Big First Half Propels Saints to Homecoming Win

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DULUTH, Minn. – The St. Scholastica football team outscored Crown College 28-0 in the first half on its way to a 41-21 Homecoming victory in front of 2,138 fans at Malosky Stadium on Saturday.

Crown (3-2, 1-1 UMAC) entered today's game averaging 45 points per game in its first four games. Defensive coordinator Tom Parkevich's defense would hold Storm's potent offense to no points, 112 yards of total offense, and forced three interceptions in the first half.

The Saints (3-2, 1-1 UMAC) offense capitalized on two of the three interceptions in the half. After Justin Trautmiller intercepted his second pass of the game halfway through the first quarter, Alex Thiry hit Keegan O'Neill, who kept his feet in bounds for an 8-yard touchdown pass. Jake Jensen's 52-yard run was a key play on the drive.

Following a Crown punt, the Saints went 68 yards on 11 plays, Jake Jensen scored on a one-yard touchdown plunge to make it 14-0 early in the second quarter.

On the next Storm possession, Chas Lemon made a great defensive play, deflecting an Adam Hayes pass to himself and then made an impressive run back 55 yards down to the Crown 19-yard-line. The interception return was the longest in the program's young history. Jensen later scored his second of the day from three yards out to make it 21-0.

The Saints got one more possession in the half and went 71 yards on eight plays. The drive was capped off on perfectly designed play where Thiry connected with #Dan Bullyan# from four yards out to make the halftime score 28-0. For Bullyan, that was his second career reception and first career touchdown.

The Storm had zero passing yards in the second quarter and managed just 39 yards total.

In the second half, Justin Trautmiller would intercept his third pass of the day on Crown first possession. The three interceptions are a program record for most in a game by a single player.

Keegan O'Neill finished the drive with a 5-yard touchdown reception on perfectly placed throw by Alex Thiry. The extra point would be blocked so the score stood at 34-0.

The Storm finally got in the end zone on the ensuing possession on an Amos Schmidt five-yard touchdown run to make it 34-7. The Saints had another pick on the drive, but it nullified by a pass interference penalty.

Crown made it interesting scoring in just four plays to start the fourth quarter as it was now 34-14. On the Saints next possession, head coach Greg Carlson had an interesting call to make as it was 4th-and-1 at the Crown 37. Carlson decided to roll the dice and he did so in a big way as Alex Thiry launched a pass down the sideline and Keegan O'Neill was under it for a 37-yard touchdown connection to make it 41-14.

Crown added another touchdown late to make the final score 41-21. This was the third straight year the schools have matched up in Homecoming games. Crown defeated the Saints in CSS's first-ever Homecoming in 2008. The Saints then defeated the Storm on their Homecoming last season.

The Saints out-gained the Storm 466-418 in the contest. Alex Thiry had a near perfect passer rating as he was 20-of-24 for 265 yards with four touchdowns with no interceptions. Keegan O'Neill had eight receptions for 95 yards and three touchdowns. Tyler Olson had a career-high six catches for 133 yards. Sean Graskey led the defense with 12 tackles.

The Saints will be at home again next weekend, this time at Public Schools Stadium, to face Greenville College (Ill.). The kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. and can be heard live on ESPN Radio 560-WEBC and seen live, courtesy of the iFan Sports Network, at csssaints.com.

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