The Aquinas football season came to an end after a loss in the second round of the playoffs against Sutton 46-21.
Aquinas got into a hole early, trailing 22-0 in the second quarter. The Monarchs drew as close as 38-18 in the fourth quarter.
The defeat came after a win over Doniphan-Trumbull 38-14 in the first round of the playoffs.
The Monarchs other victories came against Hartington Cedar Catholic, Ponca, David City, North Bend Central, Twin River and Shelby-Rising City.
Aquinas was defeated by Scotus, Norfolk Catholic and Centennial during the regular season.
With the 2018 season over, Aquinas is already looking toward 2019. With eight returning starters on both sides of the ball, the Monarchs have a lot to build from.
"We got a lot of experience back," said head coach Ron Mimick. "We have a lot of kids do stuff in the offseason, they play basketball, they wrestle, they run track, they continue to do what they're doing and we hit the weight room like we normally do. We'll probably be a notch or two better next year, just because we have the sophomore class, we had six starters out of that class."
Aquinas will be losing some noticeable seniors. Nolan Hartman, Miles Eggleston, Michael Rerucha, Andy Lyons, Tad Naiberk, Creighton Redler, Jack Jakub and Zach Chromy have all finished their high school football career.
"Aquinas has got a great tradition in football and it's just an honor to be part of it," Hartman said. "This season was really good. We lost our senior starting linebacker (Eggleston), we were young then, started out 0-2, but it's been a great year growing with all the young guys."
Going into the season, there was some question about how the Monarchs would perform this year with some new faces in starting roles.
"Going into this year we really didn't know what to expect," Hartman said. "We had a lot of young guys playing. I think we really exceeded what everyone thought we could do.
"We had a tough schedule, so I think people were just hoping we could make playoffs, but we got in and are a top-10 team. We just kept grinding. We knew what we had, so we just played with what we had and coaches knew what we had so they got us prepared in the best ways that they could."
With the resume that Aquinas put together, they should find themselves ranked at the end of the season.
"We had six sophomores start for us, six juniors, and six seniors, so we have two-thirds of our team back," Mimick said. "Our kids really did a good job, they won a playoff game, and we’ll end up ranked. They really matured a lot. The seniors did a good job in leadership and they all became better football players."
The returning juniors coming back for 2019 are Caden Kozisek, Braden Smith, Zach Pandorf, Owen Schramm and Konner Adamy.
Aquinas will get a chance to avenge one of it's 2018 losses in the season opener of 2019, hosting Scouts Central Catholic on August 30, 2019.
Peter Huguenin is a sports reporter for the Banner-Press. Reach him via email at DVDsports@lee.net