U Sports recap (playoffs): Huskies topple Dinos, StFX wins AUS, Western, Laval move on

Saturday, Nov. 10

StFX (6-2) 33, SMU (7-1) 9

Game recap: Dominic Nolasco, SMU
Box Score

(HALIFAX, N.S.)—On a rainy afternoon at Huskies Stadium, the Saint Francis Xavier University X-Men topped the Saint Mary’s Huskies to win the AUS conference championship 33-9.

Running back Jordan Socholotiuk (Waterford, ON) gained 179 yards on 34 carries for StFX and was named AUS Loney Bowl MVP for his efforts.

StFX opened up the scoring 3-0 in on a 32-yard field goal from Keiran Burnham (Cambridge, ON) with 10:25 left in the first quarter. The X-Men added a 1-yard touchdown run from Bailey Wasdal (Calgary, AB) ending a seven play, 50-yard drive and StFX led 10-0 with 5:03 in the opening quarter.

Both teams added points in the second quarter—with StFX adding an early team safety and Brian Hope (Port Coquitlan, BC) kicking a 25-yard field goal for SMU—with 15 seconds left in the half. StFX led 12-3 at the half.

The third quarter saw no score and the X-Men took their 12-3 lead into the fourth quarter.

StFX started the fourth quarter with the ball and took matters and the game into their own hands.

Facing a 3rd and 4 from Saint Mary’s 12-yard line, Gregg Anderson (Sharon, ON) took the ball from the holder and scampered 12-yards for the touchdown on the fake field goal call and the X-Men led 19-3 with 13:18 left in the quarter.

StFX added to their lead with a 46-yard interception return for a touchdown from Dylan Bell (Brockville, ON) and Wasdal added another touchdown from two yards out and StFX led 33-3 with 2:40 left in the game.

The Huskies added a late touchdown on a 5-yard pass from Kaleb Scott (Mount Albert, ON) to AUS rookie of the ear Shedler Fervius (Toronto, ON) as the Huskies trailed 33-9 after driving 82-yards in eight plays as the 2-point conversion failed with 1:08 left.

Wasdal finished with 33 yards on 10 carries and two touchdowns.

Scott completed 19 of 33 passes for 208 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions while Fervius caught eight passes for 83 yards and one touchdown.

AUS defensive player of the year and SMU linebacker Brad Herbst (Ottawa, ON) finished with 7.5 total tackles.

StFX moves on to play Laval in the Uteck Bowl.

Guelph (5-3) 14 , Western (8-0) 63

Game recap: David Stol, Western Mustangs
Box Score

LONDON, Ont. – Fourth-year quarterback Chris Merchant tallied 324 passing yards to help lead the Western football team to a 63-14 blowout victory over the Guelph Gryphons to capture their second-straight Yates Cup Championship.

Merchant dominated the Gryphons’ defence from start to finish, rushing for three touchdowns and adding a passing touchdown to give him a total of four on the day. Fourth-year running back Cedric Joseph also had a field day against Guelph, rushing for 122 yards and three touchdowns.

On the other side of the ball, it was Fraser Sopik who led the way for the Western defence, totaling a team-high 8.5 tackles.

Guelph was led by running back Jean-Paul Cimankinda, who spearheaded the Gryphons’ offence with 148 rushing yards and earned one touchdown on the day.

“It’s awesome to be apart of such a dynasty,” said Sopik. “But this is really just the first goal of many. Winning the Yates Cup is a great feeling, but honestly, it’s less exciting because we have bigger goals. It’s nice to cross it off, but we’re already focused on the next game. That’s just how it is for this team.”

“This maybe isn’t the end-goal for the season, but it was the end-goal for this week,” said Mustangs head coach Greg Marshall. “We’ve been saying all season that we want to take things one week at a time, so we prepared as if this was the last week of the season. We prepared constantly for today; we were working late every single night and it was a great effort by both our players and coaches to come out with a big win. We were prepared and you could see the results out there today.”

Western’s first drive of the game looked promising behind Merchant’s passing game but was broken up by a fumble just short of the goal line for the first turnover of the day. But after an incredible effort by the Western defence to get the ball back on the 45-yard line, Joseph made sure to get the purple and white on the board, rushing through Guelph’s line to give the Mustangs the 7-0 lead.

The Western defence continued to dominate Guelph to close out the first quarter as Mackenzie Ferguson picked off the Gryphons’ Theo Landers and returned it for the touchdown on the ensuing drive to extend the Mustang lead to 14-0 with the 35-yard pick-six.

Following a lopsided first quarter, the Mustangs continued to strike early in the second, as Merchant once again made something out of nothing, turning a broken play into his first rushing touchdown and extending the Western lead to 21-0.

