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Clutch run turns momentum late for Tommies

More news about: St. Thomas

Josh Parks led St. Thomas in rushing yards on Saturday.
Photo by Mark Brown, University of St. Thomas

COLLEGEVILLE – St. Thomas used five takeaways and survived a St. John's rally in the second half to defeat the Johnnies 33-21 Saturday in a matchup of two Top 10 teams in NCAA Division III. 

The No. 6 Johnnies trailed 27-7 in the third quarter but scored twice to cut the St. Thomas lead to six points with five minutes to go in the game. The fourth-rated Tommies moved the ball to midfield, where freshman halfback Josh Parks broke loose for a 46-yard touchdown run to seal the game. 

The victory, the third straight for St. Thomas over St. John's, came before 16,514 fans in Clemens Stadium, the second-largest recorded crowd in Division III football history behind last year's 17,327 for the St. Thomas-St. John's game here. The road team has won the last five regular-season games between the two teams. 

A stiff and opportunistic defense that forced three St. John's fumbles in the first half led to all 20 of the Tommies' points before the break. 

Ryan Winter recovered a St. John's fumble on its second play from scrimmage on the opening drive, and five plays later quarterback Alex Fenske scored on a 5-yard keeper. The extra point gave the Tommies a quick 7-0 lead. 

On its next series, St. Thomas drove to the St John's 20 on the strength of 54 rushing yards from halfback Tucker Trettel, but the Johnnies blocked a 37-yard field goal attempt by Carter Schmitz. Four plays later, St. John's quarterback Jackson Erdmann found a receiver on a short pass route and a St. Thomas defender jarred the ball loose, but it was picked off in midair by receiver Evan Clark. He raced 68 yards down the sideline for a touchdown and a tie game at 7-7. 

Three plays into the second quarter, Tommie linebacker Steve Harrell forced an Erdmann fumble on a sack – the first time he was sacked this season – and defensive end Anthony King-Foreman scooped up the ball and ran 57 yards for a touchdown and a 13-7 lead. The Johnnies blocked Schmitz's kick. 

"It's something our coaches have been preaching all week, to get the ball on the ground and create turnovers," King-Foreman said after the game. "It's one of the No. 1 predictors of success for our team. I just happened to be in the right spot at the right time, picked it up, got a great block from Bennett Celichowski."

St. Thomas stopped St. John's on fourth down on the next series, thanks to an Adam Kraft sack, and took over at the Johnnies' 38. The Tommies drove to the St. John's 11 and kicked a field goal, but St. John's was whistled for roughing the kicker, leading to a St. Thomas first down. Two plays later, Trettel scored from the 5. Bryan Steinsaper made the extra point kick for a 20-7 lead. 

St. John's drove to the St. Thomas 27 with a minute left in the first half, but another Johnnie fumble – this one recovered by Matt Mitchell – ended the threat. 

St. John's outgained the Tommies 208 to 161 yards in the half; 130 of the St. Thomas yards came on the ground, with Trettel picking up 73 of them. 

Erdmann's first interception of the year led to seven more St. Thomas points early in the third quarter. Cornerback Michael Alada picked off his third pass, and 10 plays later Josh Parks ran it in from the 2 for a 27-7 lead with 8:12 left in the third quarter.

Alada added another interception in the final minute to lock down the win.

Nov. 18: All times Eastern
Final
Husson 23, at Springfield 21
Video Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Berry 34, Huntingdon 20
Video Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Delaware Valley 35, Western New England 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Brockport 66, Plymouth State 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Frostburg State 35, at Wittenberg 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Mount Union 21, Washington and Lee 0
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Wesley 45, RPI 27
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Washington and Jefferson 31, Johns Hopkins 28
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Trine 63, Monmouth 24
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 50, Chapman 6
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Case Western Reserve 28, at Illinois Wesleyan 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at UW-Oshkosh 63, Lakeland 0
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at St. Thomas 47, Eureka 8
Video Video Box Score Recap Photos Photos
Final - OT
at Wartburg 35, Franklin 34
Video Preview Box Score Live stats Photos
Final
at North Central (Ill.) 17, St. John's 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Linfield 27, Hardin-Simmons 13
Box Score Photos
Nov. 25: All times Eastern
12:00 PM
Wesley at Brockport
12:00 PM
Case Western Reserve at Mount Union
Preview Live stats Tickets Audio Video
12:00 PM
Frostburg State at Washington and Jefferson
Video Live stats Audio
12:00 PM
Husson at Delaware Valley
Live stats
1:00 PM
Berry at St. Thomas
Video Live stats Audio Audio
1:00 PM
North Central (Ill.) at UW-Oshkosh
Video Live stats Audio
1:00 PM
Linfield at Mary Hardin-Baylor
1:00 PM
Trine at Wartburg
Nov. 18: All times Eastern
Final
Muhlenberg 32, at Carnegie Mellon 6
@ Newark, Del.
Video Box Score
Final
at Franklin and Marshall 21, Widener 7
Video Box Score
Final
Susquehanna 28, at Albright 9
Video Box Score
Final
at Berry 34, Huntingdon 20
Video Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Brockport 66, Plymouth State 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Mount Union 21, Washington and Lee 0
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Trine 63, Monmouth 24
Video Box Score Photos
Final
at Wesley 45, RPI 27
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Washington and Jefferson 31, Johns Hopkins 28
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Frostburg State 35, at Wittenberg 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at Delaware Valley 35, Western New England 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final
Husson 23, at Springfield 21
Video Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at Framingham State 48, Curry 14
Video Box Score
Final
Cortland 35, at Union 28
Box Score Recap
Final
Case Western Reserve 28, at Illinois Wesleyan 0
Video Box Score Recap
Final - OT
at Wartburg 35, Franklin 34
Video Preview Box Score Live stats Photos
Final
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 50, Chapman 6
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at UW-Oshkosh 63, Lakeland 0
Video Box Score Recap Photos
Final
at North Central (Ill.) 17, St. John's 7
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at St. Thomas 47, Eureka 8
Video Video Box Score Recap Photos Photos
Final
at Linfield 27, Hardin-Simmons 13
Box Score Photos
Final
at Ithaca 27, Salisbury 17
@ Newark, Del.
Video Box Score Recap
Final
at WPI 17, SUNY-Maritime 3
Box Score Recap
Nov. 19: All times Eastern
Final
at Alfred 29, Stevenson 16
@ University of Delaware
Video Box Score Recap