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Huskies receiver Brycen Mayoh (#2), finishes off a spectacular 71-yard catch and run touchdown during Saint Mary's 31-11 win over the Acadia Axemen on Sept. 2, 2022 in Halifax.
Huskies receiver Brycen Mayoh (#2), finishes off a spectacular 71-yard catch and run touchdown during Saint Mary's 31-11 win over the Acadia Axemen on Sept. 2, 2022 in Halifax.

Huskies defeat Axemen 31-11 in successful home opener

Huskies defeat Axemen 31-11 in successful home opener

By Vincent Taliman - Halifax, NS

The Saint Mary's Huskies football team had a successful home opener on Friday night, as head coach Steve Sumarah's team defeated the Acadia Axemen 31-11 in Halifax.

Returning to the Huskies sideline after a decade, Sumarah coached the Huskies to their first victory of the year, much to the delight of an ecstatic crowd of 1,806 people in attendance.

"Any time you can get a win it's a good one, but having been away for 10 years, to be able to come back and get the win, I'm excited but I'm more excited for our players," said Coach Sumarah. "They were pretty excited and it's always good to see the smiles on their face."

Huskies quarterback Duncan Patterson (Bedford, NS), had a successful game against his former team, completing 11 of 18 passes for 185 passing yards, 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.

The Huskies showed the run game early, with running backs A'dre Simmonds (North Preston, NS) and Malik Williams (Ajax, ON) as they combined for 52 rushing yards on the first drive. The Axemen defence would bend but not break, holding the Huskies at the Acadia 5-yard line as kicker Ethan Nagler (Winnipeg, MB) scored the first points of the game with a 12-yard Field Goal making it 3-0 for the Huskies early in the first.

The next three drives would highlight both defences as the Huskies forced Acadia quarterback Mitchell Tufts (Dartmouth, NS) to fumble which was recovered by SMU's Daniel Velocci (Dartmouth, NS) in Acadia territory.

On the ensuing drive, Patterson threw his first interception as Axemen linebacker Jacob Yazbek (Halifax, NS) read the play in coverage and forced the turnover.

After trading blows the Huskies defence capitalized on a strip sack returned for a touchdown, as Markcus Jean-Loescher (Toronto, ON) laid a hit on Tufts to force a fumble with Kesean Bennett (Ajax, ON) recovering the ball for the first touchdown of the game, giving the home team a 10-0 lead.

The Axemen defence showed resilience in the second quarter by forcing Patterson to throw his second interception to Axemen defensive back Conor Jacobs (Hammonds Plains, NS) returning it 31 yards into Huskies territory.

A 15-yard face mask penalty from the Huskies and a perfect strike to Benjamin Smith (Bedford, NS) from Tufts set up a Thomas Veinot (Bedford, NS) 12-yard field goal putting the Axemen on the board 10-3 with 3:27 left in the second quarter.

Right before halftime, SMU's Teon Alexander-Amour (Vancouver, B.C.) showcased his ability with five straight runs, including an explosive 30-yard gain. The Huskies finished off the drive with a 7-yard touchdown pass from Patterson to Devin McGuirk (Halifax, NS) with a Nagler extra point good to give the home team a 17-3 lead at the half.

The Huskies air attack continued in the third quarter as Patterson threw a slant to Brycen Mayoh (Port Coquitlam, BC), who had a spectacular gain after the catch for a 71-yard touchdown to put the Huskies up 24-3.

After the Axemen scored a single point, Patterson found McGuirk in the corner of the endzone for a 19-yard touchdown to increase the Huskies lead to 31-4.

With the game coming to an end, the last score would come from backup Acadia quarterback Dante Tabacu (Lloydminster, AB) as he would find running back Jayden Simmonds (New Minas, NS) in the flats for a touchdown pass to cut the Huskies lead to 31-11.

Saint Mary's was able to hold on for the 31-11 victory, much to the delight of an excited home crowd.

The Subway Player of the Game went to Huskies receiver Brycen Mayoh who led all receivers with 91 receiving yards and 1 touchdown on 3 receptions. Mayoh also excelled in special teams, returning three punts and one kickoff for a combined 87 yards.

The Huskies rushing attack combined for 273 yards on the ground with A'dre Simmonds leading the pack with 117 rushing yards on 15 carries.

"Our number one goal on offence was definitely try to establish the run," said Coach Sumarah post-game. "We've got some good backs and a good offensive line, and they just need to gain some more confidence, and it's one of those things that the more we do, the better we'll get."

On the defensive side for SMU, Markcus Jean-Loescher led the defence with 6 tackles and 1 sack.

For Acadia, Jayden Simmonds rushed for 34 yards on 4 rushing attempts and caught a touchdown pass.

On the Axemen defensive side, 2021 AUS All-Star linebacker Riley Gabriel (North River, NS) led the team with 8 tackles.

The Acadia Axemen fall to 0-2 on the season and will take to the road to play the St. FX X-Men on Saturday September 10th at 2 p.m. in Antigonish, N.S.

The SMU Huskies improve to 1-1 on the season and next take on the Mount Allison Mounties on Saturday September 10th at 2 p.m. in Sackville, New Brunswick.