St. Thomas Academy blew open a close game in the second half to remain undefeated on the season and in the process gave Hastings their first loss of the season. All three units contributed to the 24-6 road victory.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Cadets relied on the running game and specifically Brendan McFadden. McFadden started the game with a ten-yard run behind PJ Gaertner and Logan Coutier. Later he scored the first of his three touchdowns with a 14-yard touchdown run. McFadden showed a little bit of everything on a run later in the game that only would net three yards. He used quick feet to avoid a defender who broke into the backfield and then lowered his shoulder to power his way to a short gain. Then he picked up big yardage behind Devin Klein and Jason Samec, and he finished the run off right – punishing the tackler to make sure he fell forward for an extra yard.
Center Alex Kuntz opened a large hole in the middle of the defense, and later, the Cadets found something they liked with McFadden running behind Gaertner and Coutier. On fourth and six McFadden took a pitch around Gaertner’s side, and the senior found a gap and cut the run upfield for a first down. Later, his quick feet turned a sure loss into a two-yard gain. McFadden can also catch the ball out of the backfield. He grabbed a screen pass and ran for 26 yards.
He made correct cuts to first score from 54-yards out and then on a fourth and four he found another gap to pick up a first down. His final fourth down run set up his third and final rushing touchdown of the game. Two more correct reads on toss plays late in the game helped salt the game away.
Charlie Fafinski and Joe Deyak would both see time at quarterback. Fafinski completed a short crossing route to Callan Happe and then completed the same type of pass to Jack Nozel for a first down. Under pressure, he rolled to the right. Kian Abbott broke off his route and worked his way back to the quarterback so Fafinski could find him for a first down.
Deyak was able to roll to his right and throw a nice ball. He showed nice touch on a throw into the flat, and then on a designed rollout picked up ten yards.
As the game wore on, it was the offensive line that carried the load. Klein, Kuntz, Gaertner, Coutier, and Samec took control of the game towards the end of the third quarter.
The Cadets’ kicking game was on point as well. In addition to going three for three on extra points, John Copeland made a 35-yard field goal.
Outside of one and maybe two drives, the Cadets’ defense was nearly impenetrable.
Defensive tackle Garrison Solliday caused the Hastings offense problems all game. He re-routed a misdirection play into his teammates. Then he stayed home on another counter play and this time didn’t need to re-route the runner, he made the tackle himself. In the second half, he drove the center and guard back into the quarterback and created a sack for a teammate.
Along with his solid play along the offensive line, defensive end Samec didn’t get fooled on an end-around and tackled the running back for a ten-yard loss. Later he crashed down from the outside to make a tackle on an inside run.
Early in the game, Peter Holmes penetrated into the backfield allowing linebacker Jack Horst and Samec clean up. Then Horst made a tackle for no gain.
Linebacker Ben Reppenhagen read a screen pass and made a tackle for loss. Then he blitzed and forced an incomplete pass.
The defensive backs were not asked to make many plays in the passing game, but Will Herzog came up with an interception. He was not brought down until after a winding 30-yard return.
Finally, a blitz by Tony Wright forced an errant throw by the quarterback.