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Mounties fall to Huskies in Friday night action

Mount Allison’s Chris Reid, shown in this file photo scoring a major earlier in the season, is one of three key Mounties currently on the injured list.. PAUL D. LYNCH PHOTO – PAULDLYNCH.SMUGMUG.COM
Mount Allison’s Chris Reid, shown in this file photo scoring a major earlier in the season, is one of three key Mounties currently on the injured list.. PAUL D. LYNCH PHOTO – PAULDLYNCH.SMUGMUG.COM

HALIFAX, N.S. – The road to the playoffs got even grimmer for the Mount Allison Mounties on Friday night in Halifax when they were stunned for the second time this season by the rebuilt Saint Mary’s Huskies – this one ending 29-21.

In their initial meeting the Mounties watched a 27-1 lead melt down as the Huskies scored 30 points to take their first win after 18 consecutive losses by a 32-27 count.

As a result of Friday’s results the Sackville squad has one win in five outings to sit in the basement of the Atlantic Universities Football Conference along with Acadia Axemen whom they defeated 20-12 a week earlier for their lone victory. St. Mary’s now holds a 2-3 record, while the powerful. St. Francis Xavier X-Men have an unblemished 5-0 mark. The second place finisher at the end of regulation play hosts the third place finisher with the winner going to the Loney Bowl against the pennant winner.

In their initial meeting the Mounties watched a 27-1 lead melt down as the Huskies scored 30 points to take their first win after 18 consecutive losses by a 32-27 count.

As a result of Friday’s results the Sackville squad has one win in five outings to sit in the basement of the Atlantic Universities Football Conference along with Acadia Axemen whom they defeated 20-12 a week earlier for their lone victory. St. Mary’s now holds a 2-3 record, while the powerful. St. Francis Xavier X-Men have an unblemished 5-0 mark. The second place finisher at the end of regulation play hosts the third place finisher with the winner going to the Loney Bowl against the pennant winner.

Rookie head coach Scott Brady, obviously disappointed with the results so far, said he was pleased that his team played much better Friday than they had previously, but obviously the Huskies had developed even faster.

“We played well at times,” he said, “but made too many mistakes.  No question Brock Berglund, the quarterback for Saint Mary’s, is a super player and is difficult to contain.”

Again it was penalties – holding, rough play and offsides – that proved costly as the Mounties were flagged 18 times for 195 yards. This has been an ongoing problem for the team this season and is a turnaround from previous years when it was usually St. Mary’s who led in fouls. 

The huge turnout of Mountie alumni shook the rafters of Huskie stadium five minutes into the game. The exciting Idahosa Yorke corralled a Huskie punt on his own 22-yard line, spotted some daylight, took off for the sidelines, picked up some great blocks, the last from Kyle Horsman, and used his breakaway speed to dance into the Huskie end zone. This proved to be the highlight for the visitors as a stingy St. Mary’s defensive unit limited them to a grand total of 168 yards of offense – obviously less that they gave away in penalties.

 

The winners managed a field goal to leave the Mounties up 7-3 after 15 minutes but a d’Shaun Miller touchdown shot the winners out front 12-7 by intermission.

With Chris Reid out with a lower body injury, it was left to Kiel Ambursley to carry the mail and he came through early in the third quarter with a four-yard run for a major to conclude a long Mountie drive.

But consecutive touchdowns by Berglund put the game away and beyond reach with less than six minutes remaining in the game. However, Troy Downton, subbing for regular quarterback Jakob Loucks, showed some moves to hit paydirt with two minutes remaining to complete the scoring.

Brady said Loucks and Reid, along with Michael Bohan, are to be assessed for lower body injuries. All three are key performers and their presence will be needed if the team is to advance to the playoffs.

It was again a stout Mountie defense that picked up much of the slack for the offense. Kyle Horsman continued to put up big numbers with another eight tackles to lead the conference in that category. Rush end Jordan Redding had seven, including a sack and Damian Halstead added 6.5 tackles. Donovan Glave led a front seven that managed to sack Berglund a couple of times despite his elusiveness.

But offensively the Mounties left much to be desired. Ambursley was the big gainer with127 yards on 24 attempts, while Dakota Brush managed three receptions for nearly all the passing yards. Berglund completed 14 of 32 passes for 272 yards for another outstanding performance.

The time of possession about reflected the score with the winners controlling the ball for nearly 33 of the 60 minutes.

One of the major problems was that the Mounties were unsuccessful in completing any attempts deep, being forced to stay along the ground or using the short pass, while Berglund was able to find receivers, especially Miller, who snared seven for 170 yards.

So now it will be back to the drawing board and the health centre. The team faces what would appear to be a “must” win this Saturday when they travel to Wolfville to tackle the Axemen, whom they turned back earlier. A second win would boost their stock for a playoff spot but much will depend on the condition of Bohan, Reid and especially Loucks.

As expected, this has been a season of transition – from coaching to new player personnel. Over the previous three seasons the team has brought a great deal of success and pride to the community with three successive Loney Bowl appearances. As a result, hopes have been elevated but success seems to come in cycles. Perhaps it will require a year or two for the Mounties to regain their mojo and again move into the driver’s seat.

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