St. Mary’s handles homecoming distractions, overpowers Northwood

St. Mary’s  47
Northwood  18

St. Mary’s took control quickly Friday night and never allowed Northwood-Lena to mount a serious threat as the Tigers opened District 3-1A play with a resounding 47-18 homecoming victory on the SHMS campus.

Adam Parker ran for two touchdowns (10 and 47 yards), threw for another score (36 yards) and was 15 of 16 passing for the Tigers, who won their fifth straight. Ben Bienvenu scored twice, on the 36-yard catch and run pass play, and recovering a fumble after Parker and Grame Fidelak connected from the 10 but the ball popped loose short of the goalline. That play opened the scoring three minutes into action.

St. Mary’s (5-1 overall, 1-0 in district) also got touchdown runs from Jaydyn Jackson (3 yards), Drake Griffin (1 yard) and Bryson Barnes (27 yards). The Tigers went up 14-0, then pushed away from a 14-6 lead at the end of the first quarter with 20 second-period points.

The Tigers led 34-12 at halftime despite a sluggish start that wasn’t unexpected with all the homecoming festivities and the drop down to district competition after playing the first five games against bigger schools.

“We didn’t play with a whole lot of emotion in the first half. We didn’t play as well as we should have,” said St. Mary’s coach Aaron York. “We were up, but we weren’t meeting our expectations. In the second half we responded well and played a lot faster, a lot more physical, to the level we should have been.”

Northwood (2-3, 0-1) ran its power offense for 13 first downs and 232 rushing yards (265 total) but was within one score only briefly at the start of the game and the start of the second quarter. Slowing down the Gators’ running game took a little while.

“We weren’t making the plays, we weren’t setting the edge at first. We had some younger kids step up, and we made some adjustments,” said York. “Conner Jordan played really well. Our defensive line played well and Ben Bienvenu did too. Chance Rushing, Braylon Normand, and Conner Jordan got playing time and we’ll need them in the upcoming games.

“Offensively we played fairly well. Adam did a great job, going 15 of 16 throwing the ball very efficiently. He had command of the game. Our underneath game was really good. We got good running back play from Jaydyn Jackson.

“Cole Fisher had one of his better games. He’s a senior captain and he played a very good game up front offensively,” said York.

With a comfortable lead, the Tigers were able to spread around the work in the second half.

“A lot of kids got to play,” said York. “It’s always good to reward kids for their effort in practice, and get them game experience.”

Hosting the homecoming game on campus was everything York and the St. Mary’s administration hoped it would be.

“The atmosphere was great, with a lot of people out. To play that game on campus, have your graduates come back and see what we’re doing with the facilities at the school, show them where we want to go, was huge for the overall community of the school,” said York.

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