The Gryphons are ready to face their largest crowd of the year, their Homecoming crowd.
And every Gryphon will be swayed by the noise the usually vocal crowd makes. Even the quiet ones will try to use the emotion of the crowd to their benefit.
“I kind of put it aside and try to focus on what needs to be done,” veteran free safety Royce Metchie says. “Realistically, I try to think of it as just another day at practice because it keeps me calm, keeps my mind focused. Eventually, I let it get to me. As the game goes on, I like to build the energy, but I like to start calm.”
Like many of the current Gryphons, they attended a Homecoming Game at Alumni Stadium while they were being recruited. When you’ve got the best Homecoming atmosphere in the league, you have to show it off to potential future Gryphons.
“It was one of the best energies I felt. The support here was incredible,” Metchie says. “I’d encourage everyone if they can to at least come to it. They should at least experience it once.”
And that support from the crowd can help the home side in the game.
“It means absolutely everything. It means the world to us,” Metchie says. “It means our hard work does not go basically unnoticed.”
The veterans on the Gryphons have long forgotten about last year’s lopsided Homecoming loss to the Western Mustangs. Guelph never brings in an easy opponent for its top-attended game of the season.
“Every week we just focus on the week at hand,” Metchie says. “What happened in the past happened in the past. What is important is just the next game. This game has been our focus. Last Homecoming, we put that to rest a long time ago.”
Metchie’s had a good start to his 2017 season and he’s hoping the second half of the regular season is just as good. In the first four games Metchie has 26 tackles and a forced fumble.
“It’s been going fairly well,” he says. “I had a good start and hopefully it gets even better (at Homecoming) in front of 10,000 fans. We have to put on a good show for them.”
While the Gryphons are 2-2-0, they have not lost in regulation time this season. The losses to the Ottawa Gee-Gees and Western both came in overtime.
“I’d say every team out there would hate to play us right now basically because they know we’ve gone through two OTs where we should have come out on top and we’re currently in that position where we’re not looking to ever go there again,” Metchie says. “We’re looking to take the game right from the start.”
Each team aims to get better every game and the Gryphons feel that’s a goal they’re accomplishing every time they step on the field.
“Definitely the focus has been getting better, Metchie says. “Even with the young guys you can see it. They’re starting to understand things more. Things are moving smoothly on offence, on defence, on special teams. Everyone is starting to play together and everyone is starting to feel more comfortable as the game slows down for everyone.”
However, that doesn’t mean the work stops and there isn’t room for more improvement.
“We’ve still got to work on a lot,” Metchie says. “Honestly, it’s just the little things like everyone says. We’ve just got to focus on the little things and when the little things start clicking, the bigger picture starts moving together.