(NEW WILMINGTON, Pa.) - The eighth-ranked Thomas More College football team clinched its fourth straight outright Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) title today (Saturday, October 29, 2011) by defeating Westminster College, 27-10, at Harold Burry Stadium in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania.
With the win, the Saints remain undefeated at 8-0 overall and 7-0 in the PAC. Thomas More also clinches the PAC automatic bid to the 2011 NCAA Division III Football Playoff. It will be Thomas More fourth straight and sixth overall appearance in the NCAA Division III Football Playoff. With the loss, the Titans fall to 5-3 overall and 4-2 in the PAC.
Thomas More never trailed in the game as it led 7-0 after one quarter, 10-3 at halftime and 17-10 after three quarters.
The Saints jumped out to a 7-0 lead with six-seconds to play in the first quarter when sophomore running back Adam Rauch (Yorkville, Ind./East Central) scored on a 32-yard pass from junior quarterback Rob Kues (Fort Thomas, Ky./Newport Central Catholic) and senior place kicker Aaron Walter (Cincinnati, Ohio/LaSalle) added the point-after-attempt.
Thomas More increased the lead to 10-0 when Walter made a 28-yard field goal with 9:45 to play in the second quarter.
Westminster cut the lead to 10-3 at halftime when Zac Henry connected on a 25-yard field goal with 27-seconds to play in the second quarter.
Kues scored on a 25-yard run and Walter added the PAT to increase the lead to 17-3 with 12:11 to play in the third quarter.
The Titans cut the lead to 17-10 with 1:45 to play in the third quarter when Shawn Lehocky scored on a one-yard run and Henry added the PAT.
Thomas More increased the lead to 24-10 when Kues scored on an eight-yard run and Walter added the PAT with 11:52 to play in the fourth quarter.
The Saints closed out the scoring on a Walter 23-yard field for the final score of 27-10.
The Saints' offense was led by Kues, who was eight-of-17 passing for 153 yards and one touchdown and had 11 rushes for 30 yards and two touchdowns. Sophomore running back Domonique Hayden (Lexington, Ky./Lexington Christian Academy) had 20 carries for 99 yards and Rauch had four carries for nine yards and had three catches for 41 yards and one touchdown.
Senior linebacker Nick Gramke (Cincinnati, Ohio/Elder) led the Saints defense with 14 tackles, including one sack and two tackles for a loss of 11 yards. Sophomore defensive back Alex Taylor (Cincinnati, Ohio/Elder) added eight tackles and one force fumble and sophomore defensive lineman Tyler Combs (Fort Thomas, Ky./Highlands) had seven tackles, including one for a loss, while junior defensive back Zach Autenrieb (Cincinnati, Ohio/Elder) had two interceptions and three pass break-ups to go with his two tackles.
Thomas More returns home next Saturday (November 5) to host Waynesburg University on Senior Day at The Bank of Kentucky Field in Crestview Hills, Kentucky. The game is scheduled to kickoff at 1 p.m.