Aquinas football failed to find any rhythm on offense and couldn't come up with important stops during Friday's 27-19 season-opening loss, the second loss in a row to Scotus.
The Monarchs rushed for 138 yards on 40 carries, and threw for 64 yards, but couldn't over come the Shamrocks' 406 yards of offense.
Scotus raced out to a 13 point lead before Aquinas scored 19 unanswered and led 19-13 at halftime.
But the Rocks scored the next 14 on long drives in the third and fourth quarter.
Scouts senior quarterback Tyler Palmer ran for 146 yards on 20 carries and two touchdowns while senior running back Eric Mustard ran for 145 yards on 24 carries.
"I was not overly surprised," Aquinas head coach Ron Mimick said. "They have a good chunk of their offensive line back and they have a very tough running back in the Mustard kid and a difference maker at the quarterback. When you put that together, and they knew what they were doing really well, they’re able to get first downs.
"They’re able to make plays. That’s a compliment to them, that’s not easy to do. They did it consistently. We could have played better at times on defense, a little more aggressively in possessions. That’s the first game of the year. We were not able to stop their execution."
Scotus scored just over a minute into the game when Palmer connected with senior receiver Dalton Borchers on a 46-yard pass to take a 6-0 lead.
After a three-and-out, Scotus scored in less than a minute when Palmer took off on a designed quarterback draw 70 yards to give the Shamrocks a 13-0 lead.
Later in the first quarter, junior defensive lineman Rylan Chromy partially blocked a punt and set up his offense at the Scotus 7.
Junior quarterback Kyle Napier found running back Keegan Lavicky for a 3-yard touchdown pass, cutting the lead to 13-7.
On the following possession, junior linebacker Nolan Eller picked off a pass from Palmer and took it 64 yards for a touchdown and a 13-13 tie following a missed kick.
About halfway through the second quarter, Lavicky recovered a fumble at the 30-yard line.
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Aquinas used five plays and the short field to score off of a 1-yard Napier touchdown run to take a 19-13 lead.
Aquinas received the ball to start the second half but turned it over on downs at the 20 after a five-minute drive.
Scotus proceeded to put together a six-minute march in 16 plays capped by a 1-yard run by Palmer, giving Scotus a 20-13 lead.
After an 11-play, five minute drive, Aquinas turned the ball over on downs again, this time at the 40.
With 7:41 left in the game, Scotus went 60 yards in 12 plays and used five minutes of game clock.
Palmer found sophomore wide receiver Garrett Oakley on a 15-yard touchdown pass, taking a 27-19 lead with 2:21 left in the game.
Scotus chose to go for it on fourth-and-5, committed two false starts, but still found a way with Palmer scrambling around in the backfield.
Aquinas started its final possession on its 42 after senior running back Caden Kozisek returned the kickoff.
Napier and the Monarchs drove down the field to the 18, but a last-second heave was broken up at the goal line with no time remaining.
"We played seven sophomores, eight juniors and six seniors," Mimick said. "Sometimes it can take a while for the offense to get going because there’s so many nuances. With those seven sophomores, it still takes a little while to get the nuances of the game and the speed of the game. We have probably seven or eight plays that were blocked well, except for one missed block. That would have helped dramatically."
Aquinas is in action next at 7 p.m. on Friday at home against No. 8 Norfolk Catholic. The Monarchs slid back to No. 4 in C-2 after starting the season at No. 2, according to the Lincoln Journal Star.
Peter Huguenin is a sports reporter for The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at DVDsports@lee.net