Around AUS Football Week 8: Acadia Axemen Secure Playoff Spot in Tiebreaker

AUS Football Week 8

In Around AUS Football week 8, the 2016 AUS football regular season ends in a do or die situation for the Acadia Axemen and Saint Mary’s Huskies. The St. Francis Xavier X-Men and Mount Allison Mounties have no playoff worries. With both teams locked in, it comes down to the Axemen and Huskies. Winning is a must for either team to secure a playoff spot. With their victory, the Acadia Axemen secure playoff contention in a tiebreaker.

Around AUS Football Week 8: Acadia Axemen Secure Playoff Spot in Tiebreaker

Acadia Axemen vs. St. Mary’s Huskies

The Acadia Axemen traveled to Halifax with the hopes of securing a points tie with the Saint Mary’s Huskies. Due to AUS rules, the tiebreaker is decided by the most recent winner. If the Axemen tied the Huskies at four points, they win the tiebreaker and advance to the playoffs.

The key to the 2016 Acadia Axemen is highly defensive, low-scoring games. Week eight is no exception as the low scoring affair saw Acadia hold on to a small lead throughout the matchup. Axemen quarterback Cody Cluett had an above average throwing performance of 204 yards. His highlight of the game came with a 64-yard pass to Cordell Hastings. This set up Acadia’s Hunter Guenard to punch into the end zone for the game’s sole touchdown, 7-0 Acadia. Cluett’s arm remained effective throughout the game, finding Eli Prochnau for 88 receiving yards, the highest of the game.

Despite the low score for the Saint Mary’s offence, quarterback Brock Berglund makes the unique distinction of having his team’s highest rushing yards (57 yards) as well as throwing for 192 yards. Even with these impressive offensive stats, the Huskies were kept out of the end zone due to the strength of Acadia’s defence. The Huskies managed one scoring drive in the second quarter, with a field goal by Brian Hope bringing the score to 7-3. Acadia would respond with their own field goal in the second half.

In a last ditch effort to save their season, the Huskies managed a 64-yard drive in the last minute and a half of the game. Tristen Giusto completed the reception in the red zone, but is brought down at the one yard line with no time left on the clock. From last in the division, the Acadia Axemen secured playoff contention against Saint Mary’s.

Mount Allison Mounties vs. St. Francis Xavier X-Men

Both Mount Allison and St. Francis Xavier are comfortable in their playoff positions. While Acadia and Saint Mary’s duke it out in Halifax to break into the playoffs, the X-Men and Mounties met in Antigonish. The X-Men have a chokehold on the division all through 2016. With no losses to AUS teams this season, the X-Men look to end the 2016 season with that streak.

The first quarter provided frequent scoring and a tight game. After 15 minutes, the X-Men saw a 17-10 lead over the Mounties. Mount Allison quarterback Jakob Loucks kept the Mounties in the mix with a 44-yard pass to Malikue Richards. This allowed 6-yard touchdown by Chris Reid after a few touchdowns by the X-Men. After both teams trade field goals and ended the quarter tight, the X-Men began to run away. AUS passing leader Tivon Cook threw for 397 yards, which is still below his season-high of 410. Three throwing touchdowns by Cook coupled with field goals sees St. FX leading 42-10 into halftime.

Cook’s offensive onslaught is far from over entering the second half. After four touchdown passes in the first half, Cook continued to find the end zone in the second half. More scoring came from AUS rushing yards leader Jordan Socholotiuk, extending his rushing yards total to 1056 this season. That is over Mount Allison’s Chris Reid in second, with 583 rushing yards.

Although Loucks ran it in for his own touchdown, Mount Allison’s day was done. This continued scoring would bring the final score to a blowout victory for the X-Men, 65-17.

Playoff Breakdown

Having clinched first place in the AUS, St. Francis Xavier is already guaranteed to be hosting the 2016 Loney Bowl. This means that the visiting team will be decided in Sackville, New Brunswick as the Mounties host the Axemen in the 2016 Subway AUS Football Championship Semifinal. The semifinal, taking place on November 5th, could prove to be the most intense battle of the season. With the X-Men boasting an undefeated record against AUS teams in 2016, it is hard to say which semifinal team would stand a chance against them, if either.

Acadia and Mount Allison faced relatively similar seasons, with the Mounties surging later in the season. Although the Acadia Axemen secured playoff contention, it is in a very last minute tiebreaker after minimal success. In fact, the key turnaround point in Mount Allison’s season was their homecoming victory over the Axemen. However, with Acadia nearly upsetting St. FX in week seven, if the Axemen can find their way into the Loney Bowl, their defence could give the division-leading offence of the X-Men some trouble.

AUS Football Standings: Week 8 (End of Regular Season)

  1. St. Francis Xavier X-Men: 7-1, 14 pts (Clinched playoff berth in Week Six)
  2. Mount Allison Mounties: 3-5, 6 pts (Clinched playoff berth in Week Seven)
  3. Acadia Axemen: 2-6, 4 pts (Clinched playoff berth in Week Eight)
  4. Saint Mary’s Huskies: 2-6, 4 pts (Eliminated from playoffs in Week Eight)

Main photo courtesy of Mona Ghiz.