Thomas More Trounces Thiel, 60-12
Thomas More faced a slightly more competitive team than the previous two weeks when they took on Thiel at home on a rainy Saturday afternoon, but still ended up trouncing the Tomcats, 60-12.
The Saints have been utterly dominant on both sides of the football. Defensively, they have only allowed 19 points in 12 quarters of play this season - seven of which came in the waning moments of an 84-0 blowout.
Defensive end Rodderick Darden has been tremendous as a pass rusher with four sacks on the year and consistently got in the opposing quarterback’s face. His speed rush around the edge is fast enough to beat most tackles he’s faced and his 240-pound frame is strong enough to push his man backwards against the run.
Thiel quarterback Ryan Radke displayed impressive athleticism with his legs and his arm. In the first quarter, Radke busted loose for 40 yards on a scramble, and later showed the ability to hit his receiver on the run through the air. With all that being said, however, the Saints defensive line led by Darden was too strong for the Thiel front and frustrated Radke and the rest of the offense. In order to hang with the Thomas More offense, the Tomcats needed big numbers themselves, but with only 121 total yards in the first half, they found themselves down quickly.
That Saints offense has been completely unstoppable in the three early games this season, all at home. In the first quarter, the unit as a whole looked fairly average compared to its regular display. Despite putting up two big plays of 40 or more yards, their lead was only 7-0 after one quarter.
In the second quarter, though, the scoring loosened up thanks in large part to the standout senior receiver, Dixie grad Goose Cohorn. The Saints have two very talented receivers. In the first two games, the passes and yardage went more to the way of Tyler Vogelpohl than Cohorn, but on Saturday, the day belonged to Goose.
Cohorn is the all-time receiving leader in Thomas More history. He excelled with former coach Jim Hilvert and has turned it on now with current coach Regis Scafe as well. In the first half alone, Cohorn had eight catches with 176 yards and a 45-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter. His ability to be tough on short-yardage catches near the sideline, combined with his speed to get behind defensive backs, kept the Thiel defense from stopping him in any way.
Earlier in the year, Vogelpohl set the single-game receiving record with over 200 yards, but on Saturday, Cohorn broke that young record himself, finishing with 216 yards on 10 catches and two touchdowns.
If it wasn’t Cohorn, it was running back CT Tarrant that carried the offense on his shoulders to a big game. Tarrant had 115 yards and two touchdowns. Last year, TMC had the luxury of handing the ball to the greatest back in school history, Dominique Hayden. Tarrant is similar to Hayden in build and running style and a lot of the types of plays that Hayden excelled with, Tarrant has succeeded with as well. Tarrant’s ability to carry the rock at a 9.6 yards per carry average, kept the Saints’ offense on schedule, and tired out the Thiel defense. As the Tomcats offense found themselves punting again and again, their chances fell apart quickly with the success of the Saints offense.
The second half was even more lopsided. Thomas More drove down the field and capped of their first second-half possession with a 37-yard touchdown run for Tarrant. After a Thiel three-and-out, the Saints partially blocked the punt and took over in Thiel territory. Backup quarterback Brenan Kuntz—who played great in the previous week’s win—relieved starter Jensen Gebhardt, and showed some speed as he took a keeper 37-yards to the house untouched for the score.
As if the offense and defense weren’t enough, the Saints also scored on special teams as Dustin Mitchell blocked the second punt in a row which was easily recovered in the endzone to make the score 45-0 midway through the third quarter. Thomas More had been close to nearly every punt on the day—which there were many—and in the second half, they finally made contact with the ball which translated to easy points. Adding insult to injury, once Thiel cracked the scoreboard with a short touchdown pass late in the third quarter, the Saints special teams blocked the extra point and returned it for a two-point conversion.
The Saints special teams outscored Thiel’s offense 9-6 in the third quarter.
Starting quarterback Jensen Gebhardt had 320 passing yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions.
The Saints hit the road for the first time next week when they travel to play Westminster. Whether they will be tested there remains to be seen. Thomas More has not trailed at any point in their three blowout wins so far.
Written by Bryan Burke, associate editor