By Brennan Dial
It took a quarter for Bishop Miege’s offense to build up the steam that powered them to a 3-0 start on the season, but once things started to click for the Stags’ against arch rival St. Thomas Aquinas on Friday, there was no looking back, and Miege walked away with a 37-20 win.
With a 3-0 lead going into the second quarter, running back Dawson Downing pushed in for a 4-yard touchdown. Quarterback Ryan Willis then found Dawson through the air with a 15-yard pass for a touchdown, putting Miege up 16-0 with 5:59 remaining in the second quarter. Coming out of the half, the Stags kept rolling. Though Aquinas found a way to halt the running game, Willis continued to move the chains through the air. He finished the night with 281 passing yards, three passing touchdowns, and one rushing touchdown.
Downing finished with 95 rushing yards, 82 receiving yards and three touchdowns. “I’m going to do whatever the team needs me to do, even if that means lining up and making some plays at receiver,” he said after the game.
Miege’s defense only gave up six points in the first half, holding the Saints offense to 4/12 and 1/5 on third and fourth down conversions throughout the whole game. The Saints, who got a new coaching staff coming into this year, struggled at the line of scrimmage to find a crease in the Stags’ defense.
Senior defensive end Jonathan Pugh had a strong outing with four tackles, two for losses.
“We got off the ball fast, played our keys and reacted to where the ball was going quickly and as a defense pursued and swarmed to whoever was carrying the ball,” Pugh said.
The Stags improve to 4-0 with the win over the Saints. After the game, senior defensive end Peter Smardo talked about keeping the streak alive: “As a team we just need to stay hungry, keep the chip on our shoulder and remember 4-0 wasn’t the end goal, being undefeated state champions is our goal.”
The Stags have their Homecoming game next week against the Blue Valley West Jaguars, the team that eliminated them from the playoffs last season. The Jaguars will be looking to keep their winning streak alive as well after improving their record to 3-1 with a 42-21 victory over Gardner Edgerton Friday.