Tuesday, September 10, 2019

First Game! St. Thomas Press Release


MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (September 7th, 2019) - Saturday, September 7; a day that will be long remembered by generations of St. Thomas University administration, students, faculty and alumni, for the first time in school history, Bobcat Football was played.
12 p.m. marked the beginning of a new era, at St. Thomas, the kick-off from Thomas More kicker, Alexander Haley, and return by David Crawford, signified the start of STU Football as the Bobcats began the day, the season and the program on the offensive. STU wasted little time recording the first "first down" in program history, as running back, Robert Armes, took his first collegiate carry six yards following a James Sepulveda completion to D'Amaunte Oliver.

The young defensive unit of the Bobcats made their presence felt on the Saints, holding a highly touted offense to -2 yards on TMU's first offensive possession, Jayson Contreras led the way with the first-ever Quarterback sack in school history. St. Thomas second drive lasted four plays, before punting to Thomas More and allowing a 46-yard return as the Saints passed the 50-yard line for the first time in the game. Four plays later, TMU put the ball in the end zone for the first score of the game, with Dillon Powell scampering from six yards out. As the first quarter wound down, a tipped pass and subsequent interception was returned for a pick-six, as TMU took a two score lead at 14-0.

Following the first quarter, St. Thomas University honored the Miami Dolphins as the first-ever "Bobcat Community Award" recipients for their efforts in the Miami Gardens community and in bringing football back to the campus of St. Thomas.

Midway through the second quarter, Thomas More added a third touchdown, Mitchell Hogue scored from four yards out to put the Saints ahead, 21-0. St. Thomas ran eight more plays, over two drives, before halftime but gave TMU possession with 2:30 remaining in the first half. TMU finished the first half by knocking in a field goal from 19-yards to head into the break with Thomas More leading 24-0.

Head Coach Bill Ryhcel and staff went into their first halftime at St. Thomas and made the necessary adjustments to get STU back into the game. Defensive Coordinator, Alex Gray's unit forced the Saints into a quick three-and-out, allowing only nine yards, on the first TMU drive of the second half. Sepulveda led the offense down the field with 48 passing yards, including a huge play for 31 yards to John Israel Cooper to put St. Thomas into the red-zone for the first time in the game. One play later, history was made, Armes ran for 12-yards, breaking a couple tackles in the process to find the end-zone and recording the first ever St. Thomas University Bobcats touchdown. Billy McConnelladded the first extra point in school history to complete the touchdown. Thomas More quickly responded with a rushing touchdown of their own, extending their lead to 31-7.

Heading into the final quarter of play, STU needed positive momentum on their side and linebacker, Wendy Francoisobliged. Francois forced a fumble on the Thomas More 40-yard line and gave the Bobcats the ball in positive field position. Sepulveda led his second scoring drive of the afternoon, capping it off with a five-yard touchdown pass (the first passing/receiving touchdown) in school history to Oliver to put the game at 31-14, following a McConnell extra point.

Thomas More sealed the win with their third rushing touchdown of the day with 3:15 remaining in the game.

Overall, St. Thomas ran 70-plays for 282 total yards, finished with 13 first downs and 29:27 of possession time in the first game in the program's history.

Bobcat Leaders
Robert Armes: 20 carries, 97 yards (4.85 yards-per-carry) first touchdown in St. Thomas history
Jordan Sepulveda: 26-37, 1 TD/1 int, first passing touchdown in St. Thomas history
D'Amaunte Oliver: five catches, 25 yards, first receiving touchdown in St. Thomas history

St. Thomas will play the program's first road game on Saturday, September 14th, traveling to Barbourville, Kentucky to play Union College.


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