2012 CIS Football Team Preview: Mount Allison Mounties

2012 CIS Football Team Preview: Mount Allison Mounties

Source: Mount Allison Sports Info

2011 regular season record: 0-8
2011 regular season standings: 4th in AUS
2011 playoff record: 0-0
2011 playoff finish:

Mount Allison entered the 2011 season coming off of their best win-loss record in over a decade.  With a playoff appearance under their belt, in 2011 they looked ready to make the playoffs a regular stop in the post season. However, after being devastated by injuries and plagued by turnovers, the 2011 season didn’t come close to expectations set forth in Sackville, NB.

The 2012 season looks promising for the still-young Mounties as many first-year players who were thrust into action in 2011 as rookies were able to gain valuable experience. Last year’s strong rookie class that included AUS Rookie of the Year, Jacob LeBlanc, looks to add to the veteran presence on the squad for an improved 2012 season.

Despite its youth the Mounties return fifth-year players Ben Halpern, Justin Richard, Ryan Downe, and Matt Kenny all on defense. Offensively, the Mounties return four starters on the offensive line to lead a skill group that is headed by quarterback Jake Hotchkiss and leading returning receiver Josh Blanchard.

Quote from head coach:

“The 2012 season can’t start soon enough for our program. We’ve had a great off-season and made a lot of progress with a young team.  With the core of veterans we have returning and the experience gained by our rookies last year we feel like we can compete with anyone.”

Head Coach: Kelly Jeffrey

- Number of seasons as head coach with team (including 2012): Four
- Number of seasons as head coach in CIS (including 2012): Four
- Career regular season record with team: 6-26
- Career regular season record in CIS: 6-26
- Career overall record with team (reg. season & playoffs only): 6-28
- Career overall record in CIS (reg. season & playoffs only): 6-28


Number of returning starters: 6

Key returning players:

QB Jake Hotchkiss – 3rd year.  2011 season: 8 GP, 209 attempts, 106 completions, 1485 yards passing, 7 TD’s, 15 INT’s. Added 149 yards rushing and a TD on 38 carries. Hotchkiss suffered a rib injury in 2011 but still appeared in all eight of Mount Allison’s games in 2011. Jake’s 4,266 career passing yards rank him second all-time Mount Allison history behind Kelly Hughes (5,145 yards from 2006-2008).

RB Nathan Zavarella – 3rd year.  2011 season: 28 carries, 119 yards rushing, 4.2 average, 54 yards receiving.  Zavarella returns as a versatile RB who can run, catch, and block.

REC Josh Blanchard – 3rd year.  2011 season: 13 receptions, 194 yards and 1 TD.  Blanchard is the leading returning receiver in receptions and yards from the 2011 season and known for making clutch catches in traffic.

OG Mike Filer – 5th year.  2nd Team All-Canadian (2010), AUS All-Star (2009, 2010), 2011 East/West Bowl participant.  2012 Calgary Stampeders 4th round draft pick.  Filer returns for his 5th year as the leader of a veteran offensive line and a four-year starter.

OT Alex Healy - 4th year. 2012 East/West Bowl selection and three-year starter at right tackle.

Key recruits (or newcomers: transfers):

RB Jordan Botel – VI Raiders (Nanaimo, BC).  Botel finished 2011 as a CJFL All-Star and 1000-yard rusher helping lead the VI Raiders to a BCFC title.

QB Brandon Leyh – Langley Rams (New Westminster, BC).  Leyh guided the Rams with a strong season finishing with a stellar 12 to 1 TD to Int ratio.

Key losses:
WR Adam Molnar, WR Ben Stehr, RB Nick Kukkonen, OL Aaron Harper, OL Chris Munn


Number of returning starters: 8

Key returning players:

DL Jacob LeBlanc – 2nd year. 2011 season:  AUS Rookie of the Year.  2012 Team Canada member.  2011 season: 30.5 tackles, 5 sacks, 9 TFL, 2 FR.  LeBlanc was a member of the 2012 National Team that beat the USA in the World Bowl and was also the AUS Rookie of the Year for the 2011 season.

DB Donovan Saunders – 2nd year.  2011 season:  1 INT, 1 TD, 25 Tackles, 2 Pass Breakups, 1 TFL.  Saunders started all 8 games as a true freshman taking an Interception back for a touchdown in his very first CIS game.

DE Ryan Downe – 5th year.  2011 season:   31 tackles, 12 sacks, 6.5 TFL, 2 FF, 2 FR.  Downe is the Mounties’ career sacks leader and returns for a fifth year as the leader of the DL after a monster 2011 in which he finished 7th in sacks and 4th in tackles for loss nationally.

LB Justin Richard 5th year.  Mounties’ defensive MVP for 2011.  2011 season:  48.5 tackles, 10.5 TFL, 4 sacks, 3 FF, 2 FR.  Richard was the Mounties’ team MVP on Defense for 2011 while finishing in the top 10 in four different statistically categories nationally.

Key recruits (or newcomers / transfers):

DB Michael Bohan – Tantramar HS (Sackville, NB).  Bohan was the New Brunswick Player of the Year in 2011 as the starting QB for the Tantramar Titans.  Bohan also was the Punter and FS as the team played for the Provincial title.

DL Jordan Redding – Citadel HS (Halifax, NS).  Redding comes to Mount Allison after having never lost a high school game.  The 6’4 DE will provide immediate competition on the DL.

LB Alan Snowdon – Tantramar HS (Sackville, NB).  Snowdon was the Provincial Defensive Player of the Year for NB while helping guide the Titans to the Provincial title game.

Key losses:

LB Luke Ekoh, DL Taylor Pritchard


Key returning players:

K – Alec Curtis – 2011 season:  6 of 7 FG’s, 45.9 KO Avg.

P – Kyle McLean – 2011 season:  28.4 Avg., 8 Punts inside 20yd line

Key recruits (or newcomers: transfers):

P – Michael Bohan – Tantramar HS (Sackville, NB)