Extra special teams in GGs' victory

CHRIS OCCHIUZZI -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:31 AM ET

Gee-Gees 35, Gryphons 21, CIS Football

A day before Halloween, the Gee-Gees' special-teams unit was a treat to watch at Frank Clair Stadium.

The underrated group helped avoid catastrophe after Ottawa let a 25-0 lead slip away, consistently providing good field position and even posting some points in a 35-21 victory over Guelph in their OUA football quarter-final.

Kicker and punter Ara Tchobanian placed six punts inside the Guelph 20 -- one for a rouge and three which the Ottawa defence turned into conceded safeties.

Wide receiver David Crane returned a punt 55 yards for the Gee-Gees' second touchdown and combined with Daniel Hall for 102 punt-return yards.

And Curtis Fraser and Aaron Rehel totalled 126 yards on five kick-off returns.

A good all-around day from a unit which doesn't always get the respect it deserves.

"Outstanding," said Gee-Gees coach Denis Piche of his special teams. "All three sides of the game are very, very important and (we) proved that (yesterday).

"Without the special teams, this game is a different outcome."

On offence, tailback Joe Sullivan rushed for 126 yards and two touchdowns -- the second on a 38-yard run with 42.5 seconds to play in the fourth quarter to put the Gryphons away.

"We started out strong, but we lost our swagger a bit around the second quarter," said Sullivan. "We got up again in the fourth and put it away."

In the second quarter, Crane ran for his second major of the game and Ottawa quarterback Josh Sacobie found wideout J.P. Asselin in the end zone for a two-yard score, giving the Gee-Gees a 25-0 lead with 2:36 to play in the half.

Then it was Guelph's turn to find the end zone.

Sullivan's fumble on his own 1-yard line led to Gryphons quarterback Justin Dunk's one-yard lunge for a TD with a minute to play in the second. Dunk then ran seven yards for a major on his team's opening drive of the third quarter to make it 25-14.

With five minutes left in the third, Dunk hooked up with receiver Jeff Keegan for an 81-yard touchdown to close the gap to four points.

But that was as close as Guelph would get as Ottawa improved to 6-1 against the Gryphons since joining the OUA in 1998.

The Gee-Gees head to London on Saturday to battle Western for a Yates Cup berth. Piche is confident his team will rise to the occasion.

"We got to play within ourselves, execute, play error-free football," he said. "We got to want to be an All-Canadian on every play at all positions. And if we do that, there's nobody who can stop us."

chris.occhiuzzi@ott.sunpub.com


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