Thomas More Hopes to Build on Recent Success With Playoff Berth
After an 8-2 season that included a 7-1 mark in the Presidents Athletic Conference (PAC), the Thomas More Saints football program is looking to build on that success with a trip to the NCAA Division III playoffs which eluded them last season.
The 8-2 record was part of the program's 19th winning season in the past 25 years. The Saints have won a share of the PAC title in six of the last seven seasons. New head coach Regis Scafe is looking for more.
“That’s one of our goals is to win the PAC Championship which automatically gets us into the playoffs,” Scafe said. “But right now we’re facing a huge challenge in our opener against St. John’s Fisher coming down here from New York who is a top-25 team, so it’s kind of like a regional battle. They’re really good up in New York, and we feel that we’re really good down here so it’s going to be a pretty interesting opener.”
The Saints were ranked 15th in The Sporting News Division III preseason Top-25 poll, and were picked to finish second in the PAC preseason poll. While Scafe may be the new coach after taking over for Jim Hilvert who last year became TMC’s all-time winningest coach, his team is largely a veteran one with many starters returning for 2015. Among them is quarterback Jensen Gebhardt.
“He will be the guy under the helm at the beginning, and of course Brenan Kuntz played a lot last year so he will be getting reps,” Scafe said.
Having that kind of experience is a luxury for Scafe and he and the coaching staff have emphasized maintaining the Saints' offensive scheme.
“We’re not really changing the offense all that much, so it’s going to be familiar to all of those guys,” he said. “In the spring, we were pretty much doing very similar stuff so hopefully their going to be able to pick up right where they were last year.”
That scheme is based out of the pistol formation, which is a shorter shotgun formation that features a tailback behind the quarterback, rather than beside the quarterback like most shotgun formations. It facilitates a spread attack with flexibility of using multiple receivers, or tight ends and fullbacks. The idea is that the Saints can more easily adjust to various defensive fronts they may encounter this season.
One of those receivers Scafe and his staff are counting on this year is Goose Cohorn, a Dixie Heights graduate who had a big season with the Saints a year ago.
“There’s no doubt about how talented Goose is. He’s been working really hard. He’s been running, he has great hands, he’s a playmaker, a leader for us, and I can see him having an unbelievable season for us.”
Another expected key cog in the Thomas More wheel is tailback C.T. Tarrant who racked up impressive yardage totals last year backing up one of the greatest players in Thomas More football history, Dominique Hayden.
“He was the backup last year and he still got 700 or 800 yards so he will get the nod to start out. He has great potential and could be a tough runner for us. You can’t replace Dominique, he was an All-American, the all-time leading rusher, but I think we have between C.T. and the other guys, our running game could be really effective,” Scafe said of Tarrant. “He has enough experience. It isn’t like he’s a raw rookie. He got to play a lot last year, and they’re built similar. Real strong and stocky, good speed and quickness. They aren’t the same kind of runner but CT will develop his own style.”
Hayden smashed the record book for Thomas More, breaking seven individual records and earning an offseason workout with the Baltimore Ravens this spring.