X-Men wrap up regular season play with win over Mounties
Antigonish, NS – The StFX X-Men closed out AUS regular season play with a 38-15 victory over the Mount Allison Mounties Saturday afternoon at StFX Oland Stadium.
The game did not have an impact on the AUS standings as the playoff berths were already set heading into the final week of play. The second place X-Men (6-2) will host the third place Acadia Axemen (5-3) in the Subway AUS semifinal on November 3rd. The fourth place Mounties (2-6) fall outside of playoff contention.
The game marked a pair of milestones for veteran fifth year running back Jordan Socholotiuk (Waterford, ON) who was awarded Subway Player of the Game honours. His 127 rushing yards on 26 carries put him over 1000 on the AUS season with 1009 total. He also surpassed the 3000 career rushing yards total, rounded out his five years with the X-Men with 3047, and in doing so becoming only the sixth player in AUS history to clear 3000 yards. He also sits second overall on the StFX career rushing list behind the late Ashton Dickson who had 3178.
The first quarter Saturday's game was all StFX as they amassed 16 points on a safety and a pair of touchdowns. The Mounties conceded a safety on the first drive of the game then struggled on offense. StFX quarterback Bailey Wasdal (Calgary, AB) connected with Socholotiuk for a two-yard touchdown run and with Greg McDonald (Halifax, NS) for a 38-yard TD catch.
The Mounties first big chance in the game came early in the second quarter when Jacob Mattiuz (Hamilton, ON) forced a fumble while Wasdal was scampering on a rush. Phillip Thompson (Brampton, ON) recovered the ball and carried it 50 yards into StFX territory. While on third and one from the X-Men 10-yard line, the StFX defense came up big as linebackers Ben Von Muehldorfer (Calgary, AB) and Gordon Whyte (Toronto, ON) stepped up on the tackling front to stop the Mounties threat.
The only scoring in the second quarter came from a Keiran Burnham (Cambridge, ON) 28-yard field goal.
The Mounties pressured late in the half as quarterback Graham Kelly (Burlington, ON) connected with Josh Hicks (Moncton, NB) for 23-yard pass but they were unable to turn it into a scoring play as the drive ended with an intercepted pass by StFX's Von Muehldorfer.
StFX held onto their 19-0 lead at halftime.
The home squad built up their lead to 28-0 after three quarters of play. Wasdal connected with Kaion Julien-Grant (Toronto, ON) for an 18-yard touchdown reception and the Mounties conceded a safety late in the quarter.
Julien-Grant scored his second touchdown of the afternoon with a 26 yard catch eight and a half minutes into the fourth quarter.
Rounding out the StFX scoring in the game was Burnham with a 31-yard field goal.
Both teams swapped out some of their starting players in the fourth quarter and with Troy Downton (Burlington, ON) at quarterback the Mounties finally got on the board with just over three minutes left in the final quarter as he found Ian Carty (Fredericton, NB) in the end zone for a 21-yard touchdown reception.
After a Mounties single point scored off a rouge on a James Parker (Abbotsford, BC) kickoff, they scored their second touchdown of the day with just under a minute to play in the game as Idahosa Yorke converted a five-yard pass from Downton.
Downton was 9 for 12 with 135 passing yards in the second half, while Kelly finished 16-27 for 146 yards. Their X-Men counterparts Millar (3-5) and Wasdal (18-25) passed for 31 and 246 yards, respectively.
Socholotiuk led all rushers in the game with his 127 yards on 26 carries. Chris Reid (Brampton, ON) had 9 carries for 44 yards for the Mounties.
Leading Mount A in the air were Malikue Richards (Brampton, ON) who had 7 receptions for 89 yards, and Aidan O'Neal (Sackville, NB) who was 9 for 74 yards. The Mounties defense saw Nate Rostek (Stillwater Lake, NS) with 5.5 tackles (including one sack), and Skylar LeBlanc (Portugese Cove, NS) and Dylan Cormier (Sackville, NB) each with five.
On the X-Men defense, Whyte and Ethan Mastin (Chilliwack, BS) each had seven tackles.
AUS receiving and all-purpose leader Julien-Grant continued his strong play on both offense and special teams for the X-Men. He pulled in 10 catches for 130 yards and had four punt returns for 61 yards. With his 566 punt return yards on the season, the fourth year receiver surpassed previous StFX leader Richard Karikari (1432) to amass a total of 1786 in his career, slotting him in fourth overall in the AUS record book for career punt return yards.
The X-Men will move on next week to face the Acadia Axemen in the Subway AUS semifinal game. The blue and white will host the playoff match Saturday, November 3rd at 2:00 pm at StFX Oland Stadium. Tickets are on sale now at the Keating Centre box office or online at www.goxgo.ca/tickets.
Courtesy StFX Athletics Sports Information