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Stewart finds end zone twice in Huskies 33-18 win over Axemen

Stewart finds end zone twice in Huskies 33-18 win over Axemen

HALIFAX, NS – Saint Mary's receiver Liam Stewart scored two touchdowns, and running back A'dre Simmonds added 142 yards on the ground and a touchdown, as the Huskies defeated the Acadia Axemen 33-18 on Friday night in Halifax.

The game was part of Saint Mary's homecoming festivities, and saw the Huskies honour their 1973 National Championship football team with a pre-game kick-off and half-time ceremony. The Huskies would put on a show, much to the delight of the alumni and other 1100+ fans in attendance.

The opening drive saw the Huskies get on the scoreboard, after a sack by linebacker Jacob Morgan (Halifax, NS) pinned the Axemen on their own one-yard line, where they would concede the safety to put Saint Mary's in front 2-0.

Several drives later, a Huskies fumble gave the Axemen excellent field position, and kicker Thomas Veinot (Bedford, NS) was able to hit a 19-yard field goal to give the visitors the 3-2 lead.

The first quarter was a defensive battle, with the Huskies making some nice plays offensively, but being held back by several costly penalities, and the score was 3-2 heading into the second quarter.

Midway through the second quarter, the Huskies offence broke the game wide open, when quarterback Duncan Patterson (Bedford, NS), found receiver Liam Stewart (Port Coquitlam, BC) on a deep pass, which Stewart took the rest of the way for a huge 79-yard touchdown reception. Kicker Ethan Nagler (Winnipeg, MB) converted the extra point, as the Huskies took a 9-3 lead.

"That felt really good," said Stewart post-game. "The ball was up in the air, I was able to track it and catch it, and had to find the boys to celebrate it."

With just over a minute remaining in the first half, Huskies safety Max Van Nieuwkoop (Burlington, ON) intercepted a pass from Axemen quarter back Riley Naujoks (Winnipeg, MB), which led to a 37-yard field goal by Nagler as time expired, and the Huskies would take a 12-3 lead into the half.

Just a minute into the second half, the Axemen would answer with a game-changing play of their own, as Patterson was picked off by defensive back Jack Malo (Barrie, ON), who returned it 40-yards to the end zone. Thomas Veinot hit the extra point, cutting the score to 12-10.

Patterson would get redemption later in that third quarter, as he found receiver Trydell Mintis (Halifax, NS) for an eight-yard touchdown reception, with Nagler converting the PAT to extend the lead back to 19-10.

The Axemen made a change under centre, with quarterback Nick Kennedy (Calgary, AB) replacing Naujoks. Kennedy had the Axemen driving into Huskies territory early in the fourth quarter, but his pass was picked off by Huskies defensive back Ryan Butler (Mississauga, ON) to stop the momenteum.

Several drives later, the Huskies were pinned deep in their own end, when Patterson found Stewart streaking down the middle of the field for a 46-yard catch and run. Just three plays later, the dynamic duo would connect again, as Stewart hauled in a 39-yard bomb for his second score of the game, with Nagler's PAT extending the Huskies lead to 26-10.

Acadia would answer back on the next drive, thanks in part to some costly Huskies penalties, setting up a one-yard touchdown plunge by receiver Logan McNamee (Saint John, NB), with Kennedy finding receiver Dylan Patterson (Bedford, NS) for a two-point conversion to cut the lead to 26-18.

The Axemen pushed for an equalizing score, but the Huskies defence came up big, thanks in part to back-to-back sacks by linebackers Isaiah Okoli (Surrey, BC) and Josheiwa Byron (Brampton, ON).

Huskies running back A'dre Simmonds was a workhorse all night, running for 142 yards on 32 carries, and was rewarded on a game-sealing touchdown run with just 21 seconds remaining, securing the 33-18 victory.

Huskies quarterback Duncan Patterson completed 14/20 passes for 253 yards and three touchdowns, with two of those courtesy of Player of the Game Liam Stewart, who finished the day with three receptions for 164 yards and two touchdowns.

"I'm feeling really good," said Stewart post-game. ""The whole team works really hard so it's really cool when the hard work pays off. I loved the game plan and we came out and executed. We'll go enjoy the win tonight and then get ready for next week to take on Mount Allison."

On the defensive side, Joshewia Byron had a team-high six tackles, including a sack, while Matteo Viani (Kamloops, BC) added 4.5 tackles.

The win improves Saint Mary's record to 2-4 on the campaign.They'll hit the road next weekend, taking on the Mount Allison Mounties at 2 p.m. next Saturday, Oct. 21 in Sackville, NB, before returning to Huskies Stadium to finish off the season at home on Friday, Oct. 27 as they host the U SPORTS #5 ranked STFX X-Men.

The Axemen loss dropped their record to 1-6 on the season. They will host the Bishop's Gaiters next Saturday, Oct. 21 at 3 p.m. in Wolfville, NS.

Recap by Allan April / Saint Mary's Huskies Athletics
Photos by Eduardo Ibarra / Saint Mary's Huskies Athletics