ANTIGONISH, NS – The Acadia Axemen played to a 15-4 victory over the StFX X-Men Saturday afternoon in a wet AUS exhibition game at StFX Oland Stadium.
The first quarter saw no scoring by either side along with no serious scoring threats. Dylan Fisher was in the quarterback position for StFX as the home squad gained little yardage in the opening 15 minutes of play.
Hunter Guenard was the Acadia pivot in the first quarter and he connected with running back Cameron Davidson on several rushes.
Davidson continued his strong play in the second quarter, picking up several first down runs, as did Cole Estabrooks. Axemen quarterback Alex Lawrie connected with receiver Cordell Hastings for a pair of passes as the Axemen had two solid series' and pressured at first and goal.
After a nine-yard pass to Ben Smith that set up a first down, followed by a nine-yard rush by Estabrooks for another short first down gain, Estabrooks carried the ball two yards to set up Acadia at second-and-goal from six yards out. Lawrie then completed a pass to Ethan Kimura for the six-yard touchdown reception. The point-after kick by Jarett Sammure gave the Axemen a 7-0 lead at 2:51 of the second quarter.
It was then the X-Men's turn to put together a solid series as a pair of passes from first year quarterback Bailey Wasdale to Marquis Diggs, along with short rushes from Liam Hyland and an 18-yard reception to Greg McDonald helped put them in field goal range.
Kicker Kieran Burnham booted a 17-yard field goal to get the X-Men on the board with 27 seconds left in the opening half.
The Axemen took the 7-3 lead into the locker room at halftime in a quick first half played in just over an hour.
They started the third quarter with a solid series highlighted by a 39-yard reception by Jacob Fenchak from Duncan Patterson who came in at QB for the Axemen. Acadia ended up with good field position and Estabrooks punched in a four-yard touchdown run to increase the visitors lead. Beattie's point after made it 14-3 for Acadia at 11:40 of the third quarter.
The X-Men's best scoring chance came after an Acadia fumble off a punt return when David Dean recovered the ball for X at the Acadia 17-yard line. Josh Millar replaced Wasdale at quarterback for StFX but they were unable to convert for a major score.
A 20-yard field goal attempt by StFX's William Fay was wide and bounced out of bounds for a single point on the play, bringing the score to 14-4 at the 7:01 mark, a tally that held through the end of the quarter.
The fourth quarter saw Miller remain at QB for StFX for a few series before Quinn Stewart took over, while Daniel Hashem was in the pivot spot for the Axemen.
Acadia defensive back Noah Laing had a key interception five minutes into the quarter, bringing the ball to the X-Men 31-yard line. Beattie's 35-yard field goal attempt was short and StFX allowed a single rouge point off the play to make it 15-4 in favor of the Axemen.
The rouge ended up being the only scoring play of the final quarter as the rain continued to come down hard and affected some plays resulting in dropped balls.
Will McNally had a nice 24-yard reception for the Axemen late in the game with under a minute to play. Both Davidson and Estabrooks played solid on offense for the Axemen, and linebacker Brandon Johnston was strong on the defensive side of the ball.
For the X-Men Josh Feaster and David Dean had some key tackles on defense while Greg McDonald played well on offense with several catches. Liam Hyland was consistent in the running back position.
In the other AUS exhibition match of the day, the Saint Mary's Huskies defeated the Mount Allison Mounties 17-7 in Halifax. AUS exhibition play allows teams to get an unlimited number of athletes into the game to test their systems and plays in advance of regular season play.
The X-Men will kick-off regular season action on the road on Friday night, August 24th when they travel to Halifax for a 7:00 pm game against the Huskies.
Bishop's will face Mount Allison on Saturday afternoon in Sackville, N.B., while the Axemen open the season with the bye weekend. Acadia will be back in Antigonish on Friday night, August 31st for the X-Men's home opener. Kick-off is 7:00 pm at StFX Oland Stadium.
Recap courtesy StFX Sports Information
2Q 0:27StFX - Kieran Burnham 17 yd field goal7 - 3
3Q 11:40ACA - Cole Estabrooks 4 yd run 14 - 3
(Jeffrey Beattie kick is good)
3Q 7:01StFX - Team rouge14 - 4
4Q 9:05ACA - Team rouge15 - 4
Note: complete statistics not available for exhibition play