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Warriors steam roll St. Thomas Aquinas
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By Carol McIntire, Editor
Carrollton Coach Jim Tsilimos’ Warrior football team set the tone for a 63-6 win over the St. Thomas Aquinas Knights on the first possession of the game.
“I told them we were going to come out, kick off, get the ball and score and that is exactly what they did,” Tsilimos said following the victory.
Carrollton kicker Lawson sent the ball sailing into the end zone to start the game. On the first play from scrimmage, a pass from St. Thomas quarterback Owen Burick, was intercepted by Carrollton senior Zach Perorazio, who returned it to the Warriors’ 47-yard line. Eight plays later, senior tailback Chase Oehlstrom went the final seven yards for the touchdown, the first of three in the first quarter. Quentin Rosenberger, who was perfect on nine extra point attempts, kicked the ball through the uprights with just shy of four minutes off the first quarter clock.
Quarterback Cadyn Smith found Perorazio open for a 42-yard catch and run touchdown less than three minutes later and Chase Oehlstrom hit pay dirt from 29 yards out with 2:06 left in the first quarter.
The hosts put an exclamation point on the end of the first quarter when senior Braxton Swearingen sacked Burick on third down and forced a punt deep in Knights’ territory.
The punt, the first play of the second quarter, rolled dead on the Carrollton 27-yard line. From there, it took only two plays for the hosts to find the end zone. Oehlstrom picked up two yards on a first down carry before Smith connected with Lawson Irwin, a tight end who is also a kicker, for a 71-yard touchdown pass. Just over one minute had ticked off the game clock. Smith completed all three of his pass attempts for 121 yards.
St. Thomas picked up its first, first down of the game, the only first down against Carrollton’s first team defense, on their next possession.
“Our defense played well tonight,” the coach said. “From offense to defense to special teams, I thought they all played well tonight.
Oehlstrom added another score to stretch the lead to 35-0 two players after St. Thomas turned the ball over to Carrollton on a fourth down penalty, on a 20-yard scamper to the end zone.
Oehlstrom set junior teammate Ryan Kiko up for a one-yard touchdown with a 31-yard run on the first play from scrimmage on Carrollton’s next possession.
The Warriors weren’t done yet.
Perorazio returned a St. Thomas punt 57 yards for a touchdown to close out the first half scoring, gave the Warriors a 49-0 lead at intermission.
Tsilimos turned the game over to the second team offense to begin the second half.
Working with a continuous clock, the squad put together a 52-yard drive that was capped off with a nine-yard score by Kiko.
Sophomore tailback Dalton Sweeney closed out the Carrollton scoring with a 1-yard score midway through the fourth period.
St. Thomas senior Antwon Lehman brought applause from spectators in the Carrollton stands when he broke loose for an 85-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter. The two-point conversion failed.
“We had a few mistakes – had a couple touchdowns called back on penalties, but we eventually scored anyway,” Tsilimos noted.
He had praise for the team’s kickers, Irwin and Rosenberger. “We’ve worked hard on it the last couple years getting kids we felt could kick and they came out and have performed.”
Very few of Irwin’s kickoffs have been returned, which Tsilimos said, “Is good for the defense.”
“It’s great for our defense to start on the 20-yard line. “They say the longer you have to drive, the better the chance for a mistake for the offense,” he noted.
St. Thomas began six of the team’s seven drives on the 20-yard line.
Rosenberger was perfect on eight extra point kicks and Irwin on his only attempt.
Carrollton dominated the stat sheet, putting up 439 yards of total offense on 43 plays compared to 101 yards on 28 plays by St. Thomas.
Oehlstrom picked up 177 years on the ground on 14 carries. Kiko added 72 yards on nine carries and Sweeney contributed 69 yards on 13 carries.
Ben Zinda led the defensive effort for the winners with four tackles, two solo, and four assists. Dillon Naylor added 3.5 tackles, two solo, and three assists.
The Warriors had one night to enjoy the victory before they began preparing for the next team on the schedule: the Garaway Pirates.
Tsilimos said his team must practice hard this week, stay focused and play 60 minutes of solid football if they are to be successful against the undefeated Pirates.
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