By: Ross Laorenza
St. Thomas Aquinas put on a dominant performance Saturday with a 31-12 win over Souhegan. Tim Bouchard led the way for the Saints catching two touchdowns and nabbing an interception on defense.
"I think we came out pretty strong, which is good," said Bouchard. "We came out swinging. We always want to be the ones to get the first hit."
Dan Evans ran the offense well after coming into replace injured starting QB Shawn Dekorne early in the 2nd quarter.
The Saint's defense led by Gavin Scoon and Cameron Goodell clamped down on the Sabers running attack all game. With their team leading early in the second they came up with a fumble recovery in the end zone for a Saint's touchdown. The defense forced 8 turnovers in the game (4 fumbles, 2 INTs, 2 turnovers-on-down).
"For us to have to replace what we've had to replace offensively, the defense needs to keep us in games," said Coach Eric Cumba. "Our defensive front seven has been dominant the last few weeks."
A Nick Guilfuchi field goal would put St. Thomas up 17-0 midway through the 2nd quarter. After a few possessions stalled for both team Souhegan was driving at their own 26, but an errant pass was picked off by Aidan Crisp and gave the ball back to St. Thomas at the 15. A false start would back the Saints up 5, but it wouldn't kill the drive. With 19 seconds to go in the half, Evans connected with Bouchard for a 20 touchdown reception. St. Thomas headed into the locker room up 24-0.
Souhegan got a spark from Dante Savo when he returned the second half kickoff all the way down to the Saint's 16 yard line. David Labonte would pick up a crucial third and long on the ground and then Savo powered it in from the 3. Touchdown Souhegan. They would go for 2, but the conversion failed. St. Thomas countered on the ensuing drive and killed any momentum the Sabers were building. Peter Lampesis bulldozed through the d-line and out ran the secondary for a 43 yard touchdown run.
Both teams stayed committed to their running attacks which really chewed away at the clock. St. Thomas drove deep into Souhegan territory with just under 7 minutes to play, but their drive stalled and the the field goal attempt by Guilfuchi pulled left. The only other scoring action came with the game well in hand. Andersen Geffrard, subbing for an injured Palmer Belowski, threw a beautiful pass to Dylan Amadon with 15 second remaining. The extra point was no good, leaving our final score; St Thomas: 31, Souhegan: 12.
It was an impressive win for the Saints who are looking to defend their D-II crown this year. They have a lot of injuries to overcome and the status of starter Shawn Dekorne was still unknown after the game. They play next on Friday in Kennett (2-1). Souhegan will face another tough opponent in the Windham Jaguars (3-0).
From Dover, Ross Laorenza: New Hampshire Notebook