Mounties look forward to playoffs as they wrap up regular season at home Saturday

Jody Jewers
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SACKVILLE, N.B. - It's a fine line Kelly Jeffrey has to walk this week as the Mount Allison Mounties wrap up their Atlantic University Sport football regular season Saturday at home to the Acadia Axemen at MacAulay Field at 2 p.m.
The Mounties have clinched a playoff berth and can finish no higher than third. They already know they will visit the St. Francis Xavier X-Men in next week's semifinal. But there's also the matter of individual and team goals - quarterback Kelly Hughes and receiver/return specialist Gary Ross are being mentioned as candidates for the AUS's Hec Crighton Trophy nomination as the country's most outstanding player, and a win over Acadia would give the Mounties a 3-5 record, their best since 1999.
"There are some things to play for," said Jeffrey. "But we've got to rest a couple of guys. It'd just be silly to get a guy hurt."
Jeffrey said Ross, who needs just two catches to break the single-season AUS record, will likely not play. Hughes will probably be shut down at halftime, and backups will be rotated in as the game progresses.
"Gary will be the first one to tell you that he's done about everything he wants to do as an individual," said Jeffrey. "He just wants to win. Kelly needs to work on timing and we can't afford not to play him.
"Our guys, from Day 1, have talked about getting to the playoffs and winning in the playoffs, so individual honours or records are not that big a deal."
With the momentum of having earned a postseason appearance for the first time since 1998 on their side - Mount Allison was awarded a playoff spot in 2006 when all four AUS teams advanced after a Norwalk virus outbreak forced an unbalanced schedule - the Mounties also are looking to avoid a loss to the 0-7 Axemen, a team Mount Allison defeated 42-21 three weeks ago.
"It's very important that we improve this week," said Jeffrey. "We're not just competing against Acadia. We're competing against St. F.X., and Saint Mary's if we're fortunate enough to see them again. We have to put ourselves in a great position this week to win those games."

Organizations: Atlantic University Sport

Geographic location: Acadia, Norwalk, Saint Mary

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