With a new head coach and a rookie quarterback, the Mounties started their season against the defending champs in the most competitive conference in Canadian College Football.
At the end of last year’s season, Mount Allison hosted St. FX in the AUS final. The X-Men took a final 14-12 lead off a 41-yard field goal that bounced off the uprights before going through with 33 seconds left to play. It was a heartbreaking loss, and the Mounties walked off their field with St. FX raising the Jewett trophy in the background.
This past offseason, head coach Kelly Jeffrey left the Mounties to take a position with the Toronto Argonauts. Defensive coordinator and Mt. A graduate Scott Brady stepped into the head coaching position.
When asked about the new head coach’s expectations, third-year linebacker and team captain Damian Halstead said, “This past offseason is the hardest I’ve worked in my life. In spring camp, training camp, film sessions, every chance he gets he pushes us to our limits. I think he’s done a great job so far.”
When asked about his coaching philosophy, Brady said that he believes “you can create a lot of success through hard work.”
After the offseason, the Mounties took to Alumni Field in a rematch against St. FX last Saturday. With first-year student Jakob Loucks starting at quarterback, the offence initially stalled. Loucks threw an early interception that was converted into a field goal.
As the half went on, Loucks settled into the game. He showcased poise in the pocket and an explosive running ability that allowed for multiple big gains, both by design and through broken plays.
The Mounties’ defence played well but was penetrated by a few big plays from an X-Men offence that kept them off balance. This was highlighted by a slant route that went for an 80-yard touchdown. At the end of the half, it was 15-0 for the X-Men.
Loucks was able to build off of some solid play from the first half and, with the help of running back tandem Kiel Ambursley and Chris Reid, the offence started to roll. The defence established itself, limiting the big plays that had broken open the game in the first half. Reid punched in touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters.
Once the Mounties had the momentum, Loucks looked downfield in an attempt to make big gains through the air. However, his lack of experience at the university level led him to overthrow open receivers, missing game-changing plays by mere inches.
Hampered by a muffed punt that St FX recovered, the first-half deficit proved too much to overcome. The final score was 29-14 for the X-Men.
When asked about Loucks, Brady said, “we loved his compete level, loved his ability to use his feet – he showed all the upside we know is there.”
The Mounties look to bounce back with a win when they face off against Saint Mary’s Huskies next week in Halifax.
The Huskies have gone winless over the past two seasons, but have a new head coach, John Colzie III. Brady said, “they’re bigger, more athletic, one hundred times better than where they were.”
When asked about the team’s mentality moving forward, Halstead said, “you’ve got to have short-term memory, no time for feeling sorry for anybody – you’ve got to move on.”
You can catch the Mount
ies’ next game on Friday at 7 p.m. on Bell Aliant Fibe TV1 or stream it live on AUS TV.