St. Thomas More pulls away to down Holy Cross in opener, 28-7

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NEW ORLEANS – The Holy Cross Tigers appeared to be rattling the cage early Friday night at Yulman Stadium. They held a 7-0 lead against last years Division II state runner up, St. Thomas More, and appeared to be moving the ball and capitalizing on the Cougars mistakes.

Unfortunately for the Tigers, games last four quarters.

St. Thomas More’s defense helped hold off Holy Cross’ talented passing game and smothered their rushing attack to the tune of 3 sacks, 2 interceptions and some impressive red zone stands. That enabled thir offense to take their time getting things going, leading to the Cougars claiming a 28-7 victory.

The Tigers (0-1) managed to score the first points of the game after junior linebacker Aiden Patcheco intercepted Cougars quarterback Caleb Holstein. That allowed quarterback John Dade Wooten to complete a 27 yard touchdown pass to Alondre Wells, setting up Jaden Handy to punch the ball in form 3 yards out to put the Tigers on top early. The Holy Cross offense wouldn’t be able to do much the rest of the night, partially because of a Cougars run stuffing defense that held the Tigers to just 3 rushing yards on the evening.

“We scheduled (St, Thomas More) to see where we are and what we need to improve on,” said second year head coach Guy LeCompte. “If I had a chance to schedule them again I would. They have great sportsmanship, they’re a well-coached team they play hard and it gives us a chance to get better.”

The Cougars (1-0) finally got their offense started in the second quarter after a sloppy beginning. St. Thomas More committed 3 turnovers in the opening quarter, including two interceptions by Holstein. They got things turned around following a blocked punt by Beau Moncla which gave them excellent field position. Following that play, Holstein found Jack Bech from 31 yards out to postion Noah Frederick to go in for the game tying three-yard touchdown run.

Holstein threw two touchdown passes the rest of the game, one to Bech from 4 yards out and the other to Jean-Luc Lemoine from ten yards out to give the Cougars a two score lead. Holstein finished 28 of 43 for 240 yards with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.

The final score for the Cougars came with just 2 seconds left when Josh Stevenson returned his interception of Wooten 65 yards for a touchdown, icing the game when it was already too late.

“This was a really good first week game,” said St. Thomas More head coach James Hightower. “I’m really proud of our kids but I’ve got a lot of respect for the Holy Cross Tigers. We’ve got to keep working but that’s what a tough game early on like this gives you the opportunity to do.”

Holy Cross next travels to face Covington while St. Thomas More will face off against Barbe at home.

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