The Tommies amassed a season-high 503 yards of total offense Saturday as the team destroyed the Concordia-Moorhead Cobbers 56-7 at Palmer Field.
Five different players scored touchdowns for the Tommies Saturday. Junior quarterback Dakota Tracy said that many players contributed to Saturday’s win.
“This was a team effort in [what is] a team game. It’s a great team game and it makes it all that much better,” Tracy said.
The Tommies had a strong opening drive but couldn’t convert it to points when the team missed a field goal after driving down to the Cobbers’ 4-yard line.
But an impressive punt return by junior Fritz Waldvogel after a Concordia three-and-out put the Tommies in excellent field position and led to the Tommies’ first score: a 2-yard touchdown run by junior running back Colin Tobin near the end of the first quarter.
Tracy said the Tommies wanted to score early on.
“We knew that we had to jump on them as soon as possible,” Tracy said. “Then we started to move the ball, and everything started to click after that.”
Midway through the second quarter, the Tommies struck again on an 8-yard touchdown pass from junior Dakota Tracy to junior wide receiver Ricky Margarit.
Later in the quarter, junior quarterback Greg Morse threw a 41-yard touchdown pass to freshman wide receiver Dan Noehring, who scored his first touchdown as a Tommie.
“They were giving us a lot of deep shots, and we took advantage of those,” said coach Glenn Caruso.
On the ensuing drive, senior linebacker Zach Sturm stripped Cobbers quarterback Nate Schaefbauer for a fumble, which was recovered by Ervin in Cobber territory. Waldvogel had an 11-yard touchdown run following the turnover to increase the Tommies’ lead to 28-0.
With less than two minutes left in the half, Tracy connected with Margarit again, this time on a 56-yard touchdown pass to pad the Tommies’ lead.
Ervin recovered another fumble on the Cobbers’ next possession.
Junior quarterback Greg Morse was intercepted by Concordia’s Luke Hvidston at the goal line with a little over a minute left in the first half, but the Cobbers couldn’t muster any points before halftime.
The Tommies’ defense continued to play strong in the second half. Halfway through the third quarter junior linebacker Mike Valesano returned an interception 56 yards for a touchdown. This was the Tommies’ third defensive touchdown this year.
“The defense came out in the second half and really set the tone,” Caruso said. “We weren’t giving up touchdowns, or even many first downs. We got off the field relatively well.”
The Tommie defense gave up only 167 yards of total offense to the Cobbers.
Fritz Waldvogel caught a 26-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter, his second of the game. He finished with 89 receiving yards.
The Cobbers struggled to move the ball the entire game, and could not penetrate the stingy St. Thomas defense, which forced five turnovers and allowed only 10 Concordia first downs. In the fourth quarter, the Cobbers lost a fumble for the third time in the game on a punt return, this time with junior Kyle Boughner recovering.
“When you have a defense like that who can put you in [good] situations, it takes a lot of pressure off the offense,” Tracy said. “They were definitely the backbone of our team early in the game today and our offense fed off of that.”
The Tommies quickly scored on a 43-yard run by sophomore running back Garrett Engelhardt, his first touchdown as a Tommie.
“We want our second and third guys in to keep the momentum going,” Ervin said. “It helps for next year, showing confidence that these guys can play.”
Midway through the fourth quarter, the Tommies fumbled the ball away to Concordia, leading to a touchdown run for the Cobbers. But at that point the game was already in hand for St. Thomas, and few Tommie starters were still playing.
Margarit had 89 receiving yards and a touchdown. Engelhardt led the way on the ground with 96 yards rushing with a TD.
The Cobbers starting quarterback Michael Dunham was injured and did not appear in today’s game. Junior Nate Schaefbauer and freshman Colin Erickson each played quarterback for Concordia in Dunham’s absence, but had little success against the Tommie defense.
The Tommies were also dealing with injuries as they had to play without All-American running back Ben Wartman for the second straight game. The Tommies have scored 105 points in his absence.
“Ben is a great running back and a great contribution to our offense,” Tracy said. “But when you have guys that can step in, it just shows the depth of the team and it makes it a lot more fun to cheer them on.”
St. Thomas will get ready for its big game against rival St. John’s (3-1) next Saturday. The game begins at 1 p.m. Saturday in Collegeville, Minn.
Dan Cook can be reached at Cook9156@stthomas.edu.