When the Gryphons played the Western Mustangs at Western’s TD Stadium on Labour Day, running back Brandon Gordon’s fifth and final season was put on hold with a shoulder injury.
That’s in Gordon’s mind a little now that the Gryphons are headed back to Western for Saturday’s semifinal game with the Mustangs.
“It kind of is, but it’s the same thing as Ottawa,” he said following Wednesday’s practice at Alumni Stadium. “It could happen, but it’s just a matter of luck, I’d say, and I’m prepared to put my body on the line and see what happens.
“God forbid it does.”
Gordon carried the ball eight times for 41 yards in the Labour Day game before going down with the injury that kept him out of the lineup until the regular-season finale in Ottawa against the Carleton Ravens when he had a single carry for a gain of one yard.
He returned to full duty in last weekend’s quarter-final victory over the Ottawa Gee-Gees when he gained 80 yards on 12 carries.
“It was nice and it was fun to play,” Gordon said of being back in a game. “This is my final year ever playing football in my life and to get back in and do something was pretty good.”
A software engineering student from Mississauga, the 5-foot-9, 185-pound Gordon will be joining the work force.
“I want to pursue my other ambitions following my program,” he said.
Returning to Western means returning to the stadium where the Gryphons could have won last time there. They rallied from an eight-point deficit late in the third quarter to lead by seven midway through the fourth. But Western came back, forced overtime and won in the shootout.
“I feel like when we play Western, our mentality and aggression just goes up that much more which makes us able to ball out the way we do and have a good game,” Gordon said.
Gordon followed the training routine he was given in order to get back in game action.
“Thankfully our trainer Dave (Wright) and the staff, they helped me and just the workouts they gave me,” Gordon said. “That’s basically it.”
Watching practices when you’re hurt isn’t the most enjoyable thing, but Gordon didn’t find it too bad.
“I had my friends around and they made it good for me,” he said.
Now Gordon and his Gryphon friends are preparing to battle Western with a berth in the OUA championship Yates Cup game at stake.
“We have to keep the mental toughness and focus,” he said. “That’s all it comes down to with this team. They have big bodies on defence and offence and we truly have to step up and show them everything and ball out.”
To date, Gordon has 128 carries for 745 yards and two touchdowns in regular-season play during his time in Guelph and he also has 42 carries for 290 yards and a touchdown in playoff games including 15 carries for 98 yards in the 2015 Yates Cup win over the Mustangs at Western, the game that Gordon counts as the highlight of his Gryphon career.
He’s looking to add another memory Saturday.
“I’m looking forward to turning up again and shutting them down.