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X-Men dominate Mounties in weekend game

Although this may have been his rookie year, Mountie quarterback Jakob Loucks won the respect of fans, teammates and coaches. PAUL D. LYNCH PHOTO – PAULDLYNCH.COM
Although this may have been his rookie year, Mountie quarterback Jakob Loucks won the respect of fans, teammates and coaches. PAUL D. LYNCH PHOTO – PAULDLYNCH.COM

ANTIGONISH, N.S. – Some people would call it a “wakeup call” but most others would use a more descriptive term – like “a good swift kick to the posterior.”

Either way the Mounties suffered their worst defeat at the hands of an Atlantic Universities Football Conference foe since 2003 when they were bombed 69-0 by Blake Nill’s rampaging Saint Mary’s Huskies.

Yes, the 65-17 shellacking handed our Mounties by the pennant winning St. Francis Xavier X-Men on Saturday afternoon in Antigonish came as a bit of a surprise.

Actually, the Sackville squad had been on a two-game winning streak and coming off their best performance of the year, a 39-9 trouncing of the Saint Mary’s Huskies, at team that had defeated them in two previous meetings.

But the Mounties have locked up second place in the conference thanks to a 10-3 victory by Acadia over St. Mary’s. As a result, the Mounties will host Acadia in the conference semi-final in Sackville this Saturday. A hometown victory would catapult the Mounties into their fourth consecutive Loney Bowl game, which would be held in Antigonish the following weekend.

Either way the Mounties suffered their worst defeat at the hands of an Atlantic Universities Football Conference foe since 2003 when they were bombed 69-0 by Blake Nill’s rampaging Saint Mary’s Huskies.

Yes, the 65-17 shellacking handed our Mounties by the pennant winning St. Francis Xavier X-Men on Saturday afternoon in Antigonish came as a bit of a surprise.

Actually, the Sackville squad had been on a two-game winning streak and coming off their best performance of the year, a 39-9 trouncing of the Saint Mary’s Huskies, at team that had defeated them in two previous meetings.

But the Mounties have locked up second place in the conference thanks to a 10-3 victory by Acadia over St. Mary’s. As a result, the Mounties will host Acadia in the conference semi-final in Sackville this Saturday. A hometown victory would catapult the Mounties into their fourth consecutive Loney Bowl game, which would be held in Antigonish the following weekend.

Chris Reid was a workhorse for the Mounties in Saturday’s game against the X-Men, racking up 76 yards on the ground. PAUL D. LYNCH PHOTO – PAULDLYNCH.COM

In spite of Saturday’s one-sided loss, Scott Brady’s squad will enter the semi-finals as favourites. They hold 2-12 and 15-13 decisions over the Axemen during the season but will need to make some serious adjustments if they are to continue along the trail. Last season they went out in the Loney Bowl on a last second 42-yard field goal by the X-Men.

Even though the Mounties were soundly whipped on the scoreboard, the statistical sheet showed a somewhat different story. While the Mounties were successful in stopping the vaunted running game led by Jordon Socholotiuk, they had minimal success against the pinpoint passing of quarterback Tevin Cook. He was unstoppable in completing 24 of 29 passing attempts for 421 yards and seven touchdowns, while escaping any interceptions and sacks. In doing so, Cook established a new season high in passing and proved why he has been a consistent All-Conference choice.

It proved to be a contest for the first 15 minutes. The winners struck for a pair of aerial touchdowns and led 14-0 after just over four minutes. But the Mounties responded quickly and notched 10 points on a six-yard touchdown run by Chris Reid and a 32-yard field goal by Ryan Lambert. This was followed by an X-Men field goal and they went up by a touchdown – 17-10.

But “that was about all she wrote” as the X-Men notched 27 unanswered points in the second quarter to nurse a 44-10 lead in the dressing room and continued the onslaught in the second half with 21 in the third but were blanked in the fourth while the Mounties managed to find the end zone once.

The Mounties actually led their opponents in a number of categories. In first downs they led 26-21, in time of possession 32 minutes to 28, in rushing 191 to 162 but the airways proved a different story. Cook was 24 of 29 for 421 yards, while the losing squad managed 14 of 31 for 234 yards. Overall, the winners ran up a total of 581 yards of offense to 356 for the Mounties.

Reid was a workhorse for the Mounties as he ground out 76 yards along the ground while Socholotiuk managed 134, including one touchdown run of 74 yards. Dakota Brush was the prime receiver with five catches, while Denian Martin led X.

Devante Sampson laboured to record 7.5 tough tackles, while Darren Cossar came up with six.

The main challenge facing the Mounties from Acadia this week should be to stop the running game, although it has been shown they can be prone to a pinpoint passer. Led by Donovan Glave the front seven must improve their push, while the offensive line must give quarterback Jakob Loucks more time. Should Brady be successful in reaching these points the Mounties should be ready for another try against the X-Men with a better idea of what to expect.

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