Scotus standout Dalton Taylor (#12) was a force on both sides of the ball Friday night against Aquinas.
Columbus Scotus downs Aquinas in battle of Class C defensive stalwarts.
by Bobby Mills (1000 Yard Guy)
When Scotus and Aquinas get together it's usually a classic, and more often than not, a smash mouth, slobber knocking, head banging defensive struggle. Tonight's battle was no different than most other Scotus/Aquinas classics, and it was Scotus coming up with the hard earned 10-6 win.
Scotus entered the contest rated #2 in Class C-1, while Aquinas came in Numero Uno in C-2. Nothing unusual about that for these two squads. But tonight, it was Scotus overcoming a hundred yards of penalties, and turning the Monarchs away at critical times, including a couple of deflected passes to end the game. You may not see a better set of defensive fronts in Class C football than Aquinas and Scotus feature. And keep in mind, the Shamrocks were facing a defending state champion for the 2nd straight week, defeating 2014 C-1 Champ, Boone Central/NG a week ago, 31-14.
This magnificent football clash was a game of breaks and field position, and Scotus took advantage of the first one when Tanner Spenceri uncorked a skyrocketing 72 yard punt, pinning the Monarchs back on their 1 yard line. The booming boot came on the first play of the 2nd quarter.
The 'Rocks forced Aquinas to a 3 and out, and when a shanked punt on 4th down and 5 on the Monarch 22 sailed only 14 yards to the Aquinas 36, the Rocks were in business. Scotus QB Brady Pryzmus nailed basketball standout Dalton Taylor for a 20 yard gain to the 11 on the very next play, but Scotus was whistled for a personal foul penalty after the play had ended. But the very next play, Pryzmus went right back to work, hitting Taylor who had gained a step on the Aquinas defense. Dalton hauled it in for a 26 yard scoring strike and Scotus had the lead 7-0 after Cole Harrington's PAT. 6:42 remained in the half.
The two teams traded back to back interceptions a series later with Aquinas James Kobza pirating a Brady Pryzmus toss at the Scotus 46 with just a minute left in the half. With time running out, Lane Napier pulled off a little Aquinas/Ron Mimick magic, sprinting 46 yards for a score on a quick-as-a-wink burst up the Scotus middle. When the speedy junior reached paydirt, the clock read triple zeros.
Nolan Helgoth booted the PAT through the Pawnee Park south uprights, but Aquinas was called for a movement penalty. The next try by Helgoth against that south wind, sailed wide right and Scotus took a 7-6 lead into the halftime break.
The only scoring in the second half came late in the 3rd quarter when Cole Harrington kicked a 28 yard field goal to give the 'Rocks a 10-6 lead. The play before, Brady Pryzmus nailed Dalton Taylor with a perfect strike to the right corner of the end zone, but some nifty defensive play by Aquinas DB James Kobza forced Taylor to catch the ball with his lead foot out of the end zone to nullify what appeared to be a Scotus TD.
It appeared that Ron Mimick's Monarch crew might pull out some magic on the Monarchs second to the last drive in the football game.
With 4:13 remaining and the ball laying on the Aquinas 9 yard line, the journey began. RB Noah Pelan pulled a Houdini-like fake handoff on what appeared to be a double reverse, and carried the ball to the Monarch 38. A shoestring tackle is all that saved a 91 yard scoring run. Conner Kranda then gained 9, Kobza 6 more, quarterback Spencer Maguire then ran for 8 more placing the ball on the Scotus 39. On the very next play, Lane Napier then broke loose for a run to the Shamrock 30, but was stripped of the ball and the drive was stopped with a heartbreaking thud.
Aquinas would still get one last shot at it on offense with no timeouts remaining and 26 seconds left at their own 46 yard line. Pryzmus connected to Noah Pelan for 13 yards, but the next two Hail Mary tosses were batted away, one a bizzare Volleyball type triple tipped dandy which ended with a Dalton Taylor spike.
Aquinas FB Lane Napier led all rushers with 102 yards on 16 carries and the only TD for the Monarchs. Speedy Noah Pelan added 75 yards on 15 touches. The Monarchs really bottled up Scotus runners Jake Bos and Baeley Pelster, but Tanner Spenceri came through with 33 critical yards rushing and tough running FB Marcus Dodson did the same his 30 yards on only 3 carries in that 2nd half to keep drives alive. Pelster would end up leading the way for Scotus with 48 yards on 10 carries.
Scotus quarterback Brady Pryzmus completed 4 of his 10 passes for 66 yards, all to Dalton Taylor. The Shamrock defensive line trio of Mitchell Halligan, Carson Fuchser and Duncan Paczosa were just terrific all evening. And no way could you not see what a force returning all-state player Matt Kindler was all game for Aquinas.
Next week, Columbus Scotus hits the road for the first time, travelling to pass happy Central City, while Aquinas opens their home season facing Lutheran High NE from Norfolk.
Looking far ahead down the road, it certainly is not a far fetched prediction that both of these squads could be playing for their respective State Championship games on the turf at Lincoln's Memorial Stadium.