It was a circus-like atmosphere on Saturday night at St. Thomas Aquinas High School. It was the first game in program history played under the lights, it was homecoming, there was a TON of fans in attendance. They were tailgating and had 'The Holy Grill' going in the parking lot and they were there to see St. Thomas put their undefeated record on the line.
Once the game got started however it was complete domination, as the Saints rolled to a 44-6 win over Stevens High. Offense, defense and special teams, St. Thomas dominated in all 3 phases of the game, and showed why they are the team to beat in Division V.
It was a team effort for St. Thomas. QB Scott Munroe threw for 133 yards and 2 touchdowns. David Rogers had 53 total yards and scored 3 touchdowns and also intercepted a pass on defense. Ryan Monette had 88 yards rushing, 30 yards receiving, 74 yards on punt/kickoff returns and he also made some hard hits on defense. Andrew Kahr caught a TD pass on offense, and on defense he intercepted 2 passes, including one where he ran it 41 yards on the return. And how about kicker/punter Hayden Middleton, who was 3/3 on field goals, connecting from 38 yards away and a pair of 37 yard field goals. Middleton was also 5/5 on extra points and did a great job on punts and kickoffs of pinning Stevens deep in their own end.
"In my opinion Hayden is the best player on our team" said St. Thomas first-year head coach Eric Cumba. "The kicking game is so underrated, and he changed the game so much with what he gives us making kicks and with field position. He made a 50 yard field goal in warm ups, and he's only a sophomore."
Field position played a big role in the win for STA, as they were consistently starting drives deep inside Stevens territory while Stevens was consistently starting drives deep in their own end.
As good as St. Thomas was in this game, they still have things to work on - mainly penalties.
"We had 3 touchdowns that were called back, and that just can't happen" explained Cumba. "That shows a lack of discipline on our part, and is my fault."
STA scored early and often. Less than 8 minutes into the game and they were already up 17-0 on a Stevens team which is still playing without star QB Logan Batchelder who is out for the year with a broken leg. In addition to Monette, Rogers and Kahr, also playing well defensively for the Saints was Andy Johnson, Tom Cifrino, Peter Yarosewick, Ryan Geppart, Andrew Fallon and Luke Devaney.
"Kahr is a tough kid and one of our more underrated players" said Coach Cumba, who played his college football at the University of New Hampshire. "We don't have many guys who play both sides of the ball but he's one of them. He also plays special teams too, I feel pretty comfortable having him out there the whole game."
For Stevens, junior tailback Cam Blewitt (one of the state's leading rushers) ran for 93 yards and also had a 35 yard kickoff return. He's a big kid who runs hard and is a tough competitor.