Despite valiant effort, Eagles drop season opener to jebbies 31-26


by Mitchell Austin
Eagle Editorial Board

The varsity football team is ready to make some noise.

After finishing 6-5 to complete the first winning record in the regular season coach of Donald Hollas’s tenure. The season, however, began with the disappointing loss to Strake Jesuit Saturday night at Tully Stadium, 26-31.

The Crusaders struck first with a field goal and touchdown to give them a 10-0 lead with 9:15 left in the second quarter.

After the strong Eagle defense forced a fumble, junior quarterback Justin Sebo hooked up with senior wide receiver Trevor Lewis for the first touchdown of the night, bringing the score to 10-6. The defense did not allow Jesuit to score in the remainder of the half.

As the second half began, turnovers and mental mistakes led to Jesuit taking a strong lead. The situation did not look good for the Eagles as senior captain Nick Rossi went out with an injury. The score was at 31-6 with 3:03 left in the third quarter, and the Eagles needed someone to step up and spark a comeback.

Junior Cavan Biggio put the team on his back and took an 80 yard pass from Sebo to the endzone for an explosive touchdown.

The Eagle defense, led by seniors Eric Martin and Cameron Blackwood, stood tall and shut out the Crusaders the rest of the night.

The Eagles came together and began to rally as Sebo found Sophomore Doug Sauter for another touchdown pass, bringing the score to 31-19 with 9:14 left in the game.

The defense forced two more punts and Sebo took the Eagles down to the six yard line. Sebo’s pass deflected off a Jesuit players’ helmet and was recovered by Strake. The cause seemed lost by the Eagles until the defense stepped up again.

Senior Jonathan Cohen forced a fumble on the Jesuit 12 yard line, allowing Sebo to throw his fourth touchdown pass of the night to senior David Rizzo. The score was now 31-26 with 1:42 left in the game.

The Eagles on-side kick attempt failed and Jesuit recovered the ball and ran the clock out to win the game.

Although the Eagles lost, this game was the first time in many years St. Thomas was even in the game against Jesuit. This football team will be strong all year and faces Episcopal this Friday, Sept. 2 at home on Hotze Field. It is payback time for the knights, who defeated St. Thomas in an embarrassing fashion last year.

“It’s important to understand this is one game, and that doesn’t make or break our season,” Cohen said. “We’re focused on Episcopal now, and we’re gonna light it up Friday night.”

Stars on defense included seniors Martin, Miles Lerch, Cohen and Mac Cady. Martin and Cady made plays all night with many tackles for losses. Strake quarterback Tyler Schiro bought himself a one way ticket to Lerch Island in the second quarter and Max James had an interception as well.

Sebo completed 24 out of 48 passes for 316 yards. Biggio caught nine receptions for 172 yards, and Rizzo hauled in four catches for 44 yards.

“We’re more fired up than ever,” Martin said. “We’re ready to make some noise.GATA all day, everyday.”