Aquinas survives late Miege rally for win

Laynie Timmons/PrepsKC Student Intern

By Matt Mitchell PrepsKC Staff Writer
Posted: October 2, 2010 - 10:05 AM

Max Shortell and the Bishop Miege Stags almost completed a spectacular comeback in the fourth quarter Friday night against their rival St. Thomas Aquinas. But the Saints held on for a 31-26 victory in the EKL matchup.

Down 28-7 at half and 31-13 in the fourth quarter, the senior quarterback brought the Stags (2-3) to the brink of victory.

Shortell was 20-32 passing with 352 yards and three scores passing for Miege. He also added a rushing touchdown. But it was his shaky start that hurt the Stags' chances.

Shortell fumbled deep in his own territory on Miege's second possession. Kyle Colnar recovered for the Saints on Miege's 8 yard line. Dagan Reed ran it in on the next play to make it 14-0 with 8:43 to play in the first quarter.

Aquinas' first two possessions accounted for two touchdowns on only 46 yards.

After a three and out on the first drive of the game, Shortell's punt traveled only 17 yards to Miege's own 38 yard line. Shortell was punting because senior punter/wideout Chris Aguilar was out for the game. He was missed for Miege, both on special teams and in the passing game.

Two plays after the short punt, Aquinas quarterback Richard Davila hit Clayton Henning for a 27 yard score.

“We made some mistakes in the first half,” Shortell said. “It cost us.”

Davila had 168 yards and two scores passing to go along with 80 yards rushing to lead the Saints (5-0) to the big first half lead.

“They came to us,” Davila said. “Our next couple of games are going to be like that. We needed it.”

Aquinas also had a touchdown run by Andrew Gittemeier and a scoring strike from Davila to Reed in the first half.

Kyle Kane intercepted Shortell in his own endzone with 1:03 to play to preserve the 28-7 halftime score. Shortell overthrew his receiver on the play, something that had become a pattern in the first half.

But not in the second. Shortell was 12-15 for 245 yards and two scores in the second half alone.

The Stags, who were flat in the first half, came out fired up in the second.

“We had some things we thought we could take advantage of,” Shortell said, “and we did in the second half.”

Davila fumbled on the first drive of the second half. Miege recovered on the 42 yard line of Aquinas.

Shortell wasted no time making Aquinas pay. He hit Stanton Weber for 42 yards to make it 28-13.

After a Jonathan Pyle 38 yardfield goal made it 31-13, Miege took over.

Weber intercepted Davila with 10:20 to play. That led to Shortell's third touchdown pass, a 16 yard middle screen to running back Mark Thorson to make it 31-19.

Bishop Miege Head Coach Tim Grunhard called an onside kick. Miege recovered, and the homecoming crowd, which hadn't been involved to that point, came alive.

Shortell hit Nick Taylor for 39 yards on the next play, and would run it in himself from the one yard line to make it 31-26 with 5:25 to play.

Miege would get one last chance to take the lead. After a three-and-out, the Stags took over on their own 10 yard line. Later in the drive, on fourth and 10, Shortell would show pass, but instead punted the ball.

The play looked like pass/punt option, but Shortell said the call from the sidelines was a punt all the way.

“He said to punt it,” Shortell said, “Probably a questionable call, but we expected our defense to step up and make a stop. We held them to three points the second half, so we expected them to stop them.”

Aquinas took over with 1:51 to play. Reed ran three times for a first down, and Aquinas could go into victory formation.

Bishop Miege can move on from the toughest three games on their schedule. They play Blue Valley West next Friday. Aquinas hosts Webb City next week before taking on Blue Valley and Gardner-Edgerton back-to-back.