Thomas Cochrane holds on to the tackle for the senior Gryphons, aiding in a 22-7 win for Greater Fort Erie Secondary School against Westlane Secondary School in Niagara Falls. Joe Seliske/Special to the Times
The senior Gryphons football team travelled to Westlane Secondary School in Niagara Falls Friday with second place on the line and a first-round playoff bye.
The defences for both teams took centre stage in a hard hitting back and forth battle. In the first quarter the Greater Fort Erie Secondary School kicker Cole Mackinnon opened the scoring with a 25-yard field goal. In the second quarter Westlane’s defence responded with a block and a punt that was returned for a 50 yard touchdown.
This, however, would be the only score the Gryphons would concede on the day. The Gryphons responded to the Westlane score with a 5-yard touchdown run by Colin Howe at the end of the second quarter, giving GFESS a 9-7 lead at halftime. Head coach Dave Sauer said on the first half, “This is the type of game we were expecting today. Both defences are playing tough and there is some hard hitting going on. The touchdown at the end of the half and their missed field goal was big for us.”
In the second half the Gryphon defence continued their stellar play, as Westlane did not cross midfield. In the third quarter Howe scored another touchdown on a short run giving the Gryphons a nine-point lead going into the fourth quarter. The GFESS defence continued to give their offence good field position, but the Gryphons could not take advantage with any scoring plays. At the end of the game the Gryphon defence took matters into their own hands scoring a touchdown of their own on a 25-yard interception return by linebacker Cliff Witbeck. As time ran out the 4-1 Gryphons clinched second place in the league with a hard-fought 22-7 victory. Said Sauer on the victory, “The defence was outstanding today as they have been all year. I am really proud of their efforts today against a very talented team. We did enough on offence today, but we will have to work on our execution for the playoffs. This has been a very successful season for us and we want to continue this momentum going into the playoffs.”
The senior Gryphons were rewarded with a first-round playoff bye and will open the playoffs at home Nov. 2 or 3.
Special to the Times