Thomas TD lifts Marlington to comeback win over Aquinas

Mike Popovich
Updated: Saturday, September 8, 2012
Marlington running back Dymonte Thomas rushed for 166 yards and the g-ahead TD with 4:18 left in the Dukes' 17-14 win Friday over St. Thomas Aquinas.  REPOSITORY BOB ROSSITER<br /><div id="dfp-300x250" style="float:right;"><script type="text/javascript">googletag.display("dfp-300x250");</script></div>
Marlington running back Dymonte Thomas rushed for 166 yards and the g-ahead TD with 4:18 left in the Dukes' 17-14 win Friday over St. Thomas Aquinas. REPOSITORY BOB ROSSITER

LOUISVILLE  One Marlington penalty cost Dymonte Thomas a go-ahead touchdown.

There were no mistakes the next time the University of Michigan recruit touched the ball. A valuable lesson was learned.

Thomas’ 27-yard touchdown run and 2-point conversion with 4:15 left helped lead the Dukes to a 17-14 win over St. Thomas Aquinas at Sirpilla Stadium.

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The 6-foot-1, 190-pound senior broke a tackle and raced into the end zone as Marlington (3-0) came from behind for the first time this season.

“I saw a hole and cut back,” Thomas said. “I know No. 5 (Knights defensive back Bryan Wilkins), he’s a good athlete, but they had a good block out there for me. When I went to bounce out and cut it in, No. 5 came at me, I threw a little stiff arm and just had to get to the end zone. I smelled it.”

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A holding penalty on the previous drive wiped out Thomas’ 35-yard touchdown and led to Marlington turning the ball over on downs. The Dukes then forced Aquinas to turn the ball over on downs, and Thomas’ 26-yard run jump-started their winning drive.

Thomas rushed for 63 yards on the go-ahead possession and finished with 166 yards on 19 carries.

“For us to play well, Dymonte has to play great,” Marlington head coach Ed Miley said. “But great players should play great.”

The Dukes were not out of the woods after Thomas scored the go-ahead TD.

Aquinas (2-1) marched 37 yards in nine plays and faced fourth-and-4 from the Marlington 28. The Knights went for it on fourth down inside their own territory twice earlier in the second half and converted.

But this time Shawn Kirk, off to a great start in his first year as the Dukes’ quarterback, responded with the defensive play of the night. His open-field tackle of Aquinas’ Josiah Moore stopped the Knights short.

“Shawn is an athlete,” Thomas said. “... Coach says when it’s your call, you just have to go out there and make a play.

“That was Shawn’s call. He saw the pitch and went up and tackled him.”

A Friday afternoon thunderstorm delayed the start of the game for an hour. A double rainbow appeared shortly before the two teams came out to warm up at 7 p.m., the scheduled start time.

Thomas’ 2-yard touchdown run was the only scoring in the first half. The extra point was missed.

After Kirk kicked a 25-yard field goal early in the third quarter to give the Dukes a 9-0 lead, the Knights battled back.

Wilkins’ 6-yard run on fourth-and-1 from the Aquinas 45 gave the Knights hope. His 44-yard run set up Anthony Moeglin’s 6-yard TD pass to Joel Rich, which cut Marlington’s lead to 9-7.

After a Marlington fumble, Aquinas struck again on fourth down. Moore’s 57-yard TD run on fourth-and-2 from his own 43 gave the Knights the lead.

It held up until Thomas and the Dukes rallied late.