Argosy Sports goes back to Mt. A’s last Loney Bowl win.
The year was 1997, and the Mount Allison Men’s Football Mounties finished second in the Atlantic University Football Conference with five wins and three losses. The Mounties finished the season eighth in the Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union polls, but to become Loney Bowl champions, they would have to beat the Saint Francis Xavier X-Men, who were the top ranked team in the country by season’s end.
Rather than jump to the conclusion of the season though, let’s consider some of the fantastic events that happened during the early weeks of the fall semester.
The Mounties opened up the season with three consecutive victories, including a win over the X-Men on September 20.
The Mounties also had a plethora of spectacular individual performances during the 1997 season. Mounties kicker David Bradford notched four field goals in a win over the Saint Mary’s Huskies on September 27, the second most field goals made in one game in the country. The Mounties’ Phillipe Girard was the runner-up for the President’s Trophy for defensive players, finishing behind Jason Van Geel of Waterloo University, and was also voted as a second team All-Canadian as defensive back.
It’s hard to avoid writing about ‘The Running Man,’ Mt. A’s own Eric Lapointe. Lapointe, who would be trying to replicate the 1996 season, where he rushed for 1619 yards in just eight games—a Canadian Interuniveristy Sport record that still stands. He was hindered by a broken arm and missed most of the 1997 season. In 1998, Lapointe returned to form, winning the Hec Crighton award as most outstanding Canadian football player in the CIS, for the second time in just three years.
The X-Men were heavily favoured to collect the Jewett trophy at home in their native Antigonish, Nova Scotia. Dominating their opponents, and not having lost in almost two full months, they ranked as the top team in the country. With just one quarter remaining, the Mounties trailed by ten points, down 17-7. After a Bradford field goal cut the Mounties deficit to one score, receiver Craig Fougere caught a twenty-six yard pass on third down to tie the game. A fortunate fumble recovery deep in X-Men territory let Bradford go to work. He booted a seventeen yard go-ahead field goal to give the Mounties the lead with just over two minutes remaining. The X-Men, who were probably battling the feeling of shock, could not recover, which put the 1997 Men’s Football Mounties into the history books forever.
The Mt. A faithful concluded their trip to Antigonish by changing the “Smile You’re at X!” sign to “Smile You Beat X” to make an iconic photo of the day’s events. The game still rests in the minds of Mount Allison Alumni as one of the greatest games in Mounties history, and was the last time the Mounties won the Loney Bowl.
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