Sunday, October 3, 2004 The Halifax Herald Limited

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TED PRITCHARD / Staff
Acadia Axemen receiver Ivan Birungi (9) runs over St. Francis Xavier X-Men safety Jeremy Steeves in AUFC play Saturday in Antigonish. Acadia won 20-13 in an overtime shootout.

Acadia wins in OT
Huskies roll over Mounties 47-3

By MONTY MOSHER / Sports Reporter

Sick of moral victories, the Acadia Axemen got the real kind on Saturday.

Acadia took sole possession of second place in the AUFC with a 20-13 overtime-shootout win over the struggling St. Francis Xavier X-Men before 3,400 fans at Homecoming at Oland Stadium.

Acadia, with tough losses in recent weeks to ranked teams in Saint Mary's and Laval, is 2-2 while the X-Men have dropped three in a row for a 1-3 mark.

In the other game in Sackville, N.B., sixth-ranked Saint Mary's moved to 3-1 by hammering the host Mount Allison Mounties 47-3. Mount A is 0-4 and has lost 18 straight overall.

At Oland Stadium, Acadia scored on a three-yard run by rookie tailback Jordan Pavlicic on its first possession of the shootout, which begins 35 yards from the opponent's goal-line.

The X-Men ran out of downs on their possession.

"It's just good to win," said Acadia linebacker Steve Faoro, whose tackle near the goal-line stopped the X-Men on a third-down gamble in the fourth quarter. "We finally won the tight game."

Acadia used both Chris Judd and Kristin Pipe at quarterback. It was Judd at the helm for the overtime drive.

Axemen receiver Ivan Birungi had 138 yards receiving. He had Acadia's only touchdown in regulation on a 29-yard catch from Pipe near the end of the second quarter.

"I thought the offence sputtered at times, but when it came down to crunch time we got a touchdown," said Birungi. "We've been in a lot of close games and it's a good win. It's about time one went our way."

Pavlicic fumbled crossing the goal-line and it wasn't immediately clear if the touchdown would stand. It did.

The X-Men, with a crew of injured players, lost starting centre Greg Hadley on the first play of the game. Star tailback Marvin McCooty played despite a painful wrist injury.

However, X-Men head coach John Bloomfield didn't complain about misfortune.

"You make your own breaks," he said. "We did some things better today than we've done all year. We had a lot of guys limping around out there so it would have been nice for them after the kind of effort they put in to come away with the victory.

"There's some positives that can come out of this I guess, but I'm not a really good loser."

The X-Men forced the shootout, and picked up a point in the standings, after a Judd interception by linebacker Sean Manning gave them the ball near midfield with 1:05 on the clock.

They marched deep enough for Craig Chisholm to make a 29-yard field goal with four seconds left in regulation.

X-Men safety Jeremy Steeves thinks his team has something to build upon for its home date with Saint Mary's next week.

"There were a lot of positives, for sure," said Steeves, banged up last week in a 56-15 loss at Montreal. "No one probably expected us to be this close."

It was 6-0 for the visitors until the second quarter when Pipe, getting his first sustained work this year, had consecutive passes intercepted.

The second one resulted in points when the X-Men drove to the Acadia two-yard line. McCooty went in for the score at 11:56 and Bryan Pozzobon carried in a two-point convert for an 8-6 X-Men lead.

Pipe rewarded the faith of head coach Jeff Cummins, leading a touchdown drive in the final minute of the half that ended with the long toss to Birungi.

St. F.X. picked up a safety in the fourth to draw within a field goal.

Huskies 47 Mounties 3 - Tailback Les Mullings, the 2003 conference MVP, ran for 101 yards and a 35-yard touchdown and caught a 78-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Steve Panella for a second major.

SMU responded to a 29-10 home loss to Concordia last weekend.

"We really wanted to bring the intensity up," said Mullings, with 198 all-purpose yards. "We wanted to be aggressive, go back to old Huskies' football. We're trying to inflict some fear."

Fullback Gabe Harvey also had two touchdowns on a two-yard run and 10-yard toss from Panella (10-13-188). Panella had a major on a one-yard plunge.

Danny Lumley, one of three SMU quarterbacks to see action, connected with receiver Fraser O'Neill on a seven-yard scoring strike in the third quarter.

Notes - Acadia lost All-Canadian defensive back and kicker Matt Sharpe to an arm injury in the first half ... The X-Men wore decals on their helmets honoring the memory of St. F.X. coaching legend Don Loney.



Copyright 2004 The Halifax Herald Limited