2014 CIS Football Team Preview: StFX X-Men

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Source: Krista McKenna, StFX SportsInfo

2013 regular season record: 3-5
2013 regular season standings: 4th inAUS
2013 playoff record: N/A
2013 playoff finish: N/A

The X-Men began their 2013 campaign with a week one victory overMount Allison, followed up in week two with a convincing road winover Concordia as they became the only AUS team to secure aninterlock victory.

Despite the 2-0 start to the season, theremainder of the AUS schedule was not as friendly for StFX as theywent on to finish 3-5 in a close AUS conference, losing their lastgame of the season in a low scoring, nail biter to SaintMary’s. Despite finishing tied with Acadia in the AUSstandings and being one play away from capturing the AUS regularseason title, the fourth place X-Men were part of the evidence thatthe 2013 AUS football season was one of the most competitive andexciting seasons we have seen in a while.

In 2014 the X-Men offence will feature East West Bowlparticipant Ashton Dickson at running back and will also returnveteran AUS all-star receiver Jordan Catterall. With thequarterback position still up for grabs, the white and blue willlook for improved play from a young offensive line as well assenior receiver Randy Roseway and 2013 team rookie of the year KeonHughes. The offence was quick to pick up on the new scheme inspring training and it will be interesting to see how thingsdevelop on this side of the ball come September.

Defensively, the X-Men will be led by veteran linebacker RonOmara, the AUS defensive player of the year, CIS All-Canadian and2014 East West Bowl participant. It will be important for the X-Mento find production from their senior defensive linemen JesseStevens and Jainyme DaSilveira. Kay Okafor, a young defensive end,emerged in spring training as a player capable of contributing onthe line of scrimmage. This type of depth will be crucial for StFXto compete at a high level this fall.

Quote from head coach Gary Waterman:

“Despite just missing out on the playoffs last year wefeel that the team made tremendous strides. We were the only AUSteam to secure an interlock victory and were able to defeat theeventual AUS champion Mounties two out of the three times we playedthem.”

“With 18 of 22 starters returning, and the successfuladdition of quality depth, we feel that the 2014 X-Men are a teamon the rise. Defensively we have stability with the return ofdefensive coordinator Bob Mullen, and offensively we have added oneof the brightest young football minds in Canada in new offensivecoordinator Steve Snyder. The 2014 AUS football season promises tobe an exciting one and the X-Men are looking forward to thechallenge.”

Head Coach:

– Number of seasons as head coach with team (including 2014):6
– Number of seasons as head coach in CIS (including 2014): 6
– Career regular season record with team: 14-26
– Career regular season record in CIS: 14-26
– Career overall record with team (reg. season & playoffsonly): 15-28
– Career overall record in CIS (reg. season & playoffs only):15-28

OFFENCE

Number of returning starters: 9

Key returning players:

REC Jordan Catterall (Oakville, ON) was a 2013 East-West Bowlparticipant and is a two-time AUS all-star. The 2010 AUS rookie ofthe year was second on the team in receiving numbers this pastseason and was third overall in the conference averaging of 62.2yards/game.

REC Randy Roseway (Ottawa, ON), was a 2014 East-West Bowlparticipant and was eighth in conference receiving with24 receptions. Randy is coming off a strong spring game and islooking to be a key contributor in a new offence.

RB Ashton Dickson (Ottawa, ON) was a 2014 East West Bowlparticipant and has led the X-Men in rushing yards in each of thepast three seasons. Accumulating 511 yards rushing last season, hewas second overall in AUS total rushes with 137.

REC Donald Tabor (Dartmouth, NS) is a versatile player who iscoming of age and poised for a solid year. Tabor had 18 receptionsfor 124 yards in 2013 and is coming off a strong spring trainingperformance.

Key recruits or transfers:

RB Dejon Lynch (Nanaimo, BC), Sumner high school,Washington.

REC Jesse Alves (Barrie, ON), Joan of Arc

OL Pete Alexander (Saint John, NB), Saint John High

Key losses:

REC Devon Bailey (Mississauga, ON)

OL Terry Hart (Barrie, ON)

FB Keegan Vosman (Antigonish, NS)

DEFENCE

Number of returning starters: 9

Key returning players:

LB Ron Omara (Alymer, QC) is coming off an impressiveperformance at the 2014 East West Bowl. Ron will be the undisputedleader of a defense that returns 9 starters. Omara finished the2013 season as an AUS all-star as well as being recognized as theAUS defensive player of the year and a CIS second teamAll-Canadian.

Charlton Elliot (Pickering, ON) enters into his fifth seasonwith the X-Men and provides veteran leadership in thesecondary.

DB Demetrius Ferguson (Bahamas) returns as a key piece to asecondary that will be relied upon heavily this season. Demetriusis coming off a 20.5 tackle season while recording 3 interceptionsand 2 forced fumbles.

DB Hayden Peters (Inverary, ON) has been dynamic for the X-Menin his first two seasons. The former X-Men rookie of the yearrecorded 40 tackles in 2013.

Key recruits or transfers:

DE Kyle Forde (Ajax, ON), IMG Academy

DL Tyler Cordeiro (Oakville, ON), Holy Trinity

DL Sam Gan (London, ON), Central

Key losses:

LB Brett Hubbeard (Peterborough, ON)

DE Samni Adereti (Brampton, ON)

DB Hugo Rajotti (Markham, ON)

SPECIALTEAMS

Key returning players:

P Hayden Peters (Inverary, ON) turned in another solidperformance punting for the X-Men in 2013. With 76 punts and anaverage of 37.1 yards/punt, he led the conference. Hayden wasrecognized as an AUS all-star for his work on special teams.

Key recruits or transfers:

K/P Keiran Burnham (Cambridge, ON)

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