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Photo Credit: Jeff Stead/PrepsKC

Even after scoring on the second play from scrimmage, St. Pius X senior Tommy Hoambrecker knew he and his teammates couldn’t afford to let up. Not with the season on the line. 

A relentless Warriors’ squad fought off Richmond, 41-22, during the first round of the Class 3 District 8 Tournament. St. Pius X started strong and finished stronger, setting up a rematch against Maryvillle in next week’s district semifinals.

Early on, it appeared as if the Warriors (5-5) might coast to victory after Hoambrecker scampered 65 yards on the second play of the game. They scored twice more in the second quarter and built a 20-0 lead, but Pius’ senior quarterback never got ahead of himself.

“That was pretty big, but I knew it was going to be a long game,” Hoambrecker said. “They came to play, and they fought back.”

Sure enough, Richmond (4-6) struck back thanks to the explosiveness of senior Trevon Alexander, who reeled in a 34-yard score and set up a McCauley Bowers touchdown with another lengthy catch-and-run. Suddenly, the Trojans were within one score, 20-14, at halftime.

“Alexander is a phenomenal athlete, and he’s the kind of guy that can beat you 1-on-1. He’s the kind of guy that can beat you 2- or 3-on-1,” St. Pius X coach Rick Byers said. “We knew we needed to shore that up a little bit and make sure he didn’t hurt us.”

Pius forced a defensive stop on the opening possession of the second half, and then Hoambrecker found Ben Wade with an arcing pass that put the Warriors’ in control once again. Another scoring strike to Joey Lynch extended Pius’ lead and put the team in control for good.

Hoambrecker finished with 130 rushing yards and two rushing TDs to go with 124 passing yards. He had a hand in five of Pius’ six touchdowns and said the team’s balanced attack, including 89 rushing yards and a rushing TD from Will Brockman, made the difference.

“I think running the ball early is great. It sets up the passing game really nice and balances out really well,” Hoambrecker said.

Pius also created a slew of turnovers, finishing with five takeaways in all. Lynch snagged a couple of interceptions, and Byers said he was glad to see a stout defensive effort leading to begin postseason play.

“It’s definitely something we’ve been working on,” Byers said. “We talk a lot about getting turnovers and those kinds of things. The kids are starting to come into their own at just about the right time.”

Alexander netted 116 receiving yards for Richmond on just three receptions, along with 20 rushing yards, while quarterback D’Tanyon Maxwell threw for 155 yards and two touchdowns in addition to 67 rushing yards.