The Saints withhold Phoenix to escape Lebanon at 19-14

Cumberland scored a touchdown in the late fourth quarter only to see he was recalled by a holding penalty that allowed Thomas More to claim the 19:14 win at the spring 2021 season opener at the cold Nokes-Lasater Field.

The Phoenix (0-1) fought offensively, pitching only 195 yards of the full offense and converting only 20% (2 out of 10) of their third-down attempts, 110 yards from the ground while the Redshirt freshman quarterback Wade Cartwright thrown for 85 yards on 6 of 11 tries.

Sophomore, who knocked Treylon Sheppard back, threw the stone 20 times for 65 yards and two touchdowns, while Cartwright added 32 yards. Broad receiver Jaylen Taylor took three catches for 77 yards.

The Cumberland Defense forced two takeaways in the game but struggled to get off the field on the third relegation allowing Thomas More to convert 10 out of 20 attempts and 2 out of 3 attempts on the fourth relegation. Cumberland allowed 391 yards of total abuse, led by second quarterback Jay Volpenhein. Volpenhein threw 220 yards on 18 of 34 attempts and rushed 91 yards on the ground and scored a point. Monalo Caldwell ran 43 yards and a touchdown to 22 carries when Thomas More caught 171 yards on the ground.

Brandon Pace Jr. intercepted and took it back 40 yards to set up the game’s second touchdown for Sheppard. Junior Champ Leddon was all over the field, recording 11 tackles defensively, including 2.5 for one loss and one sack. Brandon Taylor also recorded eight tackles and one tackle for a loss. Morgan Cates and Cole Hill each had 1.5 sacks, as the Phoenix could get to Volpenhein four times.

The Saints dominated possession time by holding the ball for 37 minutes while the Phoenix only held it for 22 minutes.

Cumberland pegged Thomas deeper after he was forced to stab the inaugural property. Thomas More converted on two long attempts down while driving. Volpenhein was able to complete a 12-yard pass to Durham and a 20-yard pass to Gaines to continue the journey. Caldwell ended the 12-game drive with a 6-yard rush into the end zone to take a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.

After a fumble by Cartwright and a major defensive stop, the Phoenix responded with a 72-yard drive for a score. Cumberland threw a deep ball to begin the drive to Jaylen Taylor for 40 yards before Sheppard hit it on the one-yard line. Cumberland drew the game 7-7 in the first quarter.

Thomas More had a chance to take a 10-7 lead but missed a 40-yard field goal attempt. Thomas More forced Cumberland into a three-and-off takeover on their own 46-yard line. Volpenhein had released himself for a 33-yard rush to open the driveway and score a 22-yard field goal from Alexander Haley with 4:29 in the half.

Cumberland kicked off to open the third quarter. On the second game after the scrimmage in the half, Ryan Brown forced a fumble that Brandon Taylor had recovered from the Thomas More 26, but Cumberland was unable to take the opportunity he had to stab.

The Saints were able to drive again, this time a 16-game drive that lasted 7:36 seconds and ended with a 30-yard field goal from Haley to put Thomas More in the lead at 4:47.

Haley finished the game with his long from 30 meters with 2: 3 in field goal attempts.

After a couple of back and forth owners ending in punts, Brandon Pace Jr. picked up Volpenhein at the 28 yard line from Cumberland and took it 48 yards the other way to set up a four-game ride, the rush from the one-yard line ended with Sheppard’s second touchdown. This gave Cumberland a 14-13 lead with 9:19.

The Saints would dump the clock in their next possession and record 6:13 on the music box. Volpenhein orchestrated a great ride that Thomas More converted on three thirds and one fourth down. On the third and long of 34, Volpenhein was able to escape the pressure and throw himself on a 34-yard touchdown. The Saints failed to make the two-point changeover but still led to 19-14 at 2:59.

Cartwright tossed Taylor another long completion for 28 yards to start the ride before rushing for six. In the next game, the phoenix Caleb Witherspoon ran on the jet sweep and Witherspoon managed to get 30 meters to the house, but the game was recalled due to a holding penalty. Cumberland ended up in a fourth and long situation and failed to convert with 1:12.

Cumberland was able to force two time outs to get the ball back. Cumberland put the house on the punt for the block, but Espinosa was able to get off a poor punt that went only nine yards and pitched the phoenix for one last chance at 19 seconds. Cartwright threw two deep balls towards the end zone, but both were knocked away and Thomas More escaped with the win.

Cumberland will travel to Williamsburg, Kentucky next Friday to face the University of the Cumberlands at 5 p.m. CST.

Thomas More 19, Cumberland 14

Thomas More 7 3 3 6-19

Cumberland 7 0 0 7-14

First quarter

Thomas More – Monalo Caldwell 6 run (Alexander Haley Kick), 5:35.

Cumberland – Treylon Sheppard 1 run (Austin Nunley Kick),: 27.

Second quarter

Thomas More – Haley 22 FG, 4:39.

Third quarter

Thomas More – Haley 30 FG, 4:47.

Fourth quarter

Cumberland – Sheppard 1 run (Nunley Kick), 9:29.

Thomas More – Jay Volpenheim 34 run (pass failed), 3:06.

Team statistics

TM CU

First departures 20 8

Noise 9 4

Pass 10 3

Penalty 1 1

Rushes yards 45-171 37-110

Driving past 220 85

Comp.-Att.-Int. 18-34-1 6-11-0

Fumbles lost 1-1 1-1

Penalty yards 6-45 3-38

Average points 3-22.7 5-25.0

Individual statistics

RUSHING – Thomas More: Jay Volpenheim 14-91, Monalo Caldwell 22-43, Justin Durham 5-24, Maleek Jarrett 3-7, Austin Bowling 1-6. Cumberland: Treylon Sheppard 20-65, Wade Cartwright 10-32, Kaleb Witherspoon 4-9, Bret Robinson 2-5, Avery Harris 1 – (- 1).

PASSING – Thomas More: Jay Volpenheim 18-34-1-220. Cumberland: Wade Cartwright 6-10-0-85, Avery Harris 0-1-0-0.

RECEIVED – Thomas More: Craig Wills 5-66, Roques Dowdy 2-49, Charles Gaines 4-46, Justin Durham 2-30, Silas Ingram 4-29, Austin Bowling 1-6. Cumberland: Jaylen Taylor 3-77, Riley Darden 1-4, Bret Robinson 1-3, Ian Hafner 1-1.

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