The Wasps (2-2) moved the ball inconsistently and tackled inconsistently against a balanced offensive attack from Thomas More (5-1), which took a 41-27 win at Fred Selfe Stadium.
“Missed tackles was a key to our demise on defense. We missed too many tackles,” said Emory & Henry coach Curt Newsome. “Then we needed to be a little more consistent on offense and keep our defense off the field.”
MORE OFFENSE FROM PITTS
Hjavier Pitts proved to be the biggest challenge to the Wasps’ defense.
The senior finished with 204 yards and two touchdowns — including the final dagger for the Saints — on 21 carries.
Pitts ran for a 63-yard touchdown in the second quarter, and his 35-yard score with just under four minutes to play in the game put Thomas More up by 21.
“We didn’t tackle him. He made good plays and he’s a good football player. We knew it going in. He’s a senior that’s played a lot of football,” Newsome said. “He had 700 yards coming into this game. We knew we had to stop him and we didn’t.”
Junior quarterback Justin Post provided the balance through the air, connecting on 9 of 18 passes for 168 yards and two touchdowns.
SPREADING THE SCORING AROUND
Three receivers caught touchdown passes for the Saints, including Jaeison Jefferson, who pulled in a 12-yard pass from backup quarterback Hunter Fentress less than two minutes into the game.
Emory & Henry answered on its first drive with a 1-yard TD run from Tyree Ward. But the Wasps could not keep pace in the scoring category.
Thomas More scored twice more in the first quarter, getting a 33-yard field goal from Cole Mathias and a 27-yard pass from Post to Logan Winkler, to take a 17-7 lead.
Matt Seals hit a 22-yard field goal right before the halftime to pull the Wasps to within 24-13, and they cut into the lead even more in the third quarter when Derrick Yates scored on a 30-yard pass play from Hunter Taylor.
E&H was within 24-20 with 10:12 left in the third quarter but couldn’t get any closer, the offense stagnating after the score.
“At certain moments we were pretty good and at other times we weren’t so good,” Newsome said. “We continue to battle the third-down battle and need to do better on that and just be more consistent on all phases of offense.”
Emory & Henry converted just 10 of its 21 third-down attempts.
Thomas More tacked on two more touchdowns and a personal best 47-yard field for Mathias before E&H finished off the scoring with a Taylor-to-Yates 7-yard touchdown pass with 12 seconds left on the clock.
The teams racked up plenty of offense.
Thomas More had 471 total yards — 291 rushing, 180 passing — while E&H had 446, 272 through the air and 174 on the ground.
Taylor completed 27 of 52 passes for 272 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. Taylor was also the Wasps’ leading rusher with 69 yards on 17 carries.
The Wasps are back in action Saturday with a trip to Washington & Lee.