(WOLFVILLE, N.S.) The Acadia Axemen have been crowned the 2017 AUS football champions after posting a 45-38 win over the Saint Mary's Huskies in the Subway AUS Loney Bowl, held Tuesday in Wolfville, N.S.
It took double overtime to settle which team would hoist the Jewett Trophy to be named the 2017 AUS champions.
Saint Mary's Caleb Scott had a one-yard rush that capped a nine-play, 83-yard drive to tie the game at 35-35 and force overtime.
Scott, who posted an impressive 443 yards passing in the contest, threw four interceptions including the fourth and final one in the second round of the overtime.
Scott's 44th pass of the game would be intercepted by second-year defensive back Rory Kelly to give the Axemen a 45-38 win over the Huskies.
Jarett Saumure tied the game at 3-3 on a 17-yard field goal, but the Huskies responded on the ensuing drive for the first of four Saint Mary's majors in regulation time.
Scott would connect with Liam O'Brien for a 20-yard touchdown, extending the lead to 10-3 in the second quarter.
Saumure bookended the Huskies' second touchdown of the opening half with two field goals of 25 and 24 yards.
O'Brien followed Saumure's second field goal with his second touchdown of the opening half on a one-yard run to give Saint Mary's a 17-6 lead.
Saumure's third field goal, set up by a fumble recovery by Acadia's Adam Melanson and team safety would conclude the first-half scoring at 17-11 for Saint Mary's.
Less than five minutes into the second half, Axeman Cordell Hastings struck quick with a 32-yard reception for Acadia's first major and first lead of the afternoon.
Saumure once again was called upon after an eight-play, 42-yard drive stalled on the Huskies' eight-yard line. Saumure would chip in a 15-yard field goal to give Acadia a 21-17 advantage at 9:13 of the third frame.
A Cody Cluett thrown interception, with four minutes remaining in the third quarter, led to O'Brien's third touchdown on a one-yard dive that wrapped up a four-play, 42-yard drive.
Trailing the Huskies 24-21, the Axemen responded in the closing minute of the third quarter with a 44-yard touchdown reception by Eugene McMinns, once against shifting the lead to Acadia, 28-24.
A Brian Hope field goal in the fourth plus a missed 47-yard field goal for a single, tied the game at 28.
Cluett and the Axemen forged a nine-play, 70-yard drive that concluded with Cluett's one-yard dive to take a 35-28 lead with just over three minutes remaining.
The Huskies responded in the closing minute of the game with an 83-yard drive capped off by a one-yard Scott dive that forced the game into overtime tied at 35.
The Axemen matched the Huskies' first shootout drive field goal with a tying field goal. The field goal was followed by an eventual game-winning one-yard dive into the end zone by Cluett on their second possession.
The Huskies needed a touchdown. But Acadia's Rory Kelly came up with a game-ending interception as Saint Mary's closed in to score from the eight-yard line.
Cluett posted 23 completions on 40 attempts for 292 yards and two touchdown passes. Cameron Davdison, who was named the Loney Bowl Most Valuable Player, replaced Wright in the second quarter and ran for 152 yards on 22 carries.
"We were a little rusty starting off, having not played in three and a half weeks" said Davidson after the game. "At halftime we just talked about sticking to what we were doing and trusting the process—something we've talked about all year. We were able to keep pounding and come away with the win."
A local product from the Annapolis Valley's Horton High School, Davidson was thrilled with the win.
"Absolutely surreal. Growing up locally and watching the team play, it's been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. Doing it with this group of guys and in front of our amazing fans in Wolfville is and will forever be one of the best moments of my life," he said.
Wright, who left the game after one quarter of play, ran for 54 yards on nine carries.
Returner specialist Johnny King was reduced to 63 yards in punt returns by the Axemen.
The Acadia Axemen now advance to host the OUA champion Western Mustangs in the U SPORTS Uteck Bowl this Saturday in Wolfville, N.S. Kick off for the national semifinal is set for 1:30 p.m. AST.
Source: Acadia Athletics Communications