HALIFAX, NS - The U SPORTS #5 ranked St. Francis Xavier X-Men completed a perfect 8-0 season with a 40-10 win over the Saint Mary's Huskies on Friday night at Huskies Stadium in Halifax.
STFX is currently enjoying a 22-0 undefeated streak in AUS regular season competition, dating back to the final game of the 2019 season. They have had undefeated years atop the AUS conference in 2023 (8-0), 2022 (8-0) and the shortened 2021 (6-0) season.
The Huskies got off to a tremendous start on Friday night, as the X-Men fumbled on the first offensive snap on the game, and linebacker Isaiah Okoli (Surrey, BC) recovered to give Saint Mary's excellent field position.
Just two plays later, quarterback Brett Maisonneuve (Gatineau, QC) lofted a pass into the end zone that was caught by receiver Trydell Mintis (Halifax, NS) for a 27-yard touchdown score, with kicker Andre Landry (Quispamsis, NB) converting the extra point to give the Huskies a 7-0 lead.
But the high-powered X-Men offence would equalize soon after, as quarterback Silas Fagnan (Bonnyville, AB) hit receiver Devaughn Blackwood (Kanata, ON) on a 43-yard completion, setting up a 5-yard touchdown run by Malcolm Bussey (Hammonds Plans, NS) to tie the game at 7-7.
After a Huskies punt, the X-Men offence would quickly take the lead, as Fagnan hit Zachary Houde (Thetford Mines, QC) for a long completion, setting up a 1-yard touchdown plunge by Bussey for his second major of the quarter.
The X-Men added five more points in the second quarter by way of a 18-yard field goal from Ben Hadley (Halifax, NS), and a safety, and took a 19-7 lead into halftime.
The Huskies found some offensive momentum in the third quarter as a 25-yard catch and run by Joshua Jack (Brampton, ON) set up a 18-yard field goal from Landry to cut the lead to 19-10.
On the ensuing X-Men drive, a 54-yard completion to Houde brought them inside the Huskies five-yard line, but Huskies defensive back Davontay Conrad-DeLeon (Lower Sackville, NS) made a clutch interception to end the threat.
But that would be the end of the Huskies momentum for the night as the X-Men scored 21 straight points to finish off the game.
First a 25-yard field goal from Hadley gave the visitors a 22-10 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Then Bussey broke a 53-yard run for his third touchdown of the night, bringing him over the 1000-yard rushing milestone for the campaign. Another 32-yard field goal from Hadley made it 33-10 X-Men, and with just seconds remaining, defensive back Isaac Ombotimbe (Ottawa, ON) broke a 58-yard punt return for a touchdown, making it a final score of 40-10.
X-Men receiver Ben Harrington was named Player of the Game with 216 all-purpose yards, including four receptions for 102 yards.
Fagnan threw for 354 yards on 19/31 passing, while Bussey added 159 yards and three touchdowns on 23 rushes, and Houde hauled in eight receptions for a game-high 172 receiving yards.
The X-Men defence pressured the Huskies all night and recorded four sacks, with lineman JJ Heaton (Prince Rupert, BC) contributing 3.5 tackles including three tackles for a loss and one sack.
Brett Maisonneuve completed 14/28 passes for 198 yards and a touchdown, with Trydell Mintis the recipient of five catches for 100 yards and a touchdown.
On the defensive side, Davontay Conrad-Deleon recorded 5.5 tackles and an interception, while linebacker Jacob Morgan (Halifax, NS) added 5.5 tackles of his own.
The X-Men finish the season with an 8-0 record, while the Huskies finish with a record of 2-6.
The two teams will meet again next week in the AUS semifinal playoff game on Saturday, Nov. 4th in Antigonish, NS. Kick-off is slated for 2:00 pm.
Recap by Allan April / Saint Mary's Huskies Athletics
Photos by Mona Ghiz / Saint Mary's Huskies Athletics