsity Blues in the 43rd Red & Blue Bowl on Saturday. The Lions scored on their opening drive and did not let up throughout the first half to take a 30-9 lead into the break. The Varsity Blues chipped away at the lead in the second half and got to within six, at 30-24, but that was as close as they would get before the Lions finally put the game away with another major with just over one minute remaining on the clock.
Running back Kyle Exume of Whitby continued his tremendous season with another three touchdowns, bringing his total to seven on the year. He is fourth in OUA rushing with 630 yards in seven games.
Quarterback Myles Gibbon of Montreal also had a big game on the ground, racking up 102 yards on 16 attempts, and added another 215 yards in the air to bring his passing total to 1,900 on the season, which ranks third in the OUA. He has thrown for nine touchdowns this season and has a completion percentage of 54 per cent.
The two of them have combined to give York the third best offence in the OUA, as the unit has averaged 417.43 yards per game to sit behind only Windsor and McMaster.
Regardless of Saturday’s result, the Lions are guaranteed to finish with their best record since a 3-5 mark in 2005.
The Gryphons are the surprise team in the OUA this season. They were blown out in their opener, suffering a 41-point loss to the No. 1 McMaster Marauders, but since then have rattled off six straight wins, including back-to-back victories over nationally-ranked Western and Queen’s in each of the last two weeks, and are now at a season high of No. 5 in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS).
Both squads have played their share of exciting, tense games this season. The Lions lost three in a row, to Laurier, Waterloo and Windsor, but a combined nine points, while the Gryphons eclipsed Toronto and Laurier by a combined five points, nearly squandered a 33-7 lead over the Mustangs before pulling out the win with a field goal 18 seconds before the final whistle, and overcame a 28-3 deficit to the Gaels for their most recent victory.
The Gryphons are also led by a strong quarterback-running back tandem. Robert Farquharson of Niagara Falls is third in the OUA with 809 rushing yards and has scored seven touchdowns, while Jazz Lindsey of Markham is fifth in passing yards with 1,438 and has thrown for 11 touchdowns and only four interceptions.
Heading into the final week of the season only the Waterloo Warriors have been eliminated from the playoffs, and overall there are 21 different possible playoff scenarios depending on this weekend’s results.
In addition to the action on the field, fans will have the chance to win a number of prizes through various contests and prize draws. Among the items up for grabs Saturday afternoon are tickets for the Bills Toronto Series game featuring the Buffalo Bills and the Seattle Seahawks Sunday, Dec. 16, and a one-night stay at the Holiday Inn Toronto Yorkdale.
Food trucks and the beer garden will also be on site and open for the duration of the game.
Gates open at 11:30am and tickets can be purchased at the door. Tickets for all York students are free. Adult tickets are available for $8 and non-York students and seniors for $5. Children 12 and under are free.