DULUTH, Minn. (csssaints.com) – The St. Scholastica football team faced off against Whitworth University (Wash.) for its fifth season opener on Saturday at Public Schools Stadium and was defeated on its home turf 28-13.
The Saints received the opening kickoff of the 2013 season and went three-and-out that would see Jake Church come on for the first of seven punts on the day.
The Pirates would take their opening drive to the end zone in seven plays covering 51 yards, which was capped off by a Ronnie Thomas 4-yard run. The extra point by Dominic Aliano was good to make the score 7-0.
Four of the next five drives for CSS would be three-and-outs ending with a punt by Church. The Pirates would add onto their early seven point lead with an 11-play drive taking 5:02 at the start of the second quarter. Thomas once again crossed the goal line, this time with a 3-yard run. The extra point by Aliano was good to make it 14-0.
After another CSS three-and-out, Aliano would miss a 24-yard field goal that would have capped off a 10-play, 52-yard drive.
CSS would not cross into the Whitworth side of the field until 2:12 seconds remained in the second quarter when Alec French intercepted the pass from Bryan Peterson. CSS would throw three straight incomplete passes and the drive resulted in another punt from Church.
The Pirates would run out the clock to make it a halftime score of 14-0.
Whitworth opened up the second half with a 57-yard kickoff return by Paul Miller. The Pirates would need only four plays before Thomas scored his third rushing touchdown of the day this time from four yards out. Aliano's extra point was good to make it 21-0.
On its next drive the CSS offense took the ball into Whitworth territory on a six-play drive before punting it away. Whitworth would score their last points of the day on their next drive that covered 96 yards in 11 plays. A pass from Michael McCune to Jake DeGooyer from 33 yards out was the scoring play on the drive. Aliano chipped in the PAT to make it 28-0.
CSS would get on the board with 6:43 left to play in the fourth with a pair of sophomores at quarterback and running back in Tyler Harper and Thomas Fragale combining for 55 rushing yards and three first downs on the drive. Harper connected with Spencer Specht for a 6-yard touchdown. Mike Theismann's extra point was good to make it 28-7.
CSS would force the Pirates to punt on their next drive before taking the ball 86 yards in 14 plays that culminated in a touchdown pass from Harper to Nick Thiry for 20 yards. Theismann's extra point was no good to make the final score 28-13.
The Pirates were led by Thomas with 161 yards rushing and three TD's. Bryan Peterson and Michael McCune combined to go 10-for-15 with 136 yards passing and one TD and INT.
Whitworth had a total of 359 yards of total offense with 223 of that coming by way of the ground.
Defensively, the Pirates were led by Aaron Cochran with nine tackles, two of those for loss including a sack for six yards. Casey Monahan had the lone interception for Whitworth.
Tyler Harper was 16-for-32 in his first collegiate start for 156 yards, with two TD's and one interception.
CSS as a team combined for 93 yards rushing. Nick Thiry caught six balls for 62 yards and one touchdown. As a team the Saints had 249 yards of total offense.
Alec French led the Saints defensively with 13 tackles on the day and also had an interception. Keaton Rush and Steven Perry both had 11 tackles as well.
The Saints will be at home once again next weekend as the Eureka College Red Devils come to town. The game will be played at 1 p.m. at Public School Stadium once again on Saturday.