(ANTIGONISH, N.S.) – The StFX X-Men didn't disappoint their fans in their home opener as they shut down the Mount Allison Mounties 37-0 Friday night at Oland Stadium.
Powered by five field goals from Jonathan Heidebrecht (Camrose, Alta.) and two touchdowns by Subway player of the game Kaion Julien-Grant (Toronto, Ont.), they X-Men rebounded from a 38-23 loss at Saint Mary's last week to improve to 1-1 on the season.
The Mounties also sit at 1-1 in the AUS standings.
StFX took an early 9-0 lead after Heidebrecht booted three field goals in the opening quarter, splitting the uprights from 20, 43 and 42 yards out. X-Men running back Jordan Socholotiuk (Fort McMurray, Alta.) had a long 40-yard run to set up the first field goal.
The kickers exchanged field goal misses in the second quarter as Heidebrecht hit the upright on a 13-yard attempt and Ryan Lambert (Grimsby, Ont.) missed a 30-yarder for the Mounties.
Josh Millar (Ottawa, Ont.) connected with X-Men All-Canadian receiver Julien-Grant at 2:40 of the second quarter for a 35-yard touchdown and his first major score of the 2017 season. The X-Men missed the two-point conversion attempt as they increased their lead to 15-0.
Heidebrecht kicked a 28-yard field goal with under a minute to play in the second quarter to give the X-Men an 18-0 lead at half.
The X-Men scored two majors in the third quarter. Millar hit Julien-Grant with a 34-yard pass for his second touchdown of the night. As the X-Men were set-up on the Mounties one-yard line on third and goal, Socholotiuk leaped over the pile for the touchdown score.
Jakob Loucks (Cornwall, Ont.) looked to have found Malik Richards (Brampton, Ont.) in the end zone as he slid down on the catch but the reception was ruled incomplete. The Mounties then turned over on downs on the ensuing play to keep the momentum in StFX's favor.
The home squad held onto the 32-0 advantage after three quarters.
The fourth quarter saw Heidebrecht boot his fifth field goal of the game, this time from 37 yards. Mount Allison conceded a safety with under two minutes to play to round out the scoring.
Millar was 21 for 31 with 269 yards for the X-Men and Julien-Grant was his favorite target with five catches for 107 yards. Dejaun Martin (Scarborough, Ont.) also had five receptions, netting 38 yards.
Julien Grant added six returns and 129 yards on special teams for 243 all-purpose yards. Socholotiuk led all X-Men rushers with 122 yards on 16 carries.
Heidebrecht had 17 points on the night.
For the Mounties Loucks was 15-30 with 176 yards. Richards was the top receiver with six receptions for 97 yards and Chris Reid (Brampton, Ont.) ran for 71 yards on nine carries as the Mounties offence struggled throughout the evening.
The StFX defence was anchored by Travis Akers (Whitby, Ont.) and Dylan bell (Brockville, Ont.) who had six and five tackles, respectively. Freshman Jalen Burley (Winnipeg, Man.) and Matthew Mendes (Halifax, N.S.) each had a sack in the game for the X-Men.
Skylar Butler (Herring Cove, N.S.) had 10.5 tackles on the night for Mount Allison and Nathan Vaikla (Pickering, Ont.) had 8.5. Defensive back Devante Sampson (Mississauga, Ont.) was the Mountie' player of the game with 7.5 tackles and two break-ups.
Next on the schedule for the X-Men is a home game next Saturday, Sept. 9 when they host Acadia at 2 p.m. The Mounties are heading into a bye weekend.
A pre-game ceremony was held in honour of former X-Men running back Ashton Dickson, who tragically lost his life this past June. Both the X-Men and Mounties lined the field in honor of Dickson and the captains of each team presented Ashton's mother and girlfriend with flowers and a framed No. 8 jersey. The Clan Thompson Pipe Band performed Amazing Grace to a silent StFX crowd in respect and honour of the All-Canadian running back and 2015 AUS most valuable player.
Source: StFX Athletics Communications