Breaking It Down: won six straight games to get to the second round of the playoffs, but in Round 2 the Thunderbolts drew a very tough St. Rita Mustangs team, headlined by running back Tim Lombard and wideouts Kenny Golladay and T.J. Verdun. Though Andrew made a game of it in the second half, the Mustangs got the best of the T-Bolts, 28-13, Friday night in Tinley Park.
The Andrew defense shut down the Mustangs on their first drive, forcing a punt from inside the St. Rita 20-yard line. Andrew started its first possession around midfield, but progress was stopped, and a 35-yard filed-goal attempt by Mike Elhers hooked left.
The Mustangs then capped off a roughly six-minute, 80-yard drive with Lombard scoring on a 5-yard run. In the second quarter, the Mustangs took advantage of two Tyler Hook interceptions. The first was returned by David Giles for 25 yards, setting up a short field for the Mustangs. It was only a matter of time before quarterback Scott Thomas connected with Verdun for a 5-yard touchdown pass. Just a few minutes later, Will McNamara picked off Hook to set up Thomas’ 35-yard touchdown pass to Golladay. The Mustangs went into the halftime break with a 21-0 lead.
In the second half, it was Andrew's turn to take advantage of a St. Rita turnover. Jarvis Franklin intercepted a Thomas pass and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown early in the third quarter. In the fourth, Franklin would hit pay dirt again, this time on the offensive side of the ball from 5 yards out to cap Andrew's only scoring drive (80 yards). A Mustangs player got a hand on the extra-point attempt, forcing the ball wide left, and St. Rita’s lead was 21-13 with 2:00 left to play.
The end of Andrew's hopes came with a little over a minute left in regulation, when St. Rita senior running back Mike Zunica broke into the open field for a 38-yard touchdown run.
Patch MVP: St. Rita's Scott Thomas was 7-of-14 passing for 82 yards, with two touchdowns and an interception. He also had five carries for 20 yards.
St. Rita Stat Pack: Tim Lombard had 94 yards and a TD on 21 carries; Mike Zunica had 73 yards and a TD on 10 carries; Kenny Golladay had three catches for 55 yards and a TD.
Andrew Stat Pack: Tyler Hook was 14-of-22 passing for 190 yards and three interceptions; Jarvis Franklin had 33 yards and a TD on 10 carries and 44 yards on two catches, and he returned an interception for a TD; Joe Sanfilippo had six catches for 73 yards.
Quotable: Andrew head coach Jim Malec on his team's impressive run: "I'm proud of our kids for being able to pick themselves up after starting 1-3. They also came back here in the second half and made it a football game. I told them to play to the last minute and do the things that got you here."
Team Records: St. Rita improves to 9-2. Andrew finishes the season at 7-4.
What's Next: St. Rita will go on to play O'Fallon next weekend.
Other Scores of Note: 8A: Homewood-Flossmoor 48, Lockport 7; 7A: Wheaton-Warrenville South 7, Lincoln-Way East 0; O'Fallon 34, Pekin 31; 6A: Lemont 35, Oak Forest 14.