Football: Puillandre back on the field for Gryphs

I have to send a heads-up to the progress of a familiar name from the old Simcoe Reformer beat, Scott Puillandre, who's hoping to be a starting linebacker for the Guelph Gryphons after missing more than a year with a serious knee injury.
Horsing around on ice with roommate and fellow linebacker Adam Dunk, Puillandre slipped, fell and tore the anterior cruciate ligament, medial collateral ligament and meniscus in his left knee.

Puillandre thought his once-promising OUA career was over before it even began. But the 6-foot, 220-pounder had surgery to repair the damage May 3. He spent the next 11 months rehabilitating his injury with Guelph's strength and conditioning coach Chris Mumford and was finally cleared to play this weekend. -- Greg Layson

It's self-indulgent and it piggybacks on Layson's reportage, but let it be said Puillandre was great to deal with back in the day at the Reformer, 2004 and 2005. He was the leader of the best football team Waterford, Ontario, ever had and it was almost comical how far past most of his high school opponents he was, not just physically but in terms of football IQ. Jeff Dertinger, the Reformer's sports reporter and now editor, would come back from covering a Waterford game just chortling at how many kids had been laid out by Puillandre (who was one of those "last name only guys").

Some of Scott's greatest hits actually came on kickoff coverage, not when he was playing defence. Waterford, like a lot of rural high schools, didn't have a serious soccer program, which lent to having a spotty kicking game. The way it's remembered is that when Waterford kicked off, the opposing returner would often move up to take the ball or pick it up on the bounce, which would take his eye off the players bearing down on him. No one really wanted to block Puillandre when he was at full gallop, so it was like he would get a 40-yard free run at some poor kid.

Not having a kicking game cost Waterford's 2005 team the Haldimand-Norfolk title. In what became known, to the guy who wrote the headline, as the Snow Bowl Shocker -- five people had their blowers out for five hours to get the field clear enough to play after more than a foot of wet snow fell overnight -- Waterford lost 21-20 to McKinnon Park from Caledonia. The Wolves missed two extra points, settled for a punt single from the 14-yard line and had a last-minute field goal blocked.

Granted, if Waterford had won that day, there might not be the same interest in what Scott Puillandre is doing at the CIS level. Also, by getting just a couple sentences about that game instead of a book; you're getting away Scott-free. OUA running backs and receivers might not be so lucky next season.

(Linking to the story also gives some pub to the hardest-working university sports reporter in Ontario, Greg Layson. Cross-posted to Out of Left Field.)
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  1. Another OUA story. Big surprise.

  2. The door is always open, Vic. Please help us improve; we need contributors to represent the West, both coasts, Quebec and the higher-profile women's team sports. If not yourself, surely you know someone who would fit the bill nicely.

    That's a lot better than being passive-aggressive.

  3. A well deserving story

  4. Mckinnon Park had more heart than Waterford... Waterford planned the party before they had won... BIG MISTAKE!!!