Thomas More Stays Unbeaten, Rolls Over Waynesburg
Thomas More simply does not lose at home.
Since playing at BB&T Field beginning in 2008, the Saints have put together a 39-2 record there and haven’t lost since 2011. The last visiting team to win in Crestview Hills was Waynesburg, which returned to campus on Saturday, but the outcome was more of the same for the Saints.
Thomas More blew out the Yellow Jackets, 42-13.
With the win, Thomas More can win the Presidents Athletic Conference next week at Case Western Reserve and guarantee themselves a playoff game.
The 11th-ranked Thomas More roster is a deep one that can operate with their backups and show little to no drop-off. On Saturday, the Saints were without their starting quarterback Jensen Gebhardt and leading rusher in C.T. Tarrant. That left Simon Kenton graduate and sophomore quarterback Brenan Kuntz under center, and freshman running back Hjavier Pitts to help pace the high-powered Saints offense.
“Those young guys have some talent, they did a nice job,” Said Thomas More head coach Regis Scafe.
While the output wasn’t quite as explosive as the totals Thomas More has posted at other times this season, the 502 total yards were more than enough for the Saints to gain their ninth win in a row, against zero losses.
If there was any complaint from the Thomas More coaching, it would be turnovers. The Saints gave the ball up three times, twice on fumbles and once on a tipped pass that was intercepted.
It was the Saints defense that kept those turnovers from becoming a bigger problem. While Waynesburg running back Jerry Lawman showed toughness moving the ball on the ground and providing some consistent yardage, the Yellow Jacket passing game had very little success against a fierce pass rush and blanket coverage on the back end.
Junior defensive end Rodderick Darden continues to wreak havoc to offensive lines as he regularly beats the offensive tackle around the edge to get pressure and sacks nearly every game. Darden leads the team in sacks with 6.5 and had another big one on Saturday that came on fourth down following a Saints turnover on a Pitts fumble.
“Defense did a really nice job, and our pass defense was unbelievable,” Scafe said.
Another notable defender for the Saints that should continue to make plays for years to come is freshman defensive back Brandon Neal whose first quarter interception and return into Waynesburg territory set up the opening touchdown to fullback Colin Justice from four yards out. Neal has made big plays on a regular basis this season for Coach Scafe and has been aided by the example of upper classmen like Trey Wells.
Another upper classman that has been a player to look up to has been senior wide receiver Goose Cohorn who played at Dixie Heights and has the most catches and the most yardage in Thomas More history. Cohorn had two more touchdowns on Saturday to give him 32 for his collegiate career. The Goose went over the 1,000 mark for receiving yards, too.
The second touchdown for Cohorn came on a 34-yard strike from Kuntz that found Cohorn wide open streaking down the middle of the field, a run that may have been made possible from a blown coverage. The other wide out, Tyler Vogelpohl also had a long touchdown catch when he too was able to get behind the secondary and take an easy 55-yard through from Kuntz into the endzone.
The game on Saturday was never that close.
In the nine wins for the Saints this year, no final score has been within single digits and it would be a stretch to say that any of the games were ever in question. Scafe has enjoyed a rather unprecedented first year as his Saints have dominated their opposition no matter who has been next on the schedule.
“It’s been great. They’re a great team, a great group of guys, they love the game and love to play and they will be ready for next week,” Scafe said. “I like the culture and the kids' attitude from a day to day basis.”
Thomas More (9-0) finishes off the regular season at 23rd-ranked Case Western Reserve in Cleveland. Following that game, the Saints will learn their postseason future.
“It’s a really good team we’re facing next week for the PAC Championship and a playoff bid. If we win, we’re in. Hopefully we get some guys back and we need a good week of preparation. The stage is set; we couldn’t ask for anything better.”
Written by Bryan Burke, associate editor