Following yet another dominant defensive series to force Guelph into their second safety in a row, Western’s Harry McMaster made an incredible catch put the Mustangs into prime scoring position. Joseph took full advantage of Western’s red zone position, running the ball in with ease to extend the lead to 32-0.

Western would add one more before the halftime buzzer, as Merchant connected with Griffin Campbell for his first touchdown of his career to push their lead to 39-0 late in the half. Guelph eventually found their way into the end zone with a four-yard pass with no time remaining in the half to head into halftime facing a 39-7 deficit.

Guelph seemed to take their late first-half touchdown and use it as momentum into the second, finding their way back on the scoreboard just minutes into the third quarter with a rushing touchdown to trim Western’s lead to 39-14.

However, Merchant soon countered with his second rushing touchdown of the day to keep Western’s lead out of reach with a 46-14 margin. Merchant ran in yet another in the quarter, matching his total rushing touchdowns for the entire regular season with three and extending the lead to 53-14 to end the fourth quarter.

After building up a dominant lead, the fourth quarter was much of the same for the purple and white on their way to their second-straight Yates Cup Championship, as Joseph punched in one final touchdown on route to the eventual 63-14 victory.

“It obviously feels good to win a championship game because anything can happen in football,” said Merchant. “We all had some pre-game nerves knowing that we were playing against a good team, so credit to them. They have some good players and they hit hard, but we have amazing coaches and players that are ready to make big plays, so we felt good about our chances today. Our team is coming together at the right time of the year, so we’re really excited moving forward.”

“The thing about playing teams out of conference at this point in the playoffs is that, in a way, you have no idea what to expect,” said Sopik. “They tend to pass it more out West, but we never really know how they’re going to game plan for us, but, no matter what, we feel comfortable heading into next week. The trophy case is going to have to get a little bigger though, because we’re putting two more in it.”

With the win, the Mustangs retain their Yates Cup Championship and will move on to compete in the Mitchell Bowl against the Saskatchewan Huskies next Saturday in TD Stadium. The game is scheduled to kick off at 4:00 P.M. EST and fans can catch all the action live on Sportsnet.

Montreal (6-2) 1 , Laval (8-0) 14

With files from: Laval Rouge et Or
Box Score

The Rouge et Or toppled the Carabins 14-1 on Saturday afternoon in front of 10,220 delusional spectators at the TELUS-Laval University Stadium, to win the 15th Dunsmore Cup in its history. Glen Constantin’s troupe will be in the U Sports semifinal for the third year in a row.

Defensive back, Adam Auclair, who ran 77 yards into the end zone after covering a fumble, made the difference in the game. Auclair was also chosen player of the match.

The defense of both teams is illustrated in the first quarter. The Rouge et Or are threatening their first possession of the afternoon, but Hugo Richard is intercepted at the goal by Bruno Lagacé. This was the only real opportunity to score in this quarter, as much for Laval as for the Carabins. The Laval defense did not give anything and even allowed the attack to benefit from a good positioning on the ground. This allowed the Rouge et Or to strike first. Starting from the midfield, the offensive is progressing enough to allow a 14-yard throw by David Côté at the beginning of the second quarter: 3-0 Laval. This placement has the effect of waking up the attack of the Carabins who advances in the territory of the premises. But quarterback Dimitri Morand fumbles at a discount and Adam Auclair recovered the ball to bring him back into the end zone: a return of 77 yards. 10-0 Red and Gold midway through the second quarter.

The Carabins refused to give up. Their offense managed to grind yards, enough for a 44-yard placement attempt by Louis-Philippe Simoneau. The kick is off-target but still gives a point to the visitors. The Montreal quarterback had a good game. Dimitri Morand made the majority of his passes and his team is back in Laval territory. But an expensive penalty left no choice but to attempt a 54-yard penalty that is missed. The first half ended 10-1 in favor of the Rouge et Or.

The Rouge et Or defense took control of this match as soon as they returned from the half. Adam Auclair had another big game by intercepting a pass from Dimitri Morand in the Carabins area. The attack was unable to take advantage, but Montreal is entangled far into its territory as a result of the release. The defense gives nothing and the Carabins must concede a touch of safety: the Red and Gold increased its lead to 12-1. The Montreal offense is completely bottled in this quarter and the Carabins are resigned to grant another safety touchdown, which counts to 14-1 after nine minutes of play. The kicker Dominic Lévesque puts his two cents with solid punt and the Red and Gold clearly wins the war of positioning on the ground.

The Carabins finally managed to enter the Laval area early in the fourth quarter, a first since the break. But the defensive unit sticks together and an attempt to play rigged gives nothing. Laval plays methodically until the end, in front of helpless Carabins.

