The Sutton offense gashed Aquinas Catholic for four plays of 50 yards or more, scored on its first three possessions and advanced to the semifinals of the Class C-2 playoffs with a 46-21 win Nov. 2 in David City.
The Mustangs, who entered the night averaging 42 points per game, were four better than that thanks to huge performances by running back Brett Simonsen and quarterback Jackson Perrien.
Simonsen was the most dangerous with 244 yards rushing and five touchdowns on 22 carries. Perrien did most of his damage in the first half with 93 yards rushing and 98 through the air. He also added a 1-yard touchdown plunge in the second half.
The loss ends the Aquinas football season at 7-4. The Monarchs say goodbye to eight seniors.
The Mustangs move on to face Norfolk Catholic, 56-12 winners over St. Paul.
“They’re just a real good football team,” coach Ron Mimick said of Sutton. “They’re better in person. They’re a good, good team on film, but they’re so much better in person.
“I thought they were the second-most talented team we played next to Norfolk Catholic. They blocked us, they knew what they were doing, they executed well, just a real good football team.”
Sutton opened with seven plays covering 69 yards to take an 8-0 lead after Simonsen went in from 1 yard out then added the two-point conversion.
The 5-8, 180-pound senior started the game burning Aquinas nearly every time he touched the ball and never let up. He had runs of 12, 15 and 17 on the first drive alone.
The Monarchs answered with a 16-play drive that ate up over seven minutes of clock but came away empty on an incomplete pass in the back of the end zone.
Aquinas picked up solid gains on the drive of 12 by Kyle Napier, 11 by Zach Pandorf, nine more from Napier and eight from Andy Lyons but stalled at the Sutton 2.
A 3-yard loss on first down followed by a 4-yard rush then a 1-yard gain initially sent out the field goal team. A timeout by the Mustangs gave the Monarchs a chance to change their mind. When they returned to the field, they lined up to go for it and missed on a Nolan Hartman pass defended well in the back of the end zone.
Granted, the way Sutton moved the ball all night, one extra Aquinas touchdown may not have made a difference. But add that miss to also allowing a late touchdown in the first half after cutting the lead to 22-6 and perhaps there were more opportunities out there than the scoreboard indicated.
“I thought we could maybe move the ball on them, and we did. We left maybe one touchdown on the field, but otherwise, give them credit,” Mimick said. “We didn’t have a turnover. We didn’t have a lot of mistakes. We just got beat by a better football team that was playing well.”
Sutton used the momentum from the big stop to go almost the length of the field set up by a 42-yard catch on first down. Simonsen found the end zone again eight plays later, and a pass on the conversion attempt made it 16-0.
The Mustang defense then forced a three-and-out and the offense needed just four plays to score again, this time set up by a 56-yard pass play.
Aquinas finally generated some points with 2:54 left in the half thanks to Napier’s 28-yard touchdown pass to Michael Rerucha, but Sutton needed just three plays, the last a 53-yard run from Simonsen, to go back up by three scores as the teams headed for the locker room.
“We had one drive we didn’t finish. The rest we were OK. We just couldn’t get them off the field,” Mimick said. “They blocked our guys, got bodies on bodies and their running backs are good.
“They got a lot of space to work with.”
Aquinas marched the third quarter kick off down the field on a drive that took over six minutes and ended with Pandorf scoring from three yards out but still couldn’t find stops.
Sutton responded with a 10 play scoring drive for a 38-12 lead, Aquinas covered 66 yards in 10 plays to pull with three possessions at 38-18 then Simonsen broke another big one, this time 67 yards with 9:22 remaining in the game.
“They’re a little bigger and a lot older,” Mimick said. “We play six sophomores and six juniors and six seniors, and they play 10 seniors and only two or three sophomores and freshmen.”
Hartman, Rerucha, Lyons and five other seniors saw their Aquinas football careers come to an end: Miles Eggleston, Creighton Redler, Tad Naiberk, Zach Chromy and Jack Jakub.
Lyons led on the ground with nine carries and 62 yards while Pandorf had the high in carries with 16 and 44 yards. Chromy and Nolan Eller each had seven tackles.
Sutton outgained Aquinas 405-260 and averaged 9.4 yards per play compared to 4.6.
“Aquinas has a great tradition of football. It was just an honor to be a part of it,” Hartman said. “This season was really good. We lost our senior starting linebacker (Eggleston), we were really young and we started off 0-2, but it’s been a great year growing with all the young guys.”