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Sackville's football Mounties impress at pre-season Summer Showdown

Mountie quarterback Jakob Loucks runs the ball in one of Saturday’s games against the Guelph Gryphons.
Mountie quarterback Jakob Loucks runs the ball in one of Saturday’s games against the Guelph Gryphons.

ANTIGONISH, N.S. – While it was merely a day when the players had an opportunity to impress their coaches sufficiently to earn a spot on the final roster, and while coaches say winning or losing is of no consequence, there isn’t a coach who has a mind-set to win every competition, exhibition, tournament or actual league competition.

Scott Brady is no different in claiming pre-season games are strictly an opportunity to assess both rookies and returnees so the best 12 players may be on the field at any given time.

Well, he must have been a little impressed by what he saw on Saturday when the Mounties, St. F X and Guelph gathered to play each other twice in 15-minute matches.

The results? The Guelph Gryphons and Mount Allison Mounties ended the day with identical three win and one loss records, while the defending Atlantic Conference champion X-Men failed to post a victory.

The schedule went like this: Guelph 15-St. FX 3; Guelph 30-Mt. A 0; Mt. A 20-St. FX 2; Guelph 17-St. FX 0; MTA 10-Guelph 0.

When all the points were totalled, it was Guelph 62, MTA 40 and St. F. X. 8.

In another exhibition game, the St. Mary’s Huskies edged the Acadia Axemen 20-16.

Despite the fact these were all exhibitions, the results seem to favour the Mounties, who had been considered early season favourites along with the rebuilt Huskies. One factor in consideration is that the Mounties have a proven quarterback in Jakob Loucks, who was rookie of the year in Canadian university football last season. The other teams are introducing new people at the key position and this could prove crucial.

Coach Scott Brady noted that this was a starting point for his squad and there are some things they need to do better.

“I think there was some very positive things today – it’s the best job we’ve done in the second half of any exhibition games we’ve played in terms of getting guys in and out and getting some younger guys some experience. Some of the starters were starting for the first time so getting them into the game against good teams like Guelph and St. FX was really positive to get them some experience.”

One young man who seemed to stand out was former Tantramar Titan Dylan Cormier. After a year of playing on special teams Cormier seems to have the inside track on taking over the position held last year by Kyle Horsman – the defensive specialist who led in tackles.

A Guelph Gryphons player has nowhere to go as four Mounties, led by Jesse Myers (#10) converge to take him down.

Unfortunately, fans were unable to see the MVP of last year’s NB High School Football League and member of Canada’s U19 team, Aiden O’Neal. The starry ex-Titan sustained a wrist injury while working out in the gymnasium and according to his dad will no doubt miss action for more than a month.

The position vacated by Michael Bohan had posed a major problem as the fifth year star had done an amazing job defending the pass last year. However Skyler LeBlanc, a senior from B. C., looked comfortable in that spot on the weekend and could be the answer.

Corlan Challenger, a big receiver in his second season, showed some outstanding routes and good hands, while rookie Malcolm Miller promises to make it difficult to be overlooked by the staff.

It’s really too early for Brady to make any final starting announcements, although you can be assured that Loucks will open at quarterback this Saturday when the Acadia Axemen arrive at Alumni Field for a 2 o’clock match to officially launch the 2017 Atlantic Universities Football Conference season.

The football Mounties prepare to take to the field for Saturday’s Summer Showdown, which featured six mini exhibition games between Mount Allison, the St. FX X-Men and the Guelph Gryphons.

Brady is invariably shy about making such pronouncements, but you can also look to see two former All-Conference performers – Chris Reid and Kiel Ambursley – carry the ball behind a huge offensive wall headed by centre Andre Goguen, Brock O’Brien, Ross MacCormack and Nick Oppong.

For sure it will be the powerful Donovan Glave anchoring the defensive wall at tackle, while it would be a surprise if Mitch MacAulay and Jesse Myers weren’t there as well, with Cormier being joined by All-Conference performers Devante Sampson, Philip Thompson. Damian Halstead and Nate Rostek.

The Mounties will be going all out to rack up victory number one on their way to what they expect will be their fifth consecutive Loney Bowl. But observers around the Maritimes are predicting a fight with the revamped Huskies and Bishops during the early days, with St. FX requiring a little time to hit their peak due to a major shakeup in coaching staff.

Advance sale of tickets for the season are now available at the athletic centre office or at the gate prior to the game.

 

Game by game scoring breakdown

 

Guelph 15, St. FX 3

– Safety conceded by St. FX at 4:07 to give Guelph early 2-0 lead.

– Guelph linebacker Luke Korol recovered a St. FX fumble by QB Josh Millar to run it in 36 yards to increase the lead to 9-0.

– Jonathan Heidebrecht kicked a 20-yard field goal for the X-Men to pull to within six points.

– Guelph receiver Jordan Terrio scored their second major of the game with a 16-yard catch off a James Roberts pass.

– Two-point conversion attempt was incomplete as the game wrapped up 15-3.

 

Guelph 30, Mt. A 0

– Johnny Augustine scored a one-yard TD run on the Gryphons opening drive of the game to give them an early 7-0 advantage

– Gabriel Ferraro booted his first of three field goals at 4:39; this one came from 31 yards out.

– Running back Jamal Hooker scored a touchdown on a 21-yard run to increase the lead to 17-0.

– Terrio scored his second major of the afternoon, catching a 10-yard pass from Theodore Landers with 50 seconds left in the game.

– Ferraro then booted two field goal bombs with 17 seconds left (51 yards) and no time on the clock (57 yards) to give Guelph the 30-0 shutout.

 

Mt. A 20, St. FX 2

– Mount Allison conceded a safety on the opening drive of the game in what would amount to St. FX's only points scored.

– Mountie wide receiver Malik Richards had a 69 yard TD pass from Jakob Loucks.

– Ryan Lambert kicked a 43-yard field goal at 8:35 to give the Mounties a 10-2 lead.

– Kiel Ambursley scored a one-yard TD rush on a third-and-goal play for Mount A.

– Lambert booted his second field goal of the game from 23 yards out to round out the scoring in the 20-2 win.

 

Guelph 17, St. FX 0

– An eight-yard TD run by Jamal Hooker on the second drive of game gave Guelph an early 7-0 lead.

– With under three minutes left, Jordan Terrio caught a 10-yard pass from Theodore Landers for their second major.

– A 35-yard field goal with no time left on the clock by Chris MacLean rounded out the Gryphons scoring as the X-Men were held off the score sheet.

 

Mt. A 10, Guelph 0

– Guelph conceded a safety in the opening two minutes as Mt. A took an early 2-0 lead.

– A Mounties touchdown by Nathan Jones (3rd and goal) on a one-yard run after a long drive gave them a 9-0 advantage.

– A rouge on the ensuing kick-off rounded out the scoring in the 10-0 Mount Allison win

 

Mt. A 10, St. FX 3

– The Mounties opened the scoring at 5:09 on 15-yard touchdown catch by Corlan Challenger from Troy Downton.

– A Lambert field goal with just over five minutes to play from 24 yards out gave them a 10-0 lead.

– Keiran Burnham got the X-Men on the board with a 36-yard field goal with 1:21 left on the clock

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