Photos by Aaron Reiss
By Andrew McCulloch
The Eagles entered Friday night looking for a rebound win against the Crusaders of Concordia Lutheran. The Crusaders, who just joined TAPPS 3-5A this year, met the Eagles for the first time ever as district opponents.
By the end of the night, St. Thomas had yet another commanding win, beating the Crusaders 35-7. The result of this game was really never in question, as the Eagles were simply too much to handle.
The Eagles got on the board first, thanks to a two-yard touchdown run by junior Andre Pradia midway through the first quarter. After a lull for much of the first half, St. Thomas struck again on a one-yard touchdown run by junior Christopher Zook with nine minutes remaining in the half.
The game really started to get out of hand for the Crusaders two minutes later after a 53 yard touchdown pass from junior Michael Reul to fellow junior Doug Sauter to push the lead to 21-0. Concordia Lutheran struggled to fight back, but managed to score on a 35 yard touchdown run minutes later.
But the Eagles were not done putting on their offensive clinic just yet. They managed to find the end zone again seconds before the half as senior Ronnie Ellison made a 20 yard touchdown grab.
The Eagles carried a commanding 28-7 lead into halftime and never looked back.
After senior Jacquelyn Carrabba of St. Agnes Academy was crowned this year’s Homecoming Queen by student body president Greg Hoffman, the second half got underway.
The Eagles managed to coast through much of the second half, scoring one last time on a 42 yard touchdown run by Pradia seven minutes into the fourth.
Reul had another phenomenal game at quarterback, leading the team to victory behind his 237 yards passing and two touchdowns, completing 16 of 26 pass attempts. He seems to be improving with every game and the team will need it in order to make a deep run once the playoffs arrive.
Pradia and Zook anchored another solid rushing performance, gaining 65 and 72 yards on the ground respectively. Zook had a successful night catching the ball as well, racking up 120 receiving yards and a touchdown.
The offense put up a spectacular 408 total yards and never once turned the ball over, a first for the Eagles this season.
The defense played great as well, picking up where they left off against St. Pius a week ago. The Crusader offense was held to a measly 164 total yards and was forced to punt six times. The airtight pass defense continued, as Concordia Lutheran quarterback Colby Holler threw for 26 yards and an interception on just two of nine passing, making this the single worst game of his career.
The Eagle defense has allowed 100 yards passing in a game only once this season.
The Crusaders were stifled on the ground too, gaining 138 yards on the ground on 44 carries.
The Eagle defense also forced a season high four fumbles.
The Eagles improved their record to 5-1 and moved up in the district standings to second. St Thomas will host winless Beaumont Kelly next Friday for reunion weekend and should be heading for yet another blowout victory.