What they said
“It’s not just a performance of a player, but of the whole defensive unit. We played very well in all aspects of the game: it’s a great team win ”
– Adam Auclair, defensive back

“A league match like that is often the defense that makes the difference and we saw two good this afternoon. As for Adam Auclair, he is an impact player and we saw why today.
– Glen Constantin, head coach

Next match: Semifinal U SPORTS (Uteck Cup), Saturday 17 November 12h30
Opponent: X-Men from St. Francis Xavier University
Location: TELUS-UL Stadium

Saskatchewan (5-3) 43, Calgary (8-0) 18

Game Recap: Kellen Forrest; Dinos Communications
Box Score

CALGARY – The Saskatchewan Huskies forced seven turnovers and kept the high-powered Calgary offence at bay to capture their first Hardy Cup championship since 2006 Saturday with a 43-18 win over the previously undefeated Dinos at McMahon Stadium.

Canada West player of the year Adam Sinagra threw four interceptions on the day, while fifth-year Calgarian Tyler Chow rumbled 24 times for 222 yards and a pair of majors as the Huskies handed the Dinos their first and only loss of 2018, completing a pair of unlikely playoff wins away from home in the Canada West playoffs.

Saskatchewan (7-3) will face No. 1 Western (10-0) in the U SPORTS Mitchell Bowl next Saturday in London, Ont., with the winner advancing to the Vanier Cup.

A fellow senior, quarterback Kyle Siemens, completed 18 of 27 passes for 263 yards and a TD. Huskies Head Coach Scott Flory knew his fifth-year players were going to be key if they were going to take down the Dinos, and he was thrilled with their effort.

The first quarter was a harbinger of things to come. After the Huskies’ opening drive of the game stalled due to a holding penalty, Alex Basilis made the first big play of the game on special teams, blocking his second punt in two weeks to give the Dinos the ball in Huskies territory.

However, on Calgary’s very first offensive play of the game, Sinagra was intercepted by Josh Hagerty, giving the ball right back to the Huskies.

Early in the second quarter, Saskatchewan was the first to breakthrough on offence. Siemens found an open Colten Klassen for a 53-yard gain down to the Calgary one-yard line, and Klassen finished it off with a one-yard scamper into the end zone as Saskatchewan took an 8-1 lead.

Calgary answered back on its next drive, with a five play, 75-yard drive of their own. Three straight completions from Sinagra to Dallas Boath set the Dinos up deep in Huskie territory. On a third and one on the Huskie nine yard line, Jeshrun Antwi took it all the way in for a nine yard score, leveling the score up at 8-8.  The Huskies added a 28-yard Sean Stenger field goal before their defense would make a huge play to help the Huskies take a two-score lead late in the second quarter. Nelson Lokombo intercepted an errant Sinagra throw and took it all the way back to the Dinos’ 1-yard line. Chow punched it in from there, giving the Huskies an 18-8 lead.

Calgary’s best drive of the game came next, with Sinagra leading a scoring drive that culminated in a 30-yard touchdown strike to Hunter Karl, giving the Dinos some momentum heading into the half trailing by just three, 18-15. A missed opportunity for Calgary came on the Dinos’ first drive of the third quarter, with Sinagra unable to connect with Karl on a promising play downfield. Calgary’s defence got the Dinos the ball back after they punted, with Deane Leonard picking off Siemens near the end zone to stop a promising Saskatchewan drive.

Again, though, the Dinos gave it right back, with Thomas Whiting intercepting Sinagra. Carter Dahl was the recipient of a Siemens pass that put the Huskies up 25-15, and after a Niko DiFonte field goal it was still a seven-point game heading into the fourth.

For the third time, the Dinos turned the ball over on the first play of a drive when Jalen Philpot gained first down yardage only to fumble, and once again the Huskies made them pay. Chow continued to gouge the Dinos’ defense, running 23 yards for the major. Calgary was unable to put any more points on the board, and another Stenger field goal, plus a late Adam Machart rushing touchdown, made the final score 43-18.

“(The turnovers) make it difficult on the defense, and it also makes it difficult on the offence, because they can’t get any sort of rhythm going,” said Dinos Head Coach Wayne Harris. “When we did have rhythm, we were able to move the ball, but we stalled too many times and didn’t get the ball in the end zone. That’s part of playoff football – Saskatchewan had a great game today.

“We felt good at halftime, but we just didn’t get anything done.”

“We turned the ball over, and you’re not going to win many games, especially in the playoffs,” said Sinagra. “We just hurt ourselves.

“The ball felt good coming out of my hands, it was just stupid mistakes. You can’t make those kind of mistakes in the playoffs.”

Sinagra finished 23-for-36 for 286 yards and a touchdown, with Dallas Boath hauling in 11 catches for 143 yards on the day.

Colton Klassen had a tremendous day for the Huskies, finishing with 148 yards of total offence as well as a rushing touchdown. While the whole Huskies defense was tremendous, Payton Hall was particularly good, finishing with 7 tackles, as well as a forced fumble

source: usports. ca

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