After a fairly even game throughout the first half, an offensive onslaught by the St. Thomas Aquinas running attack left no doubt who the better team was on Friday.
With nearly 500 team rushing yards, Aquinas made its stamp on the Eastern Kansas League with a 35-13 victory over Blue Valley, which included 28 unanswered points.
It started with James Cosentino, who set the tone with 150 rushing yards and a touchdown. He’s not the biggest guy on the depth chart, but he runs with authority into an oncoming defense.
“He makes the best looking four yard runs,” Saints coach Randy Dreiling said. “Every play he touches the ball, there’s a chance he’s going to make that first down.”
Cosentino has been slowly moving toward his best form after suffering an injury. It appears he is now peaking at the right time.
“It’s been a tough road, but I’m trying to get better each week and get out their for my guys,” Cosentino said.
Next it was Sam Ramaekers, who stole the show early in the second half. He blew by everyone for a 57-yard run, giving the Saints a 14-13 lead in the third quarter. Ramaekers finished with 116 rushing yards.
And finally the explosiveness of Duron Lowe made a huge difference. Lowe, who also played defensive back, continued to shift quickly and use his speed to get to the edge. He broke a few tackles in a third-quarter run and then bolted past Tiger defenders for 68-yard scamper.
“We have a lot of different gears,” Dreiling said of his rushing attack. “He just brings a spectacular dimension.”
Facilitating all of these players is Karter Odermann. After a tough first half, the senior quarterback made solid reads in the option attack and managed to sneak two touchdowns in himself.
“It’s due to everybody around me,” Odermann said. “The coaches making the right calls and the line blocking around me. It’s easy to do my job when those guys are making plays.”
Along with the variety of backs, the play of the offensive line could not be overlooked. Each player mentioned that and it was easy to see as the Saints controlled the pace of play.
“Offensive line did great, give all the credit to them, Cosentino said. “We’ve been working hard all and it’s great to pull out this win.”
Another group that scratched and clawed all night was the defense. Shutting out the Tigers in the second half is no easy task, but when Aquinas needed it they came up with big stops.
“If you hold those guys out of the end zone that’s a pretty good half for our defense,” Dreiling said.
Blue Valley showed some of their patented offense early. Colton McCumber led his team down the field twice including a wonderful 7-yard fade pass to one of his favorite targets Gus Gomez.
He also rushed for nearly 100 yards of his own for tonight. But Aquinas’ physicality proved to be too much for the Tigers.
With two straight losses, they must regroup quickly to make a run at the Kansas Class 6A state playoffs.
“We had great energy and great emotion in the first half, and the second half they were more physical then we were,” Blue Valley coach Eric Driskell said. “We’ve got to fix that and play for four quarters.”
After a major win for Aquinas it’s now time to be motivated for district play.
“We’re going harder into this week and then gain more momentum,” Dreiling said.