GUELPH – It was a night to recognize the many faces that make Gryphon Football the special program that it is. Coaches, players, staff, supporters and members of the Guelph community came out to the University of Guelph's Creelman Hall on Saturday night (Jan. 27) for the Wildman Dinner, the annual awards night for the Guelph Gryphons football team. "The recipients of these awards, be it for perseverance, community service or on-field play, all proudly embody what it means to be a member of the Gryphon football family," said head coach Kevin MacNeill. "Their roles come with expectations and a standard of excellence, which have to be met to be a part of this program. "I can sincerely say that everyone here tonight receiving an award is deserving – and we are honoured to recognize them all for their significant contributions." Senior defensive back Orion Edwards proudly accepted the 2017 Ted Wildman Award, given each year to the Gryphon football player who shows excellence in the classroom, community, and on the field.
2017 Wildman trophy winner, Orion Edwards
Edwards has done extensive work in his memorable time as a Gryphon, impacting football games but more importantly, helping others in numerous ways. The criminal justice major from Newmarket, ON made an impression on the field immediately, earning a spot on the OUA All-Rookie team back in 2013. A key member of the 2015 Yates Cup-winning squad, Edwards dressed for every game from his second year on, aside from 2016, a season he spent rehabbing an injury suffered in the East West All-Star Game earlier that year. But for all that the gifted defensive player has done on the field, Edwards will always be remembered for his incredible contributions on campus and in the community. The two-time Pflug Family Community Service Award winner, including this year, was a nominee for both student athlete Mentor of the Year and W.F. Mitchell Sportsman of the Year in 2017. His commitment to others began early in his career when Edwards, as a rookie, traveled to Southeast Asia on a mission trip with Power to Change to learn how to prevent human trafficking and help victims and their families. He is the leader of Student Athletes in Action and spearheaded Gryphon Football's partnership with the Guelph Foodbank, recruiting teammates to volunteer on site. Edwards is also a child and youth worker with Avalon Homes and was the male varsity representative for Gryphon Athletics Council in 2015/16. He has participated in Bowl for Kids events, as well as an Athletes in Action mission trip to the Pan Am Games.A member of the Guelph Sign Language Club, Edwards is also the Gryphons' team chaplain, leading the group in pre- and post-game prayers. "Orion is an incredible football player but he is honestly an even better person," said MacNeill. "He has had a lasting impact on this program with his selflessness and work ethic. You can't ask for a better individual to help lead a group of young, impressionable players and there is no one more deserving of the Wildman Award. "Orion is the perfect example of what all student athletes should strive for. It's been an absolute pleasure to coach him." Fourth-year kicker Gabe Ferraro won the Donald Forster Trophy given to the Gryphons' team MVP. Ferraro was sensational in his senior year, earning First Team All-Canadian honours after making a U SPORTS single-season record 33 field goals. He surpassed the previous record of 26 set by his brother and kicking coach Daniel.
2017 MVP, Gabe Ferraro
The Mississauga, ON native also set a school record for points (126) and established the University of Guelph mark for career field goals (69), previously held by Rob Maver. A pair of established veterans got the nod for Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year. Fifth-year running back Johnny Augustine capped off a fantastic career with one of his best seasons, finishing with 122 carries for 690 rushing yards, and nine touchdowns on the ground (second in the OUA).The Welland, ON native was a clutch performer during Guelph's late-season run to a playoff spot, vaulting him into second on the school's all-time rushing list, and first in Gryphon history for rushing scores with 19. Fourth-year linebacker Nick Parisotto, a star in Guelph's secondary, was recognized for his role in the Gryphon defence. The Guelph, ON native, known for his leadership and big-play ability, was third on the team with 32 tackles and led his teammates with two interceptions. Wildman Dinner Award WinnersRiddell Coach of the Year – Claudio Silvestri St. Thomas MoreCaptain's Award – Justis CroasdaleAcademic Support Award – Lauren SirrsRichard P. Kohler Perseverance Award – Jacob ScarfoneGranite Gryphon Award – James RobertsPflug Family Community Service Award – Orion EdwardsSupport Staff – Sarah ShepherdUnsung Hero Award – Matt ReuterScout Team Players of the Year – O: Eric Deschambault, D: Kyle FunkSpecial Teams Player of the Year – Job ReinhartRookie of the Year – Sandor ModLineman of the Year – Andrew PickettOffensive Player of the Year – Johnny AugustineDefensive Player of the Year – Nick ParisottoDonald Forster Trophy (MVP) – Gabriel FerraroKyle Walters Trophy – Derek DrouillardTed Wildman Memorial Trophy – Orion Edwards