A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Thomas More football faces big challenge on Saturday in home opener against UW-Platteville

By Don Owen
NKyTribune reporter

The scoreboard operator and statistics crew at Thomas More College could be very busy on Saturday when the Saints play host to Wisconsin-Platteville at noon in a football showdown at BB&T Field.

Consider that Wisconsin-Platteville opened its season with a 59-44 win at East Texas Baptist on Aug. 30. The Pioneers shredded the East Texas Baptist defense for 567 total yards and rallied from a 37-17 halftime deficit by scoring 35 points in the third quarter.

Wisconsin-Platteville wide receiver Donald Allender (7) hauled in eight receptions for 140 yards in the win at East Texas Baptist on Aug. 30.

Wisconsin-Platteville running backs Sean Studer (124 yards) and Bo Babich (104 yards) each rushed for more than 100 yards in that game, and quarterback Colin Schuetz passed for 344 yards and a touchdown. The Pioneers offense totaled 331 yards in the second half to key the come-from-behind win.

Schuetz’s favorite target is 6-foot-7, 224-pound wide receiver Donald Allender, who hauled in eight receptions for 140 yards in the win at East Texas Baptist. Babich scored four touchdowns on the ground, including a 50-yarder in the fourth quarter that sealed the win at East Texas Baptist.

On the defensive side, however, Wisconsin-Platteville surrendered more than 500 yards of total offense to East Texas Baptist. The Pioneers struggled to contain East Texas Baptist quarterback Brian Baca, who threw for 329 yards and three touchdowns. Baca also rushed for 52 yards and a touchdown.

Wisconsin-Platteville (1-0) enters Saturday’s contest ranked No. 16 nationally in the NCAA Division III poll. The Pioneers, who posted a 7-3 record last season, are members of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

Thomas More is 1-1 after posting a 27-18 win at Hanover last Saturday. Hjavier Pitts rushed for 140 yards and two touchdowns as the Saints gave head coach Trevor Stellman his first career victory.

Luke Zajac added 112 yards on the ground for Thomas More, which finished with 487 yards of total offense. Quarterback Justin Post was 19-of-31 passing for 207 yards, and he added eight rushes for 28 yards and two touchdowns.

Hjavier Pitts leads Thomas More with 271 rushing yards and three touchdowns.

Pitts leads Thomas More with 271 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Post has thrown for 445 yards and two touchdowns.

Thomas More enters Saturday averaging 461 yards of total offense and 27.5 points per game. The Saints are allowing 416 yards per contest and 26.6 points per game.

A year ago, Thomas More posted a 4-2 record at home. This will mark the first-ever meeting between Thomas More and Wisconsin-Platteville on the gridiron.

EYEING THE MID-SOUTH: Thomas More is playing as an NCAA Division III independent this season before joining the NAIA in 2019. The Saints will also become members of the Mid-South Conference, which includes a number of outstanding football programs.

In fact, six Mid-South Conference teams are nationally ranked in the NAIA this week. Lindsey Wilson (Ky.), Reinhardt (Ga.), Georgetown (Ky.), Cumberlands (Ky.), Southeastern (Fla.) and Bethel (Tenn.) are each ranked in this week’s NAIA top 25 poll.

Lindsey Wilson is the highest-rated team in the Mid-South Conference at No. 4 in the NAIA national poll. The Blue Raiders (2-0) are averaging 47 points per game.

Reinhardt is ranked No. 7 in the NAIA, while Georgetown (No. 9), Cumberlands (No. 17), Southeastern (18) and Bethel (19) are also in the national poll.

SAINTS VOLLEYBALL REMAINS PERFECT: The Thomas More volleyball team remained unbeaten (9-0) with a sweep of Hanover (25-15, 26-24, 25-18) on Wednesday night at the Connor Convocation Center in Crestview Hills.

Emily Mohs (10 kills, .364 hitting percentage) and Julia Popova (seven kills, .455 hitting percentage) led the Saints, who are ranked No. 14 nationally in the NCAA Division III poll. Jenna Fessler finished with 15 assists, two aces and nine digs for Thomas More.

Thomas More travels to Springfield, Ohio, this weekend to play in the Wittenberg Tournament. The Saints meet Mary Washington (Va.) at 2 p.m. Friday to open that event, and later take on Heidelberg at 6 p.m.

TMC MEN’S SOCCER COLLECTS ROAD WIN: The Thomas More men’s soccer team posted a 3-1 win at Anderson (Ind.) on Wednesday night.

Suli Kayed gave the Saints a 1-0 lead in the 20th minute when he scored off an assist from Mark McAulay. Five minutes later, Ethan Smith found the back of the net off a Kayed cross to extend the Thomas More lead to 2-0.

Smith added another goal late in the first half to give the Saints a 3-0 cushion, and the visitors cruised to the road triumph. Thomas More extended its winning streak to three and improved to 4-1-1. Anderson fell to 3-2-1.

Thomas More plays hosts to Kenyon at 4 p.m. Saturday at BB&T Field. That contest will follow the Thomas More football game. Kenyon (4-0-1) is ranked No. 8 nationally in the NCAA Division III poll.

Contact Don Owen at don@nkytrib.com and follow him on Twitter at @dontribunesport

Related Posts

Leave a Comment