Smith-Cotton beat St. Pius X 38-20 on Friday at Tiger Stadium to improve to 8-0 on the year and set up a battle of unbeaten teams next week in Kansas City when S-C visits Center.
“It feels great,” said Smith-Cotton quarterback Caleb Reed. “We’ve got a lot more games left though.”
Reed completed seven of 10 passes for 108 yards to beat St. Pius. One of his three incompletions came while looking to stop the clock late in the first half. Twice the right-handed quarterback completed passes while rolling left, including a 27-yard touchdown to Blake Jackson.
“With that play we just want to read the corner and make it look like an option,” Reed said. “We want to make the corner come up. The corner came up a little bit and Blake just released behind him. I saw it and I lobbed it up there for him.”
Warriors quarterback Tommy Hoambrecker was 19 of 34 passing for 270 yards. He completed the first six passes he attempted before Smith-Cotton began putting more pressure on him.
“They did a good job of coming out and just getting their stuff underneath with their hitches, the dumps in the flat and some of the play-action stuff,” said Smith-Cotton coach Ryan Boyer. “We started out giving them too much cushion. Any time with play-action, you just have to not bite on that fake and understand both your run and pass responsibilities.”
The two teams spent most of the first half trading long drives. St. Pius X opened with the ball and went 77 yards in nine plays. Hoambrecker hit Will Brockman for a 31-yard touchdown pass to put the Warriors in front 6-0. The Tigers blocked the extra point.
Smith-Cotton’s ensuing drive also went 77 yards in nine plays. Noah Aziere made the big play, a 38-yard carry through a big hole on the right side to put S-C in St. Pius territory.
“They did a great job firing out all night and our backs did a great job blocking for each other,” Boyer said. “Pius gave us that five-man front, trying to take away some of our inside run.”
Aziere then capped off the drive with a one-yard dive and Blake Grupe’s PAT put the Tigers in front.
St. Pius X put together another long drive with its second posession, reaching the S-C 34 yard line before Jake McFail came through with a sack on fourth down to stop them.
Taking over near midfield, Smith-Cotton marched 53 yards, Caleb Reed rolling left and hitting Blake Jackson with a pass to get the Tigers to the two-yard line before Carlton Homan punched it in two plays later.
Late in the second quarter, Smith-Cotton stopped St. Pius on a fourth down attempt, taking over at their own 26 with 1:42 left. Three long runs by Homan and another gain by Aziere set the Tigers up in Warriors territory before Grupe finished the half with a 24-yard field goal to make it 17-6.
Smith-Cotton opened the third quarter with a nine-play, 65-yard drive to go ahead 24-6. A Reed pass to Jackson put the Tigers in SPX territory and Homan went 23 yards up the middle untouched for the score.
St. Pius X answered late in the third with a 75-yard drive aided by a slew of penalties before Hoambrecker snuck in from a yard out.
Smith-Cotton then answered with an 83-yard touchdown drive to make it 31-13. Reed, rolling left, found Jackson in the end zone for a 27-yard score. Smith-Cotton recovered a fumble on the ensuing kick off, opening at drive at the Warriors’ 25. Homan added his third rushing score of the game on the drive, making it 38-13.
St. Pius X got a touchdown pass to Joe Witherow in the back of the end zone with 4:36 left to cut the lead to 38-20.
Aziere finished with 18 carries for 116 yards. Homan gained 85 yards on nine rushes.
Meanwhile Center beat O’Hara 38-7 on Friday. The Yellowjackets are also 8-0. The winner of next Friday’s game in Kansas City will be the West Central Conference champion.
Eric Ingles can be reached at 660-826-1000, ext. 1483 or on Twitter @Eric_Ingles