Dallas Bishop Lynch 17
Eagle Football 35

The lethal weapon 3 of wrecking ball running back Johann Cardenas ‘24, undaunted quarterback Donte Lewis ‘24, and game-breaking receiver Luke Edgecomb ‘24 each took part in two touchdowns as undefeated St. Thomas won its 11th consecutive game to claim the regional crown. The state’s top-ranked private never trailed in advancing to the state semifinals for the second straight season and the third time in five years, along with 2015, 2014, and 2011.

Eagle Football will host Plano Prestonwood Christian Academy November 24 at 5:00 p.m. Eagle Football is aiming for its first state title tilt since a 38-28 defeat to San Antonio Central Catholic in 2001.

The raucous playoff success comes in the wake of the program’s first unbeaten regular season since 2013 and only the second since 1939.

The Eagles roared out of the bye week and slapped a so long baby goodbye that would have stirred The Blasters. A Lewis touchdown strike to Larry Benton III ‘24 ignited a 21-0 surge to close the third quarter and placed the proceedings comfortably out of reach. Critical interceptions from Demarcus Batiste ‘25 and Elijah Henry ‘25 led directly to touchdowns from Edgecomb and Cardenas for an insurmountable 35-10 count.

1.  In the pivotal third period, the Eagles were workin’, cookin’, and steamin’ as if the Miles Davis Quintet in fast-lane full-throttle fluidity (“Salt Peanuts” anyone?). A rapid piece of molten improvisation.

The dazzling dual-threat Lewis (Kansas St. baseball) returned after missing the closing seven quarters of the regular season. In the closing moments of the first half, QB1 dialed in Edgecomb (seven receptions for 119 yards) streaking alone through the middle of the field for their 15th tag-team touchdown and a 14-3 cushion. After Cardenas exploded for 33 yards in the first series after halftime, Lewis (16-22 for 203 yards) flashed a pair of strikes to Benton for 19 and 17 yards to finish the drive and stake a 21-10 lead. Benton now owns 10 scoring receptions.

2.  The quicksilver swipes from Batiste and Henry came in a furious flurry of three snaps for primo field position. Following the first takeaway, the daring Donte was dancing toward points when he fumbled into the end zone, only to have the opportunistic Edgecomb recover for the touchdown and 28-10.

3.  Cardenas (Vanderbilt verbal) smolders with a sense of purpose that can seem palpable. He dished a distinctive aperitivo to the proceedings with a third-down nine-yard scoring jolt to cap the opening possession.  Cardenas (25 carries for 125 yards) then served a savory sprezzatura digestivo to rival a beautiful, complex Sicilian amaro.  His short-range scoring plunge was the 23rd rushing touchdown of his slamdance senior season and stamped a commanding St. Thomas advantage into the final stanza.

4.  Bishop Lynch marched its first possession of the second half but Eagle Football flexed the most emphatic clamptown since The Clash. The ball-hawking Henry answered with an essential end zone breakup to deprive the Friars of a touchdown. Jack Reid ‘25 then racked a third-down sack before St. Thomas produced a fourth-and-20 stop to take over on downs.

5.  All told, the Friars would have had greater Friday night success searching for a lost pet in the middle of a Category Five hurricane. Or selling VCRs.

The knock raised Rich McGuire’s postseason record to 5-6 and 54-24 overall in his seventh season as head coach.

McGuire was the Touchdown Club of Houston Private Coach of the Year in 2020. He has guided Eagle Football to 23 regular season wins in its previous 24 games and now 18 victories in its previous 19 games at home. And since 2021, McGuire is 15-1 in the non-district with 11 straight triumphs.



The Eagles typically adhere to the once-upon-a-time Barry Switzer credo of quick hang-a-half-hundred school of Boomer Sooner domination.

St. Thomas piled at least 42 points in eight of its 10 regular-season wins. Outside the 28-13 verdict over Kinkaid that involved a 21-0 second-half breakout, Eagle Football pumped 48 points per game even with liberal substitution in five games during a six-week stretch.

Cardenas continues his grand slam return after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in October 2022. In eight scintillating regular-season starts, the earth-moving back romped, stomped, and bolted for 1,624 yards with 21 touchdowns, averaging a mammoth nine yards per carry and 203 yards an outing. The irrepressible Cardenas has gorged opponents for a career-best 275, 244, 178, 206, 159, 201, 165, and 196 yards with another 291 yards receiving.

In the assault are 77, 75, 48, 46, 42, 41, 31, and 23-yard touchdown gusts with 52, 50, 45, 41, 39, 36, and 24-yard scampers and a 19-yard scoring reception.

Before missing the regular-season finale and his abbreviated Week 10 outing, Lewis had orchestrated a myriad of mindnumbing highlights through an arsenal of awe-inspiring offense. His moxy was seen in a great understanding of protection and coverages. He was an accurate down-the-field thrower who didn’t risk the ball in jeopardy with the confidence to respond immediately to a broken play.

