The Thomas More Prep-Marian football team on Friday found out for sure what was already pretty much known — Beloit is a far better team than its record shows.
After seven straight wins, the Monarchs ran into a buzzsaw in the Trojans, who entered with a deceiving 2-6 record against tough competition.
Beloit kept the ball away from the Monarchs for the majority of the first half with the ground-and-pound and started breaking away in the second quarter en route to a 55-14 win over TMP in the first round of the Class 2A playoffs on Friday night at Lewis Field Stadium.
"They’re a very good football team, and I’ve been telling the guys all week that record is deceiving," TMP coach Jay Harris said of the Trojans. "When it comes down to district play, everybody’s 0-0 and you go to step onto the field and you got to play."
Beloit opened with a methodical 8-minute drive. Anthony Henke took a double handoff and scored on an 8-yard run. After a TMP turnover on downs, Benson Berndt scored on a 3-yard run, and the ensuing kick bounced off a TMP player and the Trojans recovered.
The Trojans pushed it to 20-0 when Brycn Corbett hauled in a 14-yard touchdown pass from Owen Eilert on fourth-and-goal.
The Monarchs got on the board with Kade Harris’ 10-yard touchdown pass to Andrew Schwartz with 1:10 left in the second quarter. Two 15-yard defensive penalties by the Monarchs helped Beloit march down the field before halftime, and Eiltert hit Tristan Thompson for a 36-yard touchdown with 20 seconds left.
TMP had just three possessions in the first half.
"It was just a night where we were out of our flow and they controlled (the clock) early, and our offense just wasn’t on the field enough," TMP coach Jay Harris said. "Just made it hard for us to get anything going and then some penalties disrupted everything and made it tough."
Berndt had rushing touchdown runs of 61 and 60 yards after halftime. He finished with 267 yards on the ground and three TDs.
"Their line did a really good job," Harris said. "It was a little different type of offense, a lot of guys leading through the hole. We just didn’t have guys stepping up there able to make a tackle."
The Trojans forced five TMP turnovers including four interceptions, with Jackson Rexroat scoring on a pick-six.
Harris had 120 yards rushing for the Monarchs.
TMP, district champions, finished with a 7-2 record for its best season since 2002, when the Monarchs went 9-4.
TMP had nine seniors on its roster — Jace Lang, Ian Chui, Michael Gross, Zach Meis, Hunter Flax, Garrett Pfeifer, Aakash Patel, Marcus Lagree and Jacob Sack.
"I told them, ’You’ve got to be proud of what you’ve done,’ " Jay Harris said. "Be happy for the seniors, they’ve done a really good job this year, helping turn things around. They’re just a great group of guys to be around. Very respectful. I’m going to miss them."
The Monarchs will return a strong nucleus for next year.
"They’ve got to buy in to working hard in the summer, get in the weight room," Harris said. "Work hard in the summer and be ready to come in when we get ready to get rolling next year."
Beloit will play at Phillipsburg in the second round next week.