Aquinas rallies past Blue Valley Northwest
By Matt Gerstner PrepsKC staff writer
The wind and the rain dominated the field at St. Thomas Aquinas High School Friday night, dousing any fire the visiting Blue Valley Northwest or the host Saints could hope to start on offense.
But late in the fourth quarter down by three, the Saints would strike the flint one more time. And in the end, Aquinas would get the win 10-6 in a blaze of glory in the first game of Eastern Kansas League action.
After being shutout in the first half by the Huskies, the Saints would use an early field goal and an 86-yard drive to earn the win in a torrential downpour.
“I was just telling our guys to stay together and get this last drive in, and they came together when it counted,” Aquinas head coach Mike Thomas said. “We weren’t really prepared for the elements, but I’m proud of the guys and how they didn’t give up all night.”
Blue Valley Northwest would break the goose egg first in the opening quarter. The Huskies would punt from their own endzone, but the Saints muffed the punt after it sailed with the wind, and Northwest recovered at the Aquinas 27. Seven plays later, Reed Coda would pound it in from three yards out (the extra point would be botched), giving the Huskies the 6-0 lead.
Northwest would carry the lead into the second half, but their luck would turn after fumbling on the first play of the half. Aquinas would recover and cut the lead in half with a 26-yard field goal by Derek Rodgers.
The Saints and Huskies both showed flashes on offense, but none could add to their total. But with 5:32 left in the game with the wind and the rain in their face, Aquinas got one more chance.
After running back Joel Edwards reeled off a 22-yard run and the Huskies were assessed two personal foul penalties, quarterback Austin Scherzer would complete his second pass of the drive, this time to Danten Cosentino from 12 yards out to take the lead for the Saints. Scherzer would finish nine of 17 for 60 yards and a score.
Aquinas would have to hold the Huskies for 2:31 to secure the win.
“We were just saying no big plays, no big plays,” Saints’ defensive back Austin Moses said. “And our defense stepped up.”
A couple of completed passes would keep the Huskies’ hopes alive, but only briefly, as two failed fourth-down conversions would give the Saints the win.
“That’s probably the best game of my life,” Moses said. “We just came together as a team, as a family, and we pulled through.”
Thomas credited his defense with securing the win.
“If you look up defense in the dictionary, it describes it as a team, for example a football team,” he said with a wink. “If you play defense together as a unit, you’re going to be successful.”
As for head coach Mike Zegunis’ Huskies, they’ll go back to the drawing board and hopefully drier weather next week against Blue Valley West, who start their EKL slate against Northwest.
“Well we played well all the way up until the end. I just think our defense wore down from being out there so much,” he explained. “It’s hard in these elements to be as balanced as we’d like to be. But I’m proud of how our guys battled until the end.
“But I have to tip my cap to Aquinas. To get a score with the wind and rain in their face from 86 yards out, that’s a tough team.”
Aquinas will host Blue Valley Southwest next week.
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