WEEK 2 – RAIDER STADIUM, LUMBERTON
Eagle Football 35
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Play-making magician Donte Lewis ‘24 (verbal Kansas St. baseball) mesmerized for the second straight Friday night, unleashing an offensive barrage with receiver Larry Benton III ’24 that produced five, count ‘em, five touchdowns for a second straight double-digit victory to begin the St. Thomas season.
The Eagles never trailed in the road opener, expanding the margin to 21-6 at halftime and 28-13 with less than six minutes remaining in the third quarter.
The deadly Lewis-Benton duo (8 connections for 221 yards) sealed the outcome in the final four minutes with an arcing 31-yard pitch-and-catch through the right seam for their fifth and final scoring strike.
Benton immediately answered a Lumberton third-period touchdown, taking a sudden strike from Lewis in the right flat, quick-twitching inside, and roaring uncontested for a 41-yard score and 28-13.
Amazingly, despite repeatedly and brazenly burning overwhelmed isolation coverage, Benton broke free yet again. He proudly planted a 31-yard exclamation point on a career-best night, raising the count to 35-20 inside four minutes.
FRIDAY NIGHT FIVE
1. Lewis and Benton flashed their lethal tag-team combination on the game’s first series. After play action from the Lumberton 30, QB1 spotted Benton cutting underneath from the right outside receiver slot. He made a clean grab and cut up the middle of the turf untouched to cap a 75-yard drive.
2. On the next St. Thomas possession, Lewis (16-27 for 319 yards and 366 total yards) danced for days in the pocket, rolled left against the short side, reversed away from annoying pressure, and finally fired a dart to Benton crossing alone for a 15-yard score and 14-6.
3. With less than four minutes to go before halftime, Lewis continued to exploit the Eagle’s most glaring advantage. Benton escaped from a three-receiver stack on the right sideline and roamed 75 yards with an easy grab to the brink of the end zone. The 13-yard payoff was a simple down-and-out cut to the right pylon for the third touchdown connection of the night and 21-6.
4. Surging receiver Luke Edgecomb ‘24 caught six passes for 95 yards and stacked 206 all-purpose yards in the wake of his four-touchdown extravaganza in the Week 1 pyrotechnic show over St. John’s. His 44-yard snag fueled the second Lewis-Benton scoring assault.
5. Sledgehammer linebackers Tyler Day ‘24 and Cooper Davis took part in 21 tackles. Terror in the trenches Michael-Anthony Okura ‘24 (verbal Cal) contributed 1.5 sacks and a tackle of minus yardage.
ROCKIN’ THE FILLMORE
The victory raised McGuire’s record to 44-24. He was named following the win among Coaches of the Week presented by the Texas National Guard by Dave Campbell’s Texas Football.
VENI VIDI VICIOUS
The second consecutive win in the series (42-24 in 2022) is the third straight 2-0 launch to the season for St. Thomas, the most robust starting streak since raking four straight wins from 2012-14.
SMELLS LIKE TEEN SPIRIT
Benton’s mind-numbing night placed him among Week 2 outstanding performers by the Houston Chronicle and earned Player of the Week by Texas Private School Football.
STATE OF PLAY
The Eagles are two games into the season, and it’s already hard to calibrate what is too much praise for Lewis. Through eight quarters he’s already part of 11 touchdowns, completing 62% of his passes for 701 yards while averaging more than 13 yards a carry. With zero turnovers. Lewis gives St. Thomas a chance against anybody. The Eagles will need more than QB1 to achieve their ultimate goal but this quarterback puts everything on the table for St. Thomas.
Even without rugged running back recruit Johann Cardenas ‘24 (verbal Vanderbilt) out of the gate, the Eagles are flush with talent and increased experience. A classic no. 1 receiver may still emerge (think Cameron Bonner ‘21 [Baylor] or Cameron Price ‘22 [Yale]) but St. Thomas enjoys a diverse group led by the rich tandem of Edgecomb and Benton. And the quarterback knows it, meaning there will be mismatches and the most impactful ones don’t always require your best player. The hunch is the offensive line will improve week after week. The running game remains a committee effort until Cardenas returns.
The defense adjusted well from Week 1, preventing gash-the-middle runs and over-the-top explosives but still must create more havoc, force more turnovers, batted balls, sacks, and tackles for loss. Thunder-foot kicker Michael Taylor ‘26 is a hidden yardage advantage and special teams coverage protector, forcing opponents to habitually begin post-kickoff series at their 25-yard line.
¡UNO!, ¡DOS!, ¡TRÉ!
Eagle Football notched touchdowns on its first four possessions.
Eagle Football was turnover-free for the second straight game.
The game was streamed by KPRC 2 as part of its Big Game Coverage.
BIG BAM BOOM
St. Thomas is now the no. 1 ranked private in Texas by Texas Football, the number two private in the state by MaxPreps, and the no. 1 private in Greater Houston by the Chronicle.
COVERING ALL THE BASES
Lewis was featured in the Hank Aaron Invitational, a showcase game at Truist Park in Atlanta in July capping two weeks of competition, coaching, and evaluation at the Jackie Robinson Training Complex in Vero Beach.
Lewis was among an elite group of 44 players invited for the exclusive event, powered by the MLB-MLBPA Youth Development Foundation and in partnership with USA Baseball. Lewis then gave his verbal commitment to continue his student-athlete career at Kansas St.
Following the open week, the Eagles will host Austin Regents, a perennial championship contender from the TAPPS Division II ranks. In 2020, the Knights scored on a 69-yard interception return on the game’s final play to dramatically take the state title after four straight runner-up finishes.
Eagle Fight Never Dies!