561 Yards of Offense Propels Thomas More Past St. Vincent, 49-7
Running back Domonique Hayden is a huge part of the Thomas More offense, so without him in the lineup today, some may have been concerned that the Saints would have trouble moving the ball and scoring points. Thomas More defeated St. Vincent, 49-7, and put up 561 yards of total offense.
Freshman backup running back Chris Tarrant is built in similar fashion to Hayden. Both men are listed at 5'8'', both have extremely wide legs and both can move the pile. Perhaps Hayden is a bit more explosive in the open field, and could be a mite faster, but Tarrant appears to provide a bright future for head coach Jim Hilvert in the backfield.
“They're very, very similar. I've been really blessed to have a stable of good running backs. Our offensive line did a great job too,” said Hilvert.
Tarrant carried the rock 24 times on the afternoon for 153 yards and two touchdowns.
Yet as impressive as the Saints offense played Saturday, their defense also turned in a sterling performance. Defensive end Rodderick Darden stood out as he and his line mates were able to beat the St. Vincent offensive tackles on a regular basis, which allowed them to either crash down on hand offs, or force the Mustang quarterback Andy Borgan out of the pocket. The Saints defense essentially pitched a shutout since the only St. Vincent score came from a punt return.
“Our defense settled in right off the bat. I think we used our momentum from last week. We've been playing some good defense the last two games and I think we built on that momentum,” Hilvert said.
That St. Vincent punt return score came from Darius Brown who showcased lightning speed and had a few big returns in the game. On his touchdown, Brown caught the ball on his own 14 with defenders bearing down on him. He probably should have called fair catch, but he caught the punt, broke the first tackle, did a hesitation move about midfield and raced to the end zone, tying the score at 7-7.
It looked like it might be an exciting game after the first quarter with Brown's speed to counter, but Thomas More rattled off 42 unanswered points with three different quarterbacks getting playing time in what turned into a certified blowout.
One of the problems for St. Vincent was that even thought it became clear that Brown was their best player, the Mustangs played him at corner instead of on offense, rendering him useless for much needed yardage. The other problem was that both he and starting safety R. Larue-Holloman had to come out of the game with injuries. Both would return but not before the score had gotten completely out of hand.
Their last problem was that during the second quarter when the bottom was just beginning to fall out, they appeared to lose composure, racking up multiple key penalties and inviting the Saints to move the ball into scoring range time and again. Even the St. Vincent coaching staff appeared to momentarily lose their cool as they vociferously disputed something on seemingly every play when they could see the game slipping away.
Thomas More also allowed too many penalties, being called for 13 of them in the game. Some of the calls later in the game, however, may have been called against less experienced players who were seeing action late in a blowout.
“It's huge,” Hilvert said when asked how important getting the backups some playing time is to the program. “Experience is really big and we've got to keep building on that because next year we're going to be relying on a lot of those guys.”
Coach Hilvert expects Hayden to return next week when they host Grove City on Saturday.
“We're going to be happy having Dom back next week. He'll be healthy so we're excited about getting him back.”
Story & photos by Bryan Burke, associate editor