The Saint Mary’s Huskies are getting a week to rest, and they have DeVon Hicks and their defence to thank.
The Huskies clinched first overall and a bye to Atlantic University Sport football’s Loney Bowl with Friday’s 41-7 thumping of the St. Francis Xavier X-Men before a crowd of 4,273 at Huskies Stadium. The victory emphatically avenged the Huskies’ opening-week loss to the X-Men in Antigonish.
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Hicks, a first-year defensive lineman, picked off X-Men quarterback Steve Snyder twice in a 3:17 span in the second quarter and ran them back for four- and 18-yard touchdowns. The Huskies forced eight X-Men turnovers.
“We just did what we had to do,” said Hicks. “They’re a good team, we just game-planned for ’em, our coach put us in the right place … And we beat ’em pretty good.”
Defensive back Jeff Hecht picked off another errant Snyder pass in the fourth quarter for a TD, and running back Craig Leger rushed in a pair of majors in the final four minutes.
Adding to the excitement was Huskies kicker Justin Palardy, who booted two field goals and five converts to break Paul Brule’s 42-year-old AUS career scoring record. Palardy, in his fourth season at SMU, has piled up 307 points.
Friday’s victory sent a clear message to the X-Men, who have now lost back-to-back games after a 5-0 start.
“We’re a good team, right?” Palardy said. “It shows if we do what we can do, we’re going to go a long way.”
The Huskies (6-1) host the Acadia Axemen on Friday. The Loney Bowl will be held at Huskies Stadium on Nov. 7.