When the hometown Gothernburg Swedes got a lucky break early in the Class C1 playoff game against visiting Aquinas, it was a brief respite from the touchdown flood.
The result was a 42-6 pounding by Aquinas(8-1), seeded No. 5 in the Class C1 playoffs. The win brought the Monarchs home to host No. 1 Norfolk Catholic(10-0) on Friday.
After the opening kickoff, Nolan Maguire had just rambled from the Aquinas 39 all the way to the Swedes’ 4-yard line before the ball came loose and the Swedes recovered.
The Swedes got another break, a facemask penalty against the Monarchs. Starting at the 14, however, on third down, Aquinas senior Tyler Vavrina intercepted a pass at the Swedes’ 21.
Five plays later Monarch quarteback Gavin Rech scored from a yard out. Then the Swedes couldn’t hold back the tide.
"We played very well," said Aquinas coach Ron Mimick. "We practiced well for the last 10 days. Our lines controlled both sides of the ball from the first series."
The quick-strike Monarchs used five interceptions and a fumble to get their offense on the field. Then they gobbled up 451 total yards, all but 24 coming on the ground. Kyle Petree led the Monarchs with 108 rushing yards and four players exceeded 50 yards rushing.
After the first touchdown, the Swedes gained two first downs, but Maguire put the Monarchs offense in business again before the first quarter ended when he picked off Swede quarterback Vincent Nichols’ pass at midfield.
In just three plays, the Monarchs were at the 1-yard line again, after Andy Lyons sprinted for a 42-yard-gain. Rech finished the drive with the second score.
A tough Aquinas defense halted the Swedes early in the second quarter, with the punt downed at midfield. The yardage came in chunks for the Monarchs, first with an 18-yard gain by Matt Nadrchal, then Gaven Rech’s 34-yard touchdown run.
The Swedes couldn’t gain traction. After they gained a first down with 10 minutes left in the first half, Aquinas defensive lineman Zach Chromy tackled the Swedes’ Evan Peterson, causing a fumble. Kyle Napier recovered at the Gothernburg 35.
This drive featured Andy Lyons’ rumble to the Swede’s 24, then Kyle Petree, taking it to the 8. From there, Tyler Vavrina caught Rech’s first touchdown pass, and the Monarchs led 28-0 with more than half of the second quarter remaining.
On the next drive, the Swedes finally crossed midfield, thanks to Vincent Nichols’ 18-yard run, followed by an 11 –yard run from Evan Peterson. With third and eight at the Aquinas 25, Tyler Vavrina picked off Nichols’ pass. A penalty put the ball back at the Aquinas 10.
The 90-yard drive for a touchdown included runs by committee again: Petree for runs of 33, 12 and 11 yards, Nadrchal for 14, Maguire for 9 and 4 yards. Rech, who started the drive with a five yard run, finished with a two yard score.
The Monarch defense spoiled the first Swede drive of the second half. After Maguire Bartlet hit Bennet Folkers for a 37-yard strike, the Swedes were at the Aquinas 27. Michael Coufal intercepted another Nichols pass, setting up another long drive for the Monarchs. Six plays later, Rech hit Vavrina for the 5-yard touchdown pass.
Leading 42-0 and getting reserves in the game, the Monarch defense still wasn’t done. Braden Smith halted the next Swede drive with an interception at the Aquinas 25.
The first Monarch punt came with 7:30 left in the game.
The Swedes avoided the shutout with a mid-fourth quarter drive, capped by Maguire Bartlett’s 8 yard scoring run.
Few teams have had the success in opening rounds that Aquinas has recorded. This win was the 21st out of 23 opening round games in the past 26 years, Mimick said.
Norfolk Catholic(10-0) defeated Wahoo Bishop Neumann 20-7 in the opening round. The Knights come to Butler County Memorial Field for the 7 p.m. kickoff.
October 27 at Gothenburg
Aquinas(8-1) 14 21 7 0 – 42
Gothenburg(7-3) 0 0 0 6 – 6
Team stats - Aquinas; Gothenburg
Rushing – 43-427; 33-168
Passing 3-3-24; 9-17-75
Total yards 451; 243
Passing: Aq: Rech2-2 13 2TD; G: V. Nichols 8-16 5 Int.
Rushing: Aq: Petree 12-108, Maguire 6-84, Nadrchal 5-82, Lyons 4-57, Rech 7-56 4TD.
Tackles(solo-assists) Aq: Eggleston 3-6, Kadlec 3-4, Siroky 3-2, Ruth 2-4, Maguire 2-3, Buresh 1-4. Chromy, Reiter 1-3, Nadrchal 2-0, Pandorf 0-5, Coufal, Petree, Vavrina 1-1, Rech 0-3