APPLETON, Wis. -- The St. Scholastica football team had a big offensive day as they defeated the Lawrence University Vikings 34-21 in the season opener in Appleton, Wis.
Both teams started off a little bit slow offensively, with neither scoring in the first quarter. The Saints picked off Lawrence quarterback, Luke Barthelmess twice in the first quarter, with Justin Trautmiller intercepting the first, and Jake Turkowski taking the second away.
Lawrence started off the scoring early in the second quarter as Jon Bruehl caught a 94-yard touchdown pass from Barthelmess, but CSS blocked the extra point to hold Lawrence to just a 6-0 lead.
The Saints answered on the very next drive when Alex Thiry completed a 9-yard pass to Nick Thiry after a 7:38 drive to tie the game. The extra point from Mike Theismann was good to put the Saints ahead 7-6.
These two touchdowns proved to be just the beginning of a back-and-forth battle between the Saints and Vikings as Lawrence drove down the field for another score on the next drive. Barthelmess found Tyler Mazur for the 26-yard score to put the Vikings up 13-7.
Following suit, Thiry found Jonny Bennett for a 21-yard touchdown pass on the last play of the half, putting the Saints up 14-13 going into halftime.
The scoring didn't slow down in the second half, as the Saints took the opening drive 60 yards in six plays, ending with a 21-yard touchdown pass from Thiry to Keegan O'Neill. The extra point from Theismann was good to give CSS a 21-13 lead.
Lawrence also came out strong in the second half, taking their opening drive 52 yards for a touchdown on a 1-yard run by Mazur. The Vikings converted the two-point conversion on a pass from Barthelmess to Dominique Dirden to tie the game at 21 a piece.
The Saints punted the ball away on their next drive, but the defense came up strong with a fumble recovery by Christopher Doran to give CSS possession to close out the third quarter.
The fourth quarter was all Saints as the defense shut out the Vikings, and CSS running back Jake Jensen had two touchdown runs to give the Saints a late 13 point lead. The Saints would keep this lead and go on to defeat the Vikings, 34-21.
Thiry had a big day for the Saints at quarterback, completing 18 of 23 passing for 211 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.
Jensen led the rushing attack for St. Scholastica, gaining 140 yards on the ground and finding the end zone two times on the day.
The receivers had a big day for CSS as well, with Thiry catching six passes for 68 yards, O'Neill bringing in five passes for 63 yards and Bennett catching three for 33 yards. All three also had a touchdown on the day.
Sean Graskey led the way tackling for the Saints, earning 12 on the day, including a sack for a nine yard loss. Turkowski and Trautmiller had the two interceptions for the Saints on the day, along with Doran's fumble recovery, giving the Saints three turnovers, and giving them an early +3 turnover margin on the season. Jordan Rasmussen also had a sack on the day for St. Scholastica.
The Saints (1-0) have a bye week next Saturday and will return to action in Greenville, Ill. as they take on last season's Upper Midwest Athletic Conference champion, Greenville Panthers on September 17.