Guelph Gryphons beat undefeated Western Mustangs for Yates Cup

Guelph's John Rush had 3 sacks in the Yates Cup (OUA photo

John Rush and the Guelph Gryphons finally have their Yates Cup, while Greg Marshall's mighty Western Mustangs will have to be happy with all their CIS regular-season records.

Rush and the Gryphons veterans won the day against Western, which was hopeful of advancing with untested backup quarterback Stevenson Bone at the controls, with a 23-17 victory for the school's first Ontario University Athletics football title since 1996, two seasons after the Mustangs' most recent Vanier Cup title. Guelph got out of London, Ont., with North America's oldest  football trophy after Royce Metchie's tackle at the five-yard line on the final play.

The Mustangs trailed for all of eight minutes 49 seconds this season — the first two minutes after allowing an opening-kickoff single to Queen's, and after Guelph's Gabriel Ferraro kicked a go-ahead field goal with 6:49 left.

The Gryphons, with OUA defensive player of the year Rush racking up 12 tackles and three sacks, held a team that averaged more than a point per minute in the regular season to a solitary field goal after halftime. Guelph James Roberts (14-of-28, 221 yards, one TD), wideout Jacob Scarfone (six catches for 142, one TD) and running back Johnny Augustine (19 rushes for 108) kept the first-down chains moving. Guelph will host the Mitchell Bowl against defending Vanier champion Montreal.

"We executed well and that kind of flipped the script in the second half," Roberts told CHCH. "Defence wins championships and that's true from the ground up in sports. They have been picking us up all year."

Bone (21-of-39, 236 yards), replacing injured Hec Crighton Trophy finalist Will Finch (head injury), nearly authored a victory drive. Down by six points and facing third-and-three with just less than two minutes left, Marshall eschewed going to his record-setting rushing attack and called a pass play. A harried Bone, making just his fourth start in high school, CEGEP and OUA combined, overthrew 6-foot-5 slotback Jamel Kett for the turnover on downs.

The 'Stangs got the ball back 80 yards from a winning TD with 90 seconds left and no timeouts. Kett had two catches to help Western get to the 10-yard line before the Gryphons barred the door.

Guelph stalwarts such as linebacker Curtis Newton (9½ tackles) and the defensive-tackle tag team of Donnie Egerter and Daniel Horta were integral to containing Western. Bone wound up as Western's leading rusher with 85 yards and both TDs, while star Alex Taylor was held to 58.

Scarfone caught a game-tying 31-yard TD on the first play of the fourth quarter and also had a long grab on a bootleg pass from Roberts that set up the go-ahead field goal.

It's a bitter loss for Western, whose defensive end John Biewald was Herculean with two sacks, a forced fumble and fumble recovery.

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @naitSAYger.