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It was one of those rare nights when almost everything went right.

Aquinas Catholic took advantage of special teams plays, ran the ball at a robust 8.3 yards per carry and posted its highest total in 14 years during an 83-14 road win Friday at Twin River.

Not since an 83-6 win over David City on Oct. 14, 2005 had a win included so many points.

The most recent included a 41-0 lead before Twin River finally found the end zone. Six different Monarchs scored the first six touchdowns and 11 Monarchs overall found the end zone. Kyle Napier was the only pone to score twice.

It was also the first game in which Napier started at halfback after beginning the season under center. Coach Ron Mimick mentioned last week after the loss to North Bend that a potential change was coming.

Though the offensive explosion over the Titans wont' likely be repeated any time this season, Napier clearly excelled in the backfield while Caleb Thege moved comfortably into the quarterback role.

"The first quarter, we only had about 100 yards of offense. We blocked a punt and had it at their 20 and scored, returned a punt to their 30 and scored, returned a punt to their 40 and scored, then after that they didn't have a lot of zip left," Mimick said. "We were a little bit more focused this week."

Mimick was somewhat critical of his team's attitude last week in a 13-0 loss at North Bend. It was the first loss of the season since a setback to Columbus Scotus in Week 1 and the first time Aquinas had been shutout in 11 years.

The Monarchs drove inside the Tiger 20 in each of their first three possessions but came away empty handed on a bad snap, fumble and mishandled snap.

Friday at Twin River, as Mimick indicated, there was no squandering opportunities.

With special teams, the offense was set up on Twin River's side of the 50 for multiple drives, the punt return team averaged 15 yards per return on five kicks and the kickoff team took one return back 84 yards for a score. When all the figures were added up, Aquinas put together 223 return yards on five punts and three kickoffs - an average of over 27 yards.

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Returns in the first quarter led to 28 points.

Thege capped the first drive with a 1-yard run, Caden Kozisek went in from 11 yards out, Craig Nickolite busted off a 27-yard touchdown and Napier covered 25 in a trip to the end zone.

Zach Pandorf opened the second quarter with a 32-yard catch and run from Thege and Keegan Lavicky ended a drive with a 12-yard for a 41-0 score before Twin River finished a drive with a 3-yard run.

If there were any remaining hopes for the Titans, and likely there were not still trailing by five touchdowns, they were extinguished when Napier ran the kickoff back.

John Prochaska caught a 13-yard Thege pass for a scored to finish the first half 55-7.

Michael Andel went in from two yards out early in the third, the Titans found the end zone once more then A.J. Oltmer (3), Konner Adamy (6) and Zander Kavan (23) all had touchdown runs.

No. 7 Aquinas finishes the season on Friday at home against No. 10 Shelby-Rising City (6-2) with the district title still up for grabs. The Monarchs need a win and a North Bend loss. North Bend can win it outright with a victory over Centennial. 

Several other factors could also allow Centennial or Shelby-Rising City to take the district crown.

All four of those teams just mentioned, barring a disaster of epic proportions, should make the 16-team postseason tournament.

"We knew that we did not play as well as we could (the week before). We shot ourselves in the foot," Mimick said. "Give them credit, but we were not quite ready to play the game. It's a lesson learned. We can be a better team because of losing to North Bend."

Nate Tenopir is the sports editor of the Banner-Press. Reach him via email at DVDsports@lee.net.

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