Two weekends ago on Saturday, September 23rd, the StFX X-Men travelled to Sherbrooke, Quebec to take on the Bishop’s Gaiters. Bishop’s, who are new to the AUS pool, were running high on the energy of their own homecoming that day. However, the X-Men were a force to be reckoned with, ending the game with a 10 point win of 37-27. Kaion Julien-Grant scored two touchdowns, one on a 91 yard punt return and another as the receiver of a 72 yard pass. Nate Fermin brought in athlete of the week with 8 solo tackles and two assisted, while quarterback Josh Millar threw over 356 yards.
Head coach Gary Waterman says he was very proud of how his X-Men performed, especially after enduring a 12 hour bus ride, 31 degree heat, and facing the Gaiters on their home turf with the energy of a homecoming crowd. Not to mention, the Gaiters were riding the high off their recent win over Mt. Alison, while the X-Men were stewing from their loss to Acadia.
The addition of the Gaiters to the AUS circuit changes things up, Coach Waterman says. Previously, the season was shorter, with only one bye week, meaning the X-Men would face one team three times, and possibly a fourth time in the playoffs. However, with the addition of Bishop’s, each team plays twice, once home and once away, with two bye weeks per season. Despite the more balanced schedule this change has offered, Coach Waterman points out that it has been an adjustment to find the right balance between training enough to be prepared for a game two weeks away, while also not overexerting the players.
Looking into the X-Men’s own homecoming game the following weekend, Coach Waterman and the team went in focusing on one thing: consistency. “We played a poor game our week one (against St. Mary’s), we played a pretty good game week two (against Mt. A), and then we played a poor game week three (against Acadia), and rebounded week four (against Bishop’s). So we are looking for some consistency. We want to put two good weeks back to back.” On Saturday, the X-Men, sitting at 2-2 and holding two back-to-back AUS championships were set to take on the undefeated St. Mary’s Huskies. This homecoming game marked midseason for the X-Men and the energy is was at an all-time high, both in the stands and on the field. The team fell short in a one point 22-21 action packed and nerve-wracking homecoming game. Nonetheless the X-Men put on an impressive performance, showing a lot of promise for the playoffs.