WEEK 7 – HOtZE FIELD INSIDE GRANGER STADIUM
San Antonio Central Catholic 20
Eagle Football 49
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Rambunctious running back Johann Cardenas ‘24 (verbal Vanderbilt) starred in a 231-yard rampage with three touchdowns and his tag-team partner in pyrotechnics Donte Lewis ‘24 (verbal Kansas St. baseball) delivered three touchdowns, including a pair of scoring strikes to Luke Edgecomb ‘24. The St. Thomas sledgehammer defense dictated the major moments as undefeated Eagle Football debuted the district race with a crushing rout for its sixth consecutive double-digit triumph of the season.
The Eagles administered a stop, rip, and roll to make J Roddy Walston & The Business rock with approval. A 42-point explosion over the second and third quarters thrusted the no. 1 state private by Dave Campbell’s Texas Football to 6-0 for the second straight season.
Cardenas bulldozed five times in a 10-play touchdown drive late in the first half that featured a 30-yard romp inside the red zone and the final two yards to bump the count to 21-3.
In the final minute before halftime, Central Catholic chose to dance with the devil in the pale moon light. An ill-advised pass from inside its own 10-yard was stolen by ball-hawking defensive back Aron Valentine ‘24. He cruised 24 yards on the return and St. Thomas took command 28-3.
Cardenas then imposed his considerable will and skill to open the third period and sealed the mismatch. He took a straight handoff from Lewis, erupted into the next level, and steamed down the left hash marks unbothered to the end zone for 35-6.
The Buttons would have had better luck trying real Solitaire, having real fun, winning REAL MONEY.
FRIDAY NIGHT FIVE
1. The Eagles flashed as much teenage fun and frolic to rival the 2003 MTV Spring Break showcasing Gwen Stefani, 50 Cent, Missy Elliott, Fat Joe, Mandy Moore, All-American Rejects (black skinny jeans and guyliner), Hilarie Burton, and Mr. Agent Cody Banks himself Frankie Muniz rocking a John Mayer T-shirt (two words: Sony. Camcorder).
2. Lewis (213 total yards) is a weekly thermal lightning rod poised to repeatedly strike. He closed the second offensive series faking to Cardenas at the Central Catholic 31-yard line, bolting into the middle of a muddling defense, darting to the right sideline, and breaking oh-so-bad it was good past four tacklers before jogging the final steps for 14-3.
3. The opening drive served up an ab Lewis toss on the move into the right flat that Cardenas one-handed for a nifty 20-yard pitch-and-catch. On the next snap, Lewis (13-16, 163 yards, two touchdowns) whipped a quick fling to Edgecomb after he crossed in motion from right-to-left for an easy jaunt to the end zone.
4. The aggressive Eagles routine attack with purpose following a quick change possession. After a third-quarter fumble recovery from head-hunting linebacker Tyler Day ‘24 (his second in two games), Lewis immediately cashed in with his favorite target. Edgecomb (8-126 yards, two touchdowns) burned isolated coverage to the post for 48 yards and gathered his eighth scoring reception of the season.
5. Cardenas (13-201 yards) is an attitude runner with enough make-you-miss moves, bursting through creases and staying balanced at contact. He’s never content, offers any-down potential, and closed out the curb stomp with an effortless rupture to the right sideline for 77 yards and the longest scoring run of his abbreviated season.
In his grand four-game return since tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee the previous October, Cardenas has racked 744 yards rushing, averaging more than nine yards per carry, with eight touchdowns plus 202 receiving yards.
VENI VIDI VICIOUS
Eagle Football pumped and pounded a tenacious D that would have made Jack Black and Kyle Gass stomp with rock-steady delight.
War-daddies Day, Dominic Ori ‘24, Trace Langin ‘25, and Cooper Davis ‘25 took part in a combined 32 takedowns. The crew continues the biggest big beat strong since the three-chord mayhem of The Woggles.
In the most recent three-game stretch, St. Thomas has allowed but one meaningful touchdown minus cosmetic scores in oversized outcomes. When the game was to be determined, the Eagles stymied Central Catholic on two red zone opportunities in the first half surrendering but three points.
