(ANTIGONISH, N.S.) In an exciting game from start to finish, it was the Saint Mary's Huskies who came out on a top of a 27-24 game over the StFX X-Men at StFX Oland Stadium in front of a Homecoming crowd of close to 2,400 fans.
The teams exchanged leads throughout the game with the deciding touchdown coming late in the fourth quarter to give Saint Mary's the victory.
The only scoring in the first quarter came off a Keiran Burnham (Cambridge, Ont.) 37-yard field goal. He booted another one from 35 yards out for the first play of the second quarter to give the X-Men an early 6-0 lead.
The Huskies got on the board with a Brian Hope (Port Coquitlan, B.C.) 13-yard field goal later in the second quarter. They added their first major of the game with just under two minutes to play in the opening half. Quarterback Kaleb Scott (Mount Albert, Ont.) found Tre Wright (Calgary, Alta.) in the end zone for a seven-yard reception as Saint Mary's took their first lead of the afternoon at 10-6.
Burnham closed the gap with a 31-yard field goal five minutes into the third quarter to bring the X-Men to within a point.
The Huskies increased their lead with a one-yard touchdown run by Jericho Daher (Mount Albert, Ont.) after several penalties and first and goal attempts. Hope's point after made it 17-9 in favour of SMU.
The X-Men stormed back to tie the game thanks to a strong 35-yard punt return by Kaion Julien-Grant (Toronto, Ont.) and an 18-yard reception by Greg McDonald (Halifax, N.S.) to place them in good field position. Quarterback Bailey Wasdal (Calgary, Alta.) punched in the one-yard touchdown then connected with Jordan Socholotiuk (Waterford, Ont.) for the two-point conversion to knot the score at 17-17 with 24 seconds left in the third quarter.
As the game continued to go back and forth, Hope kicked a 32-yard field goal on the Huskies opening drive of the fourth quarter as they regained the lead at 20-17.
Wasdal and the StFX offence strung together a solid drive leading to a first and goal scenario with four and a half minutes left in the game. Wasdal punched it in for his second major score of the game to give the X-Men the 24-20 advantage.
Not to be outdone, the Huskies offence quickly got to work as Scott found Henry and Liam O'Brien (Parksville, B.C.) for a 39 and 20-yard passes, respectively, to put them deep in X-Men territory. Henry then hauled in an 11-yard touchdown pass to once again re-gain the Huskies lead (27-24) late in the game with under three minutes to play.
The X-Men attempted to come back but on a critical third and six play with a minute and a half left, fell short of the first down and turned the ball over to the Huskies.
The visitors hung on for the three-point victory as Kaleb Scott earned Subway Player of the Game honours, finishing with 20 for 35 with 334 passing yards. He also rushed for 117 yards on 10 carries.
Veteran X-Men defensive back Dylan Bell (Brockville, Ont.) was the player of the game for the X-Men with seven tackles on the afternoon and two interceptions.
Scott's favorite targets on the day were Henry (4-71) and O'Brien (4-58). Scott was also the Huskies leading rusher and Tyrique Dixon-Bowden (Halifax, N.S.) picked up 45 yards on eight carries.
For the X-Men offense, Wasdal was 10 for 23 on the day with 108 passing yards. Julien-Grant had four receptions for 17 yards and McDonald was two for 44. Socholotiuk lead the ground attack with a solid 175-yard performance on 31 rushes.
On the defensive side of the ball, Bell lead the X-Men with seven tackles, one break-up and two interceptions for a loss of 28 yards. Tyler Cordeiro (Oakville, Ont.) had 5.5 tackles.
Huskies linebacker Brad Herbst (Ottawa, Ont.) led all tacklers in the game with 10.5, while Jarek Richards (Chateauguay, Que.) had nine.
With the win, the Huskies improve their record to 5-0 atop the AUS standings. The X-Men, in second place, drop to 3-2. They will travel to Acadia for a Friday night match-up on Oct. 5. The Huskies will host Bishop's on Saturday in a 2 p.m. game.
Source: StFX Sports Information