ELLIS — The Thomas More Prep-Marian football team hasn’t experienced the thrill of victory in nearly two years. The Monarchs changed that with a 38-16 win over Ellis High School on Friday, snapping a 12-game skid that dates back to the 2013 season.
“This has been a long time coming,” Monarch coach John Montgomery said. “The guys have battled through a tremendous amount of adversity, not only this year, but last year and into the previous year. They have stuck together, held together. That is what leads to evenings like tonight.”
“It’s great. I don’t even know how to feel. It’s been too long, too long,” senior T.J. Flax added. “The last time we won was my sophomore year, I barely played that year. It’s awesome.”
The night didn’t start well for the visiting Monarchs as Ellis sophomore Joseph Eck returned the opening kickoff to the TMP 35. The Railers converted on a fourth-and-five play to keep their opening series alive. TMP’s Nate Walters sacked Ellis junior quarterback Easton Smith for a 12-yard loss to force a third and goal from the 23-yard line. Smith, though, hit sophomore Ryan Herl for a 23-yard pass to put Ellis up 7-0.
Flax then scored on an 8-yard touchdown run to tie the game at seven. The rest of the first half belonged to Monarch senior Jared Schumacher.
He turned a short pass from quarterback Chase Romme into a 50-yard score.
“Chase did a good reading it and I just did my best to get up field,” Schumacher said.
On the next defensive series, Schumacher scooped up a fumble and raced 58 yards for a score.
“I saw it on the ground so I just picked it up. I knew I could get there so I just ran hard,” he said. Schumacher’s second score of the night increased TMP’s lead to 21-7.
The Railers looked as if they would get a touchdown late in the second quarter before Flax and fellow Monarch Luke Ruder tackled Ellis sophomore receiver Bryce Younger inside the 1-yard line on fourth and goal.
The Railers’ defense did sack Romme for a safety, though, to make it 21-9 at halftime.
Romme read the Railers defense perfectly in the second half as he scored on touchdown runs of 43 and 47 yards. Romme finished the night with 89 yards on the ground and 111 yards in the air.
“Chase did a better job of making good decisions. That is one of the reason the offense moved the ball better,” Montgomery said of his senior quarterback.
The Monarchs finished their scoring when sophomore Jace Rueschhoff hit a 27-yard field goal in the fourth. Rueschhoff also converted on all five extra points during the game.
After evening its season and Mid-Continent League record at 1-1, TMP will play host to Smith Center (2-0) for homecoming Friday.
“We are going to come into next week, give it everything we got, go harder than we did this week and execute our game plan,” Flax said.
The Railers’ lack of depth started to show late in the game.
Senior tight end Brendon Brenner missed the game due to illness. Ellis head coach Craig Amrein turned to his offensive line to bolster his aerial attack by moving Herl from the line to tight end.
“We changed jerseys on two or three kids this week, we had four guys switch position in the matter of a week,” Amrein said, “I put kids in the game that I thought would never end up in the game. Depth was a huge, huge issue.”
Ellis fell to 0-2 on the season and in MCL play with the loss. The Railers will look for their first win of the season when they travel to Abilene on Friday to face Maur Hill-Mount Academy.