Stingers hang on for 17-11 win over X-Men

Courtesy Concordia Sports Information
Courtesy Concordia Sports Information

Montreal, QC - The Concordia Stingers handed the StFX X-Men (2-1) their first loss of the regular season with a 17-11 victory in CIS interlock football action Saturday afternoon in Montreal.

After the X-Men went two-and-out on their opening offensive possession, James Tyrrell (Dorval, QC) returned a Keiran Burnham (Cambridge, ON) punt to the StFX 31 yard line. With the benefit of a no-yards penalty, the Stingers started at the X-Men 26.

On the second play of that drive, quarterback Trenton Miller (Buffalo, NY) found Tyrrell for a 25-yard touchdown. With an Andrew Stevens (Port Stanley, ON) point-after, Concordia led 7-0 in their Homecoming game.

After another two-and-out on their next time with the ball, which pinned them deep in their own zone, the X-Men conceded a safety, which gave the Stingers a 9-0 edge.

Later in the quarter, after Quaid Johnson (Montreal, QC) blocked a Burnham punt, Concordia started on offense from the 32-yard line of the X-Men. StFX's defense held the fort, holding the Stingers to a 34-yard field goal attempt by Stevens. On the single point, after a miss, Concordia stretched its lead to 10-0.

In the opening minute of the second quarter, the X-Men offense exploded, with quarterback Tivon Cook (Scarborough, ON) connecting with Kaion Julien-Grant (Toronto, ON) for a spectacular 99-yard touchdown. With the point-after from placekicker Jonathan Heidebrecht (Camrose, AB), the StFX trailed 10-7.

With the Stingers back in the X-Men end, defensive back Dylan Bell (Brockville, ON) thwarted the drive with an interception of Miller.

On the kick-off, Heidebrecht garnered a rouge, when he booted it 75 yards, to trim the Stinger edge to 10-8.   

Midway through the second quarter, keyed by 21 yards receiving and 20 rushing from running back Jordan Socholotiuk (Fort McMurray, AB), the X-Men made their way into the Stinger end. Heidebrecht capped the drive with a 42-yard field goal, which gave StFX an 11-10 lead.

Concordia answered quickly, regaining the lead when Stevens put the exclamation point on a 10-play, 67-yard drive, with a 16-yard field goal.

Trailing 13-11, with just more than two minutes remaining before halftime, the X-Men offense went back to work. But, on the first play from scrimmage, Michael Asibuo (Lasalle, QC) picked-off Cook and returned the ball to the 39 of StFX.

The X-Men defense forced a 20-yard field goal attempt by Stevens, with less than one minute left in the second quarter, but he missed.

StFX conceded a single point and Concordia led 14-11 at the intermission.

In the third quarter, on their second time with the ball, Stevens ended a seven-play, 65-yard march with a 32-yard field goal, which gave the Stingers a 17-11 edge.

After a roughing the kicker call, on a Burnham punt, the X-Men caught a break and resumed on offense from the Stinger 37-yard line. On the next play, Asibuo intercepted Cook, for the second time, deep in the Concordia zone.

After three quarters, the Stingers maintained their six-point advantage, at 17-11.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, Bell - with his second of the day - intercepted Miller.

For most of the final 15 minutes, both offenses stalled against stingy defenses.

With one final opportunity, Cook and the X-Men took over at their own 40, with 54 seconds remaining in regulation time. Spearheaded by a 16-yard run from Socholotiuk and 15-yard catch from Chuck Wall (Hamilton, ON), StFX made it to the Stinger 19-yard line. The X-Men ran out of time, with Cook's final pass falling incomplete to Christian Ridley (Dubai, UAE).

In the neck-and-neck match-up, which went down to the wire, Concordia held a 22-16 advantage in first downs, while outgaining StFX 398-353 in total yardage.

Through the air, Cook was 22-for-34, for 271 yards, with one touchdown pass and three interceptions.

Socholotiuk led the blue and white with seven receptions (45 yards), while Julien-Grant chewed up a game-high 171 yards receiving, on six catches. Socholotiuk topped all rushers, with 111 yards, on 17 carries, while Jean-Guy Rimpel (Montreal, QC) led the Stinger ground game with 18 rushes for 74 yards.

Miller put up 49 passes, completing 32 for 330 yards, with one TD and three interceptions. Tyrrell had seven catches, for 119 yards, while Vincent Alessandrini (Laval, QC) caught a team-best 10 balls, for 86 yards.

Defensively, Adam Kuntz (Camrose, AB) collected the third X-Men interception, while adding 7.5 tackles. Hayden Peters (Inverary, ON) garnered a game-high eight tackles, while fellow defensive back Nathaniel Fermin (Pickering, ON) had a forced fumble. Linemen Mete Konya (Osnabrueck, GER), with two, and Kyle Forde (Ajax, ON) had quarterback sacks.

For the Stingers, Lloyd Bureau (Quebec City, QC) had their third interception, while Alexandre Renaud (St. Hubert, QC) and Christophe Petel (Montreal, QC) led the way with 5.5 tackles apiece. Concordia sacked Cook four times, while Johnson had a force fumble.

The X-Men return to action Saturday, Oct. 1, when they host the rival Saint Mary's Huskies, as part of Homecoming 2016 on the Antigonish campus. Kick-off is set for 2 p.m. at StFX Stadium.