St Thomas More battled for the Select Divison II State Championship this afternoon inside the Caesars Superdome against Lafayette Christian. STM came back from a 48-38 deficit to win 52-48 in one of the most dramatic endings in recent memory.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
The Cougars opened the game with a good drive to get inside the red zone, but STM had to settle for a 30-yard field goal by Brendan Bourque to make it 3-0 with 10:38 remaining in the first quarter.
Following a Tyler Collins interception, the Cougars added to their lead when Sam Altmann found Connor Stelly for a 23-yard touchdown to make it 10-0 STM with 11:06 left in the 2nd quarter.
LCA responded quickly with a Ju’Juan Johnson touchdown pass to Trae Grogan from 23 yards away to cut it to 10-7 with 9:16 left in the first half.
STM puts it back at a double-digit lead when Altmann hit Christian Hornbeck from two yards out to make it 17-7 with 2:57 left in the half.
LCA put another touchdown on the board right before the half when Johnson found Dudley Jackson for a 16-yard score with 15 seconds left to cut it to 17-14 at the half.
Dudley Jackson started the second half with a bang when Dudley Jackson gashed the Cougar defense for a 41-yard touchdown run to take a 21-17 lead.
Minutes later, the Knights scored another touchdown when Johnson found Alonzo Ryes for a 36-yard strike, but the PAT was missed to push to a 27-14 advantage.
37 seconds later, Hutch Swilley got on his high horse for a 60-yard touchdown run to cut the lead to 27-24 with 9:24 left in the 3rd.
38 seconds later, Dudley Jackson won a 58-yard foot race to the endzone to make it a 10-point game once again, with the Knights not leading 34-24 with 8:46 left in the 3rd.
After a second Tyler Collins turnover, STM was set up in good field position. Later in the Cougars’ drive, Altmann found Hornbeck again in the endzone to cut the lead to 34-31 with 5:16 left in the 3rd.
With 59 seconds left in the 3rd, LCA pushed their lead to 41-31 on a Ju’Juan Johnson touchdown run. The general idea was that this game was going to be a track meet and it lived up to the billing.
The Cougars didn’t go away quietly, as Altmann threw his fourth touchdown pass of the day, this time to Christian Mcnees to bring it back to a one-possession game, 41-38.
The track meet continued as LCA scampered in for a one-yard score to make it 48-38 and ultimately put it out of reach for the Cougars as LCA wins the Division II Select State Championship.
Sam Altmann threw his fifth touchdown of the game, this time finding Christian Mcnees from 44 yards out again to make it 48-45 and give the Cougars an opportunity.
Following the touchdown, STM recovered the onside kick with a minute remaining. The very next play, Altmann tossed his sixth touchdown pass to Connor Stelly from 44 yards away to give STM the 52-48 lead with 49 seconds left.
With 21 seconds remaining, STM forced their third turnover of the game to win the state championship 52-48.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Sam Altmann
Altmann, the junior quarterback for the Cougars, threw for over 400 yards and six touchdowns to lead the Cougars to a state championship.
BIG NUMBER: 100
Everyone talked about this game being a track meet, with the two teams combining for 100 total points in the contest.