By TOM WREDE / UST Sports Information
St. Thomas Football closed out its regular season with a 73-7 victory over St. Olaf Saturday at Palmer Field.
The No. 4-ranked Tommies clinched the solo MIAC championship for the fifth time in the last seven years.
Saturday was also Senior Day 2016 as the program honored 26 seniors before kickoff.
"Our class is extremely hardworking; it's fun to watch how much we've grown these last four years, how much effort we give and the pride we have, it's amazing to watch," said senior defensive lineman Micah Hausman.
Some seniors, like Hausman and offensive linemen Sean Scharlau, had to be patient to get a starting spot on the field, but that time payed off.
"I'm astonished and it's awesome that we're able to carry the legacy of past senior groups that have had good records, I'm happy we could build upon that," Scharlau said.
For Hausman and Scharlau's teammate, senior defensive linemen Luke Hermann, it was a particularly spectacular day to get on the field .
Hermann has been battling Hodgkin's Lymphoma this year, with chemotherapy treatments in summer and fall. But the Cretin-Derham Hall grad got to play a couple of snaps for the first time in 2016. It looked as if he hadn't missed a beat.
"It was an amazing experience, it was fun to get out with the guys and great way to finish out the regular season," Hermann said.
His class now has a 40-6 overall record -- one of the best in program history among all senior classes.
"It's a crazy experience and hard to believe," Hermann said, "it's cool to have won all those games. It shows how close and how much we've grown as a class together."
The Tommie defense collected 15 tackles for loss, a pair of sacks and a fumble recovery.
They consistently pressured the Ole's quarterbacks, allowing minus-seven net rushing yards and 131 passing yards on the day.
The Tommie offensive line, on the other hand, gave plenty of time for their quarterback Alex Fenske to scan the field. Fenke finished with 187 yards in the air and two touchdown passes.
"(We've) become tight after the first 10 weeks; this has helped us in the long run," Scharlau said, "the last couple of weeks we've been really fortunate to get going and have running backs hit their stride, as well."
Pallini, a freshman, even added his own PAT, kicking the ball through the uprights, after his long touchdown run.
The Tommies' first-round matchup in NCAA playoffs will be determined Sunday at 5 p.m.
"We need to keep working on building ourselves like we have every week and try to be the best we can be," Hermann said.
Scharlau shared the same outlook as the team tries to extend its impressive 2016 run.
"We're ready to get going next week," he said, "it doesn't matter who we're facing, we're going to do our thing, and hopefully get back to Virginia."