Thomas More Football's Playoff Run Ends in Overtime at Wabash

Correction: An earlier version of this story had a headline that stated Thomas More lost to Hanover. The winning team was Wabash. The headline has been corrected.

Despite a big halftime lead, Thomas More's postseason run came to an end on Saturday as the 9th-ranked Saints fell at 7th-ranked Wabash in overtime.

The second round game of the NCAA Division III Football Championship Playoff was played at Hollett Little Giant Stadium in Crawfordsville, Indiana.

With the loss, the Saints end the season at 11-1 and the Little Giants improve to 12-0 and advance to the play St. Thomas in a national quarterfinal game next Saturday.

Wabash led 7-6 after one quarter, the Saints led 27-13 at halftime and 27-16 after three quarters and the game was tied at 27-27 at the end of regulation.

Wabash took a 7-0 lead with 8:43 to play in the first quarter when Mason Zurek scored on a two-yard run and Andrew Tutsie made the point-after-attempt.  Thomas More cut the lead to 7-6 when sophomore running back C.T. Tarrant (Hamilton, OH/Hamilton) scored on a one-yard run and senior kicker Tommy Budke’s (Cincinnati/Colerain) PAT was blocked with 3:18 to play in the first quarter.

The Little Giant increased the lead to 10-6 with 14:40 to play in the second quarter when Tutsie made a 33-yard field goal. 

Thomas More took a 13-10 lead when senior wide receiver Jeremy Duncan (Cincinnati/Moeller) scored on a 13-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Jensen Gebhardt (Kings Mills, OH/Kings) and Budke added the PAT with 10:13 to play in the second quarter. 

Senior wide receiver Goose Cohorn (Independence/Dixie Heights) returned a punt 80-yard for a touchdown and Budke made the PAT as the Saints increased the lead to 20-10 with 7:42 to play in the second quarter.  Wabash’s Tutsie made a 26-yard field goal with 1:22 to play in the second quarter and the Saints’ lead was cut to 20-13.  Thomas More extended the lead to 27-13 at halftime when sophomore quarterback Brenan Kuntz (Independence/Simon Kenton) connected on a 28-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Tyler Vogelpohl (Cincinnati/LaSalle) and Budke added the PAT with 43-second to play in the half.

Wabash cut the lead to 27-16 with 11:20 to play in the third quarter when Tutsie made a 28-yard field goal.

With 8:25 to play in the fourth quarter Zureck scored on a 31-yard touchdown pass from Connor Rice and the two-point conversion was good as Wabash cut the lead to 27-24.  Tutsie tied the game at 27-27 when he made a 24-yard field goal with 55-seconds to play in the game.

On the Saints’ possession in overtime, Wabash’s Ethan Buresch returned a Thomas More fumble 75-yards for a touchdown and a 33-27 victory.

Kuntz was eight-of-17 passing for 121 yards and a touchdown and Gebhardt was nine-of-13 passing for 101 yards.  Tarrant carried the ball 28 times for 88 yards and a touchdown.  Duncan led the receiving corps with five catches for 83 yard and a touchdown, while Vogelpohl had five catches for 58 yards and a touchdown and Cohorn finished the game with five catches for 46 yards.

Freshman defensive back Brandon Neal (Cincinnati/Lakota West) led the defense with 10 tackles (eight solo, two assisted), including one sack.  Sophomore defensive back Johnny Lammers (Cincinnati/Elder) had nine tackles (eight solo, one assisted) and one interception, junior defensive lineman Rodderick Darden (Denver, GA/Heritage) finished with seven tackles (six solo, one assisted) and junior linebacker Austin Copeland (Cincinnati/Kings) had seven tackles (five solo, two assisted) and had one fumble recovery and two interceptions.

-Staff report

Photo provided