Acadia Axemen Fall Short in Mount Allison Mounties Homecoming Game

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A packed crowd in Sackville, New Brunswick witnessed the Mount Allison Mounties take their first win of the 2016 AUS Football season. With the loss to the Mounties, the Acadia Axemen record fell to 1-3. Second place in the AUS now sits in a three-way tie between the Acadia Axemen, Mount Allison Mounties, and St. Mary’s Huskies. The St. Francis Xavier X-Men remain on top of the division at 3-1 with their victory over SMU.

Both Acadia and Mount Allison were coming in off of big losses. Acadia fell to the Montréal Carabins 63-1, while Mount Allison lost to the Laval Rouge et Or 49-4. Despite these huge defeats, this week’s match-up remained close and fierce. Mount Allison’s offence improved with more passing plays and less reliance on the running game. Acadia’s defence has been their strongest point all season, and would prove to be difficult to crack. Having not won a game in 2016, the Mount Allison Mounties homecoming victory could prove to be a highlight of their season.

Acadia Axemen Fall Short in Mount Allison Mounties Homecoming Game

First Half

The opening quarter was worrisome for Acadia. Starting quarterback Cody Cluett has had a string of leg injuries, and on the first drive of the game, Cluett was injured after taking a sack from Jesse Myers. Cluett was replaced by third-string quarterback Hunter Guernard. Fortunately for Acadia, Cluett eventually returned to the field. The other side of the quarterback match-up saw Mount Allison’s Jakob Loucks with a strong performance. Loucks spent much of the game rushing, but in the second quarter his arm became the showcase.

The second quarter also saw the first points scored in the game, a 37-yard field goal by Mount Allison kicker Ryan Lambert. While the Mount Allison offence developed, Acadia’s strong defence made their presence known with an interception by William Wojcik. Loucks went down with an injury, but returned to the game after Mount Allison surrendered two points to Acadia. Lambert scored another field goal to end the half 6-2 for Mount Allison.

Second Half

The second half saw the game’s first touchdown, early in the third quarter. Cluett made a long throw to his preferred target, receiver Sabastian Robinson. Although it initially appeared to be a touchdown, officials determined Robinson’s knee to have come down on the one-yard line. Robinson then drove in the proper touchdown on the next snap, bringing the score to 9-6 for Acadia. The Mounties answered quickly, as Chris Reid broke through the Acadia defence to score a touchdown, making it 13-9 for the Mounties.

Acadia scored a field goal in the fourth, bringing the score to 13-12. Acadia built off this momentum, with Harland Hastings picking off Loucks in the end zone. This outburst would be short lived, as Mount Allison blocked a punt and scored a touchdown. Acadia made a late charge, but wasn’t able to capitalize given the time remaining. The Mount Allison Mounties homecoming victory brought them into the tie for second in the AUS as the X-Men run away with the division.

Key Points

A major cause for concern throughout the game was the number of flags. Acadia entered the game having already drawn a considerable number of flags throughout the season, but it seemed as though every play was followed by a flag. This was especially prevalent on large gains or important plays, which were repeatedly reversed.

Mounties head coach Scott Brady told TV1 at halftime, “We had to take over 100 yards of penalties in the first quarter.” Acadia head coach Jeff Cummins was also visibly frustrated by the excessive flags, as were several players. At one point, an official laughed while addressing a flag on a play; that’s how frequent the penalties had become.

Both teams played to their own strengths, keeping the game close and heated. They directed a lot of gloating and celebrating at each other, one highlight being with Robinson celebrating his touchdown by lifting his finger to his mouth and shushing the home crowd.

This added to the offensive showcase by Mount Allison, and the defensive showcase by Acadia. Loucks was the star of the game as Cluett continued to struggle with a 52.4% completion percentage. On his 80 rushing yards, Loucks said to TV1, “Our O-line opened up some big holes for me. They just gave me all the opportunities in the world and it’s just on me to make it happen.”

Moving Forward

The Acadia Axemen will go on to face AUS leaders St. Francis Xavier X-Men on Oct. 7th in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. The two rival schools have already clashed in 2016, with the X-Men coming out on top 37-8. This puts Acadia in a poor position to lay claim to sole possession of the second spot in the AUS standings. The Axemen will have to turn to their strong defence and scoring pair of Cluett and Robinson in order to compete with the X-Men.