SACKVILLE, N.S. - The Mount Allison Mounties are headed to the AUS Football playoffs for the 2nd straight year and for the 3rd time in the last 4 years. The Mounties defeated two-time defending AUS Champion Acadia Axemen 23-14 in front of a frenzied hometown MacAulay Field crowd on Saturday afternoon. The win was the 3rd straight for the Mounties. The Mounties will finish the regular season as the only team who beat every other team in the AUS this year. With the win, the Mounties have clinched 2nd place in the AUS and will now host Acadia for the AUS Semi-Final on Saturday, November 2nd at MacAulay Field.
The Mounties got the start they wanted by scoring first. On the Mounties 2nd possession they took over on their own 22 yard line and proceeded to march down field to the Acadia 41 yard line. Faced with a 3rd and 3, the Mounties elected to go for it but used a quick kick by Brandon Leyh, who punted the ball to the Acadia 2 yard. The Acadia defense was caught off guard by the play and Mounties receiver Troy Trentham, who lined up onside, pounced on the ball recovering it for the Mounties. This gave the Mounties a first a goal on the Acadia 2 and on the next play Jordan Botel scored his league leading 6th rushing touchdown of the season.
Acadia answered back 3 minutes later when they engineered a 64 yard drive of their own, capped off by a 2 yard touchdown run by Thomas Troop. Acadia threatened to take the lead early in the 2nd quarter when they drove the ball to the Mounties 25. But an aggressive Mounties pass rush forced a bad throw by Acadia quarterback Evan Brown that All-Star cornerback Donovan Saunders intercepted and ran back 59 yards all the way to the Acadia 30 yard line.
The Mounties offense went to work and after converting on a 3rd and 2 to keep their drive moving, the Mounties used the reverse hand off perfectly, springing Kyle McLean for a 17 yard touchdown run and giving the Mounties a 14-7 lead. Two plays later the Mounties defense intercepted Brown again, this time linebacker Te Nguyen grabbed his 4th interception of the year and ran it back to the Acadia 30 yard line. After the Acadia defense forced a punt and got the ball back on their own 22, they gave it right back to the Mounties, this time when Brown threw his 3rd straight interception to Mounties rookie Devante Sampson. The true freshman from Mississauga grabbed his 4th interception of the year and ran the ball back to the Acadia 31. This time the Mounties would make Acadia pay as Leyh connected with Matt Rose on the first play from scrimmage and Rose scampered 31 yards for the major. The Mounties would pick up a single before the end of the half as Acadia failed to clear their end zone on a punt, leaving the score at 22-7 at halftime.
Acadia showed life early in the 2nd half as they drove the ball from their own 50 but they were held to a 22 yard field goal by Ryan Begin, bringing the score to 22-10. After that, the Mounties defense held strong. The Mounties would pick up another single point and the Acadia defense would force two safeties, but in the end the Mounties were able to protect their lead and run out the clock on a 23-14 win.
Mounties Jordan Botel had his 4th straight 100+ yard rushing game and 5th of the year as he ran for 114 yards on 28 carries. Botel finished first in the conference for rush yards for the 2nd straight year, amassing 758 yards in 8 games. Acadia's Thomas Troop, who had 119 yards on the day, finished 2nd in the AUS with 565 yards this year. Brandon Leyh was 11-17 for 137 yards and 1 touchdown. Leyh has now gone 10 quarters without an interception. Defensively, rookie Devonte Sampson led the way with 7.5 sacks and 1 interception while junior Matt Montgomery had 6.5 tackles for the Mounties. The Mounties now prepare to host Acadia in the AUS Semi-Final on Saturday, November 2nd at 2PM at MacAulay Field.
Submitted by Mt. Allison Sports Information. Photo by Matt Rose