Friday nights game between defending Division II State Champions St Thomas More and 3A Champs Madison Prep lived up to the hype as Zeon Chriss lead the Bolts to a 38-35 victory over the Cougars.
It was a battle of quarterbacks between LSU commit Walker Howard of STM and UL commit Chriss of Madison Prep, but the hero of the game ended up being Madison Prep‘s Calvin Spears who kicked the game winner with 2 seconds left.
Howard started off 0-3 with one of the passes, but responded with five straight completions on a 10-play drive that ended with a touchdown run by STM running back Jack Stefanski.
STM then recovered a fumble on the kick off at the Madison Prep 24-yard line. Howard scrambled for 20 yards that set up an 8-yard score to Hatch Swilley putting the Cougars up 14-0 in the first quarter.
Howard completed 23-of-39 attempts for 308 yards and three touchdowns with 33 yards rushing and another score.
“Howard was his usual dialed-in self,” said STM head coach Jim Hightower. “It was a good match up that gave fans their money’s worth.”
After a slow start, Chriss threw two touchdowns before halftime to keep Madison down only 21-14. He finished 17-of-24 passing for 221 yards with three touchdowns and 88 yards rushing with two more scores.
The STM defense had goal line stand on fourth down to start the second half and Madison Prep forced the Cougars to punt on their following possession.
A quarterback duel ensued as Howard threw two touchdowns while Chriss had two rushing touchdowns and one 70-yard screen pass to David Jones for a score.
But the play of the game was Chriss’ clutch 3rd-down pass conversion to set up Spears’ game winning field goal from the 5-yard line.
“Great effort,” is what Hightower told his team after the hard fought game. “Too many errors to beat a good team. We will benefit from having such a tough game in week 1.”