Mounties’ season ends with 38-15 loss to X-men
It may have taken Saturday’s results to convince the powers that be the Mount Allison Mounties have reached a point where they must be totally reconfigured if they are to return to the glory days they’ve enjoyed in the Atlantic Universities Football Conference (AUFC) over the years.
They were easily defeated on Saturday in Antigonish by a vastly improved St. Francis Xavier X-men machine to the tune of 38-15.
The latest defeat left them entrenched in fourth place in the five-team circuit with just two wins in eight outings. Their two victories over the winless Bishop’s Gaiters were the lone bright spots for rookie head coach Peter Fraser.
Fraser faces a number of challenges, the first of which is to build a team in his own image. He currently has some excellent talent, much of which will disappear in May through graduation.
Recruiting is vitally important but this usually means rookies are brought in with the idea they will be ready to step into starring roles in their second or third years.
Therefore, a coach must look at his reserves – those who have served their apprenticeship. However, with a drop in recruiting the past year there will be situations that will require a good deal of personal attention.
There are rumours a few of the newcomers may soon be ready but only a couple – Reese Martin and James Parker – have come to the forefront. The others will definitely get much attention over the next 10 months as it will not be easy to replace players like Chris Reid, Kiel Ambursley, Nate Rostek and a handful of others.
But Fraser should have the green light to do it his way and only time will determine if his will be the right way.
The Mounties had their chances this season but fell to the Acadia Axemen at home a week earlier and then to the X-men in their final outing. Wins in each would have catapulted them into the playoffs and a shot at the Loney Bowl but that was not in the books.
To say Saturday’s score pretty much represented the play of the day would be an understate- ment. The winners put a whopping 465 yards of offence on the boards to just 182 for the visitors. Throughout the statistics the story was similar – 23-12 in first downs; 8.5 yards per play to just 3.7; 317 yards passing to 154; and 158 yards rushing to a mere 34. The Mounties continued their trend by picking up 140 yards in penalties to 95 for X-men, while time of possession was ridiculous.
By the end of the opening quarter the winners were up by 16 with a pair of majors and a safety. They added a field goal in the second session but continued to exert pressure and piled up the score as the game progressed.
Both teams swapped out some of their starting players in the fourth quarter and with Troy Downton at quarterback the Mounties finally got on the board with just over three minutes left in the final quarter as he found Ian Carty in the end zone for a 21yard touchdown reception.
After a Mounties’ single point scored off a rouge on a James Parker 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.
Julien- Grant was the main force for the winners as he ran for 126 yards and caught the ball for another 179.
The Mounties’ Nate Rostek and Dallas Cook each had a sack, while Skyler Leblanc led the overworked defence with five tackles.
Offensively, Sackville’s Aidan O’neal was a busy receiver with seven catches for 36 yards, while Malik Richards caught four for 55 yards. The ground game was shut down as Chris Reid was held to 36 yards; only Idahosa York starred as he returned punts for 100 yards.
Almost immediately the Mounties will launch their off -season ritual of daily workouts in the gym with a local rookie or two joining in. In this way, it is hoped a few new stars will rise.
The Mounties’ Ian Carty celebrates in the X-men’s end zone after reeling in a 21-yard pass from Troy Downton in Saturday’s game in Antigonish, N.S., finally putting the Sackville squad on the scoreboard late in the fourth quarter. The Mounties lost 38-15 in their final game of the 2018 season.
Mountie Idahosa Yorke converted a five-yard pass from Downton with less than a minute to play in Saturday’s game against the X-men.
Sackville’s own Aidan O’neal, shown in action during Saturday’s game in Antigonish, was a busy receiver with seven catches for 36 yards.