Offensive coordinator Matt Hudson adheres to the adage that roughly half a dozen explosive opportunities are available per game and elite outfits must capitalize on the vast majority to achieve championship-contending status.
His high-octane machine is a visual razzmatazz one might expect from a biopic written and directed by Christopher Nolan (think Oppenheimer and its molecular light show as a reflection of the hero’s inner spirit). The Eagles incinerated Central Catholic with a four-play drive for 7-0, a six-play drive for 14-3, a one-play outburst for 42-6, and a three-play detonation for 49-6.
Lewis now has scorching breakaway touchdowns worth 81, 75, 69, 65, 61, 33, 31 and 31 yards. In addition to the latest payoffs with Edgedomb are scoring throws of 77, 75, 72, 63, 52, 50, 41, 35, and 33 yards plus gains of 52, 49, 48, and 37 yards.
Through seven games, Lewis is completing a sizzling 69% (100-145) for 1,456 yards with an outrageous 15 yards per completion and 18 touchdowns while roaming for 526 yards and a stunning 18.3 per carry with eight scores.
Also in the assault are a 75-yard touchdown gust from Cardenas and a 61-yard scoring surge from Keenan Bonner ‘24. Edgecomb is averaging 15 yards per catch, and Larry Benton III ‘24 18 yards.
ROCKIN’ THE FILLMORE
The fourth home victory of 2023 raised Rich McGuire’s record to 48-24 in his seventh season as head coach. The Eagles are 1-0 in their immediate goal of recapturing kingpin superiority in a district St. Thomas has dominated since 2018 with a 22-2 record.
McGuire has guided Eagle Football to 19 regular season wins in its previous 20 games and 15 victories in its previous 16 games in the friendly confines of Hotze Field in Granger Stadium. The consecutive 6-0 starts are the strongest opening streaks since 2013 when St. Thomas staged an undefeated regular season, the program’s first since 1939. Since 2021, McGuire is 14-1 in the non-district with 10 straight knocks.
SMELLS LIKE TEEN SPIRIT
The Eagles seized their second straight emphatic win in the series. It’s the seventh victory in the previous eight games against the Buttons and the fourth victory with at least 35 points.
In 2021, Cardenas served as the catalyst for a 35-18 road wipeout with three touchdowns while the ever-dangerous Donte dialed two fourth-quarter scoring lasers to receiver Shaffer Henderson ‘23.
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, EAGLE STYLE
¡UNO!, ¡DOS!, ¡TRÉ!
The curb-stomping was live streamed by KPRC 2 as part of its Big Game Coverage and served as the Game of the Week on ABC 13.
Eagle Football offered a moment of silence prior to kickoff in the memory of former Central Catholic head coach Mike Santiago who died in August after a battle with cancer. He was 68 years old. Santiago was an assistant coach at Texas State, then Southwest Texas St., from 1987-1989. He became a head coach for the first time when he took over Stephen F. Austin in 1999 and was the first head coach at Incarnate Word, leading the program from 2009 to 2011.
Cardenas was ranked in the preseason among the state’s top 100 football recruits and vividly showcased in the 64th edition of Texas Football only eight months removed from the ACL injury.
BIG BAM BOOM
St. Thomas is the Week 8 no. 1 private in Texas by Texas Football (sixth straight poll in the top spot) and MaxPreps, and the no. 1 private in Greater Houston by the Houston Chronicle and Houston VYPE.
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, Florida.
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 verbally committed to continue his student-athlete career at Kansas St.
The Eagles’ annual Homecoming contest renews a head-to-head matchup with Tomball Concordia Lutheran that St. Thomas has dominated with ease. The Grand Canyon-esque gap reads 12 overwhelming runaways in 13 tries by a combined margin of 420-124.
Last season, the irrepressible Cardenas roared for 158 rushing yards on only 16 carries with four touchdowns in a 35-7 thrashing for a seventh straight win to begin the season.
In 2021, only 22 plays were needed on the first six St. Thomas possessions to produce a flood of points. Flame-throwing Jake Wright ‘22 (Pittsburg State) blistered TCL for four touchdown passes to cap a record-smashing regular season. The 45-0 bruising earned a share of a fourth straight district title after three straight undefeated championships.
Eagle Fight Never Dies!