On home turf, St. Thomas lost to Bethel 12-7 in the quarterfinals Saturday.
The snow from Friday’s storm was cleared long before the first snap of the game, but junior running back Colin Tobin’s flurry of runs gave St. Thomas a 7-6 edge over Bethel at halftime.
St. Thomas started the game with a heavy dose of Tobin, putting the ball in his hands on four straight plays. On Tobin’s third carry, he broke a tackle up the middle and raced for a 46-yard gain. The next play, Tobin found the end zone from two yards out, giving the Tommies a 7-0 lead in the game’s opening minutes. Tobin leads all rushers with 19 carries for 104 yards.
After the opening touchdown, neither team could get much going, seemingly trading possessions. Near the end of the first quarter, Bethel junior quarterback Josh Aakre attempted to fool the Tommie defense by going deep, but senior Bryan Villar made a diving interception that halted the Royals’ drive.
St. Thomas hit a rough patch midway through the second quarter, when freshman punter Garrett Maloney was injured after a Bethel player ran into him.There was no penalty on the hit, and Maloney was taken off the field. After St. Thomas was called for a face mask penalty, sophomore running back Kevin Lindh broke a 25-yard run that set up senior Logan Flannery’s 1-yard touchdown. Flannery leads Bethel with 13 carries for 71 yards.
The Tommies caught a break when Bethel decided to go for a 2-point conversion instead of kicking the extra point after Flannery’s touchdown. Rolling out to his right, Aarke tried to find an open receiver, but the pass failed as junior Willy Baregi was able to knock the ball down.
When the two teams met in October, defense was the story, and the first half of Saturday’s game was no different. On third down, St. Thomas was only able to convert 2 out of 8 times, while Bethel was held to 2 conversions out of 5 attempts.
St. Thomas may be without junior wide receiver Fritz Waldvogel in the second half. Waldvogel appeared to suffer an injury in the game’s opening minutes and has not returned to the game.
Ryan Shaver can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.