ANTIGONISH, NS – Led by fourth year running back Dale Wright (Markham, ON) who scored three touchdowns, the Acadia Axemen defeated the StFX X-Men 54-19 Friday evening at StFX Stadium.
The win improved the Axemen to 2-0 on the season, tied with Saint Mary's atop the AUS standings. The X-Men drop to 1-2.
With his 160 rushing yards in the game, Wright eclipsed the career 2000 yard mark and now sits with 2112 career rushing yards, second in the Acadia history book, and became the 17th player in AUS history to surpass the 2000 yard plateau.
The Axemen scored early and often in the opening quarter. Wright and Cole Estabrooks (Moncton, NB) scored rushing touchdowns on the visitors' first two possessions, and the Axemen added to their lead with a pair of single points scored on the ensuing kick-offs. They were up 16-0 after chewing 10 minutes off the clock.
Acadia increased their lead to 23-0 after linebacker Bailey Feltmate (Moncton, NB) had a pick-six, intercepting a Bailey Wasdal (Calgary, AB) pass to run in the major for 37 yards.
They rounded out the first quarter scoring with a safety to hold a 25-0 lead after 15 minutes.
StFX got on the board early in the second quarter with a 47 yard field goal from veteran kicker Keiran Burnham (Cambridge, ON).
The Axemen replied on the next possession with a major score as Hunter Guenard (Calgary, AB) connected with Glodin Mulali (Moncton, NB) for a 63 yard touchdown reception. Mulali hauled in the catch over his shoulder then eluded a pair of X-Men defenders to run it in.
The duo connected for another long 52 yard reception late in the second quarter to set up the Axemen on the StFX six-yard line at first and goal. They took advantage to convert another major score, this time a three yard run by Wright.
Burnham booted another field goal at the end of the quarter, this time from 42 yards out as his team trailed the Axemen 39-6 at halftime.
Acadia bumped up their lead by a single point scored on the opening kick-off of the third quarter and Wright scored his third touchdown of the night with six minutes left on a five-yard run.
The X-Men scored a pick-six of their own late in the third quarter as linebacker Ben VonMueldorfer (Calgary, AB) intercepted a Guenard pass to return it 45 yards for the X-Men major.
Acadia were up 47-13 heading into the final quarter of play.
VonMueldorfer capitalized on his second turnover of the game early in the fourth quarter when he picked up an Axemen fumble and returned it for 67 yards, setting up a 30 yard field goal by Burnham.
The fourth quarter was scattered with turnovers on both sides of the ball, and the penalty count also went up as the game progressed.
Estabrooks scored his second major of the game at 7:51 as he broke through a few seams in the X-Men defense and ran the ball in for 39 yards to give the Axemen a commanding 54-16 lead late in the game.
Burnham booted his fourth field goal of the night, this time from 41 yards out with five minutes left to play as the score closed out at 54-19 for the Axemen.
The tandem of Wright and Estabrooks combined for 160 and 150 yards respectively to lead the Axemen ground attack. Wright picked up Subway player of the game honours.
Guenard was 12 for 21 for 265 yards in the air as the Axemen had 622 total offensive yards to the X-Men's 333.
Wasdal was 13-22 for 148 yards for the X-Men and also rushed 37 yards on nine carries. Zacchary Kuhn (Penetanguishene, ON) had five rushes for 77 yards.
On the defensive side of the ball, first year linebacker Jay Turnsek (North Bay, ON) led the X-Men with 8.5 tackles. Franck Kemayou (Toronto, ON) had five tackles for Acadia and an interception.
The Axemen will next see action on Friday, September 13th when they travel to Halifax to take on the Huskies. The X-Men have a bye weekend and will next play on Saturday, September 21st when they host the same Huskies squad in a 2:00 pm kick-off at StFX Stadium.
Courtesy Krista McKenna, StFX Sports Information