In pouring secret sauce all over a list of opponents, Lewis had scorching breakaway touchdowns of 91, 82, 81, 75, 69, 65, 61, 47, 46, 33, 31, and 31 yards plus rambling gains of 52, 49, 48, 37, and 35 yards. He owns a whomping worth of scoring throws for 77, 75, 72, 68, 63, 52, 50, 48, 43, 41, 35, 34 and 33 yards.

Lewis was turnover-free for seven-plus games and has a 27-2 TD-to-interception ratio (53-9 in his two-year Eagle career) with the only takeaways this season in Week 4.

To steal lyrics from the bygone rock & roll ages, Lewis is a gridworld wizard.

Ain’t seen nothing like him in any amusement hall

How do you think he does it? I don’t know!
What makes him so good?

Through nine-plus games, Lewis is scorching 72% (150-207) of his throws for 2,201 yards. His 142.5 rating includes an outrageous 16 yards per completion. He’s rushed for 817 yards and a stunning 17 yards per carry.

In addition to the weekly pyrotechnics from Lewis and Cardenas, Edgecomb averaged 15 yards per catch and 112 yards per game entering the playoffs while Benton was good for 19 yards a reception.  And Keenan Bonner ‘24 ripped 61 and 37-yard scoring sprees among his three touchdowns as a nuclear sub in the season-opener against St. John’s.

The dangerous array of weapons parlayed perfectly into the attack masterminded by offensive coordinator Matt Hudson.  He 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.

¡UNO!, ¡DOS!, ¡TRÉ!
The Eagles haven’t trailed since the 13-7 halftime deficit at Kinkaid in Week 6. They have led or been tied for 26 straight quarters. In the Week 1 rally to outlast  St. John’s, St. Thomas was down 49-47 into the fourth quarter and whipsawed a 16-0 salvo to prevail 63-49.

The unfriendly fire with Bishop Lynch was the eighth postseason mano a mano in the past since 13 seasons. St. Thomas previously posted victories in 2019, 2013, and 2011 in overtime.

Cardenas was ranked in the preseason among the state’s top 100 football recruits and vividly showcased in the 64th edition of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football, a prelude to his remarkable return from the ACL injury.

Inyo the postseason, St. Thomas was the no. 1 private in Texas in the final state rankings by Texas Football (10th straight poll in the top spot), the no. 1 TAPPS in the state by MaxPreps, and the wire-to-wire no. 1 private in Greater Houston by the Houston Chronicle.

Prior to the game, the precocious St. Thomas cross country crew was saluted for capturing the 2023 state championship, the Eagles’ first crown since 2004.

Acclaimed head coach Nathan Labus cashed the elusive team gold medal after a series of recent near misses. Eagle Cross Country took third place in 2022 and three consecutive runner-ups from 2018-20. Labus has also orchestrated Eagle Track and Field state titles in 2002, ‘03, ‘05, ‘16, ‘19, and ‘21 with back-to-back silver finishes in 2022 and 2023.

This is the fourth playoff meeting between the Eagles and Prestonwood Christian. St. Thomas was defeated in back-to-back state semifinals, 28-14 in 2014 in Groesbeck and 49-23 in the 2015 rematch in Palestine. PCS also prevailed in a home game to end the first campaign with McGuire in 2017.

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 signed in November to continue his student-athlete career at Kansas St.

GAMEDAY CENTRAL || State No. 1 Private Eagle Football Cashes District Title with Undefeated Regular Season

GAMEDAY CENTRAL || Colossal Cardenas ’24 Erupts and Undefeated State No. 1 Private Eagle Football Moves to 9-0

GAMEDAY CENTRAL || Undefeated State No. 1 Private Eagle Football Racks Record-Smashing Eighth Straight Win

GAMEDAY CENTRAL || Undefeated State No. 1 Private Eagle Football Cruises to Homecoming Win for 7-0

GAMEDAY CENTRAL || Undefeated State No. 1 Private Eagle Football Roars in District Opener for 6-0

GAMEDAY CENTRAL || Undefeated State No. 1 Private Eagle Football Storms to 5-0 Start

GAMEDAY CENTRAL || Undefeated State No. 1 Private Eagle Football Dominates for 4-0 Start

GAMEDAY CENTRAL || Undefeated Eagle Football Dazzles Behind Undaunted Donte Lewis ’24 and Johann Cardenas ’24 Duo

GAMEDAY CENTRAL || Lethal Lewis ’24-Benton ’24 Combo Ignites State No. 1 Eagle Football to Convincing 2-0 Launch

GAMEDAY CENTRAL || Eagle Football Enjoys Electric Season-Opening Explosion

Eagle Fight Never Dies!