Kevin Walsh and the Huskies have literally leapt over the rest of the AUFC in October
by Bill McLean
There would appear to be order once again in the AUFC. After a disasterous September, Steve Sumarah’s Huskies have been absolutely dominant throughout the month of October.
The Mount Allison Mounties are also back on track. After losing two games without having the best player in the conference, Gary Ross, the Mounties walked into Wolfville and had little trouble with the Acadia Axemen.
This all sets up the biggest came in the conference so far this year, when the Mounties visit the Huskies this saturday. Game time is 2:00 at the stadium, and it will be webcast on haligonia.ca.
1. Saint Mary’s
Ladies and Gentlemen….I present to you, the big, bad Saint Mary’s Huskies
Those cocky, swaggering Huskies that have ruled the AUS the past four years are once again steam rolling over their little cousins of the conference.
Coming off the most challenging month of Steve Sumarah’s tenure as Head Coach of Saint Mary’s football, the Huskies are not just undefeated in October; they’ve outscored their opponents 129-32 in the process.
How have they done it?
1) Jahmeek Taylor has emerged as possibly the best return man in the country. Two weeks ago in Antigonish, Taylor had punt return touchdowns of 56 and 63 yards. Taylor leads the conference with over 1000 all purpose yards on the season.
2) Brett Lauther has stepped in admirably for the departed Justin Palardy. Lauther has come out of nowhere to give the Huskies a solid kicking game after it looked like it could be a disaster at the start of the season.
3) The Huskies have figured out a way to maximize their talent by featuring Craig Leger at running back and moving Devon Jones to slot back. Legere leads the league in rushing, and Jones is 8th in the conference in all purpose yards.
4) The Huskies are dominating the ground game in the conference, leading in rushing offence (164 ypg) and rushing defense (108 ypg)
Mark Holden leads the conference with 4 interceptions, and Ryan King is 4th in tackles with 42.
The Huskies will face a stern test this weekend vs. the Mounties, but should roll to another first place finish in the AUS.
Projected Finish: 5-3, 1st place.
2. Mount Allison
If it wasn’t for a second half collapse last week in Sackville to the Acadia Axemen, the Mounties would be 4-2 and in sole possession of first place in the conference.
Even more aggravating for Mounties fans, if the team would have been with the services of Gary Ross in week 4 and 5, they might very well be undefeated on the season.
Led by the conference’s best quarterback, Jake Hotchkiss, the diligent running of Matt Pickett, and the dynamic Ross, the Mounties have the most productive trio of offensive talent in the conference.
Now all they have to do is go in to Huskies Stadium this Saturday (game will be webcast on haligonia.ca) and beat a SMU team that absolutely whipped Acadia and St FX through the first few weeks of October.
The Mounties should be confident considering they have a healthy Gary Ross, and have beaten the Huskies already this year, a 23-21 victory last month in Moncton.
The Mounties also have one of the best kickers in the country in Jon Szilagyi, who leads the conference in punting average and field goal percentage.
Regardless of Saturday’s outcome at Saint Mary’s, this is a Mounties team that has clearly established itself as a legitimate threat to win an AUS championship.
Projected Finish: 4-4, second place.
3. Acadia Axemen
Axemen Head Coach Jeff Cummins has possibly done the best coaching of his career this season, maufacturing three wins out of this team and putting them in position to potentially host a playoff game.
The Axemen have a legitimate gunslinger in quarterback Kyle Graves who can also run the ball effectively, and a dynamic receiver in Stu Clow. But the team suffers from a lack of depth at the running back and receiver positions.
Defensively, Acadia has a bunch of gamers who play tough led by the conferences leading tackler in Tom Labenski, but their front seven lacks athleticism and physicality. The Axemen are the worst team in the conference vs. the run, allowing over 200 yards a game, and surrender a league leading average of nearly 400 total yards per contest.
Barring one more spirited effort vs. the Huskies on the final weekend in Wolfville, the Axemen will likely be travelling once again for the conference semi final.
Projected Finish: 3-5, third place.
4. Saint Francis Xavier X-Men
Gary Waterman’s youthful X-Men are coming off back to back beat downs by the more talented, more experienced Huskies, and have clearly established themselves as the last place team in the AUS conference.
It’s not for lack of effort. The X-Men play hard and with enthusiasm, but an offence that has been devastated by graduation is dead last in nearly every offensive category, including the most important one, points per game, with a meager 14.3. The rushing attack has been particularly inept, averaging only 52 yards per game.
Newcomer Jordan Catterall is 4th in the conference in all purpose yards with 77 per game and will be an offensive force for years to come. 6’3” QB Cory Wensley is in his third year and should develop into a solid senior quarterback.
Defensively, Henoc Muamba and Tom Lynch have had outstanding seasons and will undoubtedly be AUS all stars once again.
This X-Men team is definitely building for the future, but may have one more upset win left in them this year.
Projected Finish: 2-6, fourth place.
Think these rankings are a crock? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on twitter @haligoniasports and on Facebook. Haligonia Sports is the official webcaster of the Saint Mary’s Huskies and the Metro Marauders.
Join Mavs Gillis this saturday at 2:00 on http://www.live.haligonia.ca/
for Saint Mary’s Huskies football. This weekend it’s a battle for first place as Micah Brown and the Huskies battle Gary Ross and the Mount Allison Mounties.