/notables/2019/10/johnnie-tommie-game

Johnnies leave St. Paul with trophy

More news about: St. John-s

ST. PAUL, Minnesota -- St. Thomas jumped out to an early 14-0 lead with two first-quarter touchdowns, but it was almost entirely St. John's the rest of the way as the No. 4 Johnnies rallied past the No. 11 Tommies, 38-20.

The game was played in front of 19,508 at Allianz Field in St. Paul, the home of Minnesota United of MLS. It marked the 89th meeting of these two teams, who have seen their rivalry grow incredibly in size. Seven of the 10 current highest-attended games in NCAA Division III football history are Johnnie-Tommie games.

It was the second consecutive win in the series for St. John's. The Johnnies and Tommies have split the past eight games.

St. John's finally got to take home the Holy Grail, the trophy which was introduced into the rivalry earlier this century. St. Thomas neglected to bring it to Collegeville in 2018, and the Johnnies patiently waited for a chance to get it again.

The Holy Grail finally changed hands.
Photo by Scott Pierson, d3photography.com
 
 
Tommy Fuller got the pick for St. Thomas in the first quarter, setting up UST's first touchdown. 
Photo by Caleb Williams, d3photography.com
 

The Tommies took advantage of two short drives to build their early lead. St. Thomas linebacker Tommy Fuller picked off a deflected ball at the SJU 39. Tommy Dolan then hit a couple of slants on the ensuing drive, one to Grant Slavik in the end zone for a 7-0 lead. After a three-and-out, St. Thomas (4-2, 3-1 MIAC) took over at the Johnnie 46 and Josh Parks broke through for a 32-yard touchdown run to make it 14-0 just 11 and a half minutes in. But SJU quarterback Jackson Erdmann drove the Johnnies 75 yards, including finding Kenneth Udoibok all alone in the flat. He followed the block of Ravi Alston all the way to the end zone to cut the lead to 14-7 on the final snap of the first quarter.

"Less than ideal start coming out," Erdmann said. "But it's nothing we haven't seen. It was a tough deflected ball, interception, tough field position for our defense, but we knew we were going to come out and just do our stuff once we got clicking."

St. Thomas missed on a chance to add to its lead when Vinny Pallini missed a 37-yard field goal attempt wide right. St. John's jumped on it, with Erdmann hitting tight end Jack Kemper for a 50-yard catch and run down the right sideline to get into UST territory. An Alston catch got the Johnnies to the 7, Kai Barber plowed his way for 6 yards and Henry Trost dove in for a touchdown to cut the lead to 14-13 just before halftime.

Erdmann, who was 14-for-24 passing for 228 yards in the first half, came out firing in the third quarter as well. The Johnnies drove 75 yards, all of them through the air, to take the lead for the first time at 19-14. St. Thomas answered immediately, as Josh Parks ripped off a 67-yard touchdown run and the Tommies regained the lead, 20-19, but it didn't last. Erdmann led the Johnnies on another drive, hitting receivers Matt Mohr, T.J. Hodge and Ravi Alston before putting the ball in the hands of Kai Barber. A 6-1, 220 pound senior, Barber broke through for a 29-yard touchdown run to give the Johnnies a 25-20 lead which they would not relinquish.

"I thought Jackson did a great job of finding a lot of different people," said St. John's coach Gary Fasching. "We had four sophomores out there at wide receiver today. For those young guys to rise to the occasion like they did was a real treat to see."

Erdmann was 18-for-23 for 228 yards and two touchdowns in the second half, finishing with 456 yards through the air on the day. 

Parks led St. Thomas with 13 carries for 147 yards and two touchdowns on the afternoon. It was his 18th 100-yard game. 

 

St. John's had a huge second half, scoring the final 19 points in a 38-20 win vs. St. Thomas.
Photo by Caleb Williams, d3photography.com
 
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