Mounties drop to 0-2

Jody Jewers
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SACKVILLE, N.B. - Oh, how the Mount Allison Mounties miss Kelly Hughes.
The Mounties, who lost the reigning Atlantic University Sport football MVP on the eve of training camp, citing family commitments, lost 27-21 to the St. Francis Xavier X-Men on Saturday in front of a homecoming crowd of about 1,500 at MacAulay Field.
Jason Bertrand, a backup to Hughes two years ago, got the start at quarterback and played like someone making his first start at the university level, as the Mounties could not move the ball consistently on offence until the dying minutes, with the game all but decided and many of St. F.X.'s starters on the bench.
Full credit to Bertrand not packing it in, though, as he threw touchdown passes to Jared Colette with 1:06 to go in regulation, and Ben Stehr with 9.6 ticks left on the clock. If the Mounties had recovered an onside kick, they would have had a chance for a final heave toward the end zone.
"This team doesn't quit, and this proves it," said Bertrand. "We were right there with nine seconds left, waiting to get the ball back. That definitely makes a difference.
"Kelly's a great leader. He taught me a lot, and all I can do is go out there and try to execute what I know combined with what he's taught me, and see how far we can go."
The Mounties defence, roasted for 58 points a week ago against Acadia, limited the X-Men to just three field goals in the first half, all coming in the opening 15 minutes. Scott Brady's one-yard touchdown run two minutes into the second frame, set up by Bertrand's 39-yard play-action pass to Adam Molnar, cut the deficit to 9-7.
Mount Allison conceded a pair of safeties in the first 8:27 of the third quarter, and a little more than a minute later, St. F.X.'s Nic Guest caught a 10-yard out, then shook off two would-be tacklers and ran 58 more yards to the end zone for a 20-7 lead.
Another big play proved to be the final nail in the coffin for the Mounties, as X-Men receiver Akeem Foster beat two Mounties defenders to a deep ball thrown into a stiff breeze and sprinted 99 yards for a touchdown with 3:36 remaining in regulation.
Bertrand's competition for the starting job, Jake Hotchkiss, did not dress for this game because of a concussion, so Bertrand will likely get the call next week as the Mounties host the McGill Redmen as part of the first interlocking weekend of the season between Atlantic and Quebec schools.
"This was something to build on, and I'll keep working my tail off for next week," said Bertrand.
Though it's only two weeks into the season, the McGill game is crucial to the Mounties' playoff aspirations. After next week, Mount Allison is staring at three daunting challenges - a home-and-home with two-time defending AUS champ Saint Mary's, and a road trip to three-time defending national champion Laval.
"I don't think we put as much of a sense of urgency (to win) as much as we do on just improving week to week," said Mounties head coach Kelly Jeffrey. "We've got a young team, and we just have to keep getting better."

Organizations: Atlantic University Sport, McGill

Geographic location: Quebec, Saint Mary

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Recent comments

  • Dirk
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    0-2. Quite the legacy left by Jack Drover.

  • Anonymous
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    I think the media needs to stop the Kelly Hughes talk.
    The Mounties are improving steadily and will more then likely have another close game at home vs the McGill Redmen next Saturday. That game could go either way.