By Trent Friedel, exclusive to the Times
Gray skies clear up for Saint Mary’s on homecoming as the weather is abated in a rout of the visiting Block Bears. Saint Mary’s was looking to right the ship against a Block Bears team that has struggled as of late. The Tigers won the coin toss, elected to receive and immediately go on a six play 62 yard drive that culminates with Parker Bankston connecting with Graeme Fidelak in the end zone for the first score of the game. The Haitian sensation remains true to form and punches the PAT through for an early 7 – 0 lead.
Saint Mary’s defense yields no progress to the Bears after the kick and forces a turn over on downs. Saint Mary’s takes over with good field position on the Bear 46. The Tigers take advantage of the good fortune and score a couple of plays later on a flying leap into the end zone by Bankston. PAT is good off the toe of Emerson Rodriguez, Tigers 14 Bears 0.
The Tiger’s would inherit good field position on the punt from Block as the Tiger defense is tenacious in the trenches. After scoring on their first two possessions, the Tigers have to punt to the Bears. The punt off the toe of Bankston is downed deep in Bear territory on the 1 yard line. The Tigers have become proficient at pinning opponents deep in their own territory. The first quarter ends with the Bears facing third and 11 from the one. The Bears escape on the fast feet of quarterback Kenneth Davis. Saint Mary’s defense will allow no additional movement of the down markers and punt to the Tigers.
Saint Mary’s only needs two plays to score again. The first is a pass from Bankston to Tate Nelson for a nice gain up the left sideline. The scoring play is a 33 yard run off left tackle by Fidelak behind solid blocking. Rodriguez adds the point after and the score is Tigers 21, Bears 0 with 8 minutes remaining in the first half of play. Block receives the ensuing kick and goes three and out punting to Saint Mary’s. The snap to the punter is high and he gets off a moon shot kick that re-enters the atmosphere and lands on about the 27 yard line.
Saint Mary’s only needs two plays to reach pay dirt again. Bankston connects with Nelson for about 15 yards on a well executed pass play. The following play has Bankston handing off to Jasen Ellie who goes 11 yards on the ground to score off left tackle. Rodriguez is true to form and the score stands at 28-0 with about half of the clock showing before half time. Block receives the ball and repeats their previous success of three and out punting to Saint Mary’s. The Tigers continue to enjoy stellar field position, this time starting at the Block 45. The Tigers drive to the Bear 10 before they are unable to convert on fourth and four. Block takes over on downs.
I think you know the story by now, Block punts back to Saint Mary’s. Nelson receives the kick on a short hop at the Bear 35 and goes the distance to the end zone for the Tiger score. Rodriguez’s PAT attempt is good and the Tigers have a commanding lead of 35-0 with only 17 seconds on the clock before half time.
Saint Mary’s kicks off to Block to start the second half. The Bears are smothered by the intensity of the Tiger defense and turn the ball over at the 25 yard line. I think you know what happens next. The Tigers score on a nine yard pass from Bankston to Austin Vienne and Rodriguez adds the extra point. SMH 42 – 0. Block takes over on offense and things continue to go bad. Jasen Elie intercepts a pass from Davis and Saint Mary’s has the ball at the Bear 40 yard line. Vienne runs with intensity on the third play from scrimmage 40 plus yards to the end zone. Rodriguez remains perfect at the kick duties and the Tigers lead 49 to 0 with a running clock. Saint Mary’s kicks off to Block and the Bear’s repeat the three and out.
Saint Mary’s fumbles on the second play and that gives Block their best field position of the night. The Bear’s have the ball at the Tiger 32 yard line and cough the ball up to the Tigers when Luke Gallien intercepts a pass at the 10. Andrew Godfrey takes over at the offensive helm and executes the offense to perfection. He takes the team 90 yards and scores on a 30 yard run with less than a minute on the clock. Rodriguez adds the extra point and the Tigers cruise to a 56 – 0 win over Block to start district play. The homecoming win was celebrated by the team homecoming court alumni from those classes ending in eight.
Most notable in attendance were members of the class of 1978 who won a State Championship their senior year.
Saint Mary’s will continue district play on the road this Friday against LaSalle.