Football: Park offense and defense shine in 27-7 win over St. Thomas Academy
The last three meetings between Park and St. Thomas Academy were offensive thrillers, Park winning 31-27 and 28-14 last season and St. Thomas Academy prevailing 38-35 in 2015.
This year Park brought both its offense and its defense in a convincing 27-7 victory Friday, Oct. 13, over the host Cadets at Mendota Heights.
Junior running back Payton Shafer scored three touchdowns for the Wolfpack, a 1-yard touchdown run in the first quarter and pass receptions of 8 and 18 yards for scores in the second and fourth quarters. Shafer caught six passes for 67 yards on the night.
Park’s other score came on a 14-yard pass from Grant Glazier to junior wide receiver Charlie Gorres in the second quarter.
Gorres had to work hard for that touchdown. He first caught a pass in the right corner of the end zone, which was called back. He then was called for offensive holding. Finally, on third down, he flashed open and caught a pass in the left corner of the end zone.
“We just wanted to come out strong. We wanted to finish the drive because we had such a great drive down the field,” said Gorres, who led Park with five receptions for 92 yards and a score. “We just wanted to finish it off, and that’s what we did.”
Glazier completed 18 of 27 passes for 222 yards and three touchdowns. Glazier also ran for 73 yards on 13 attempts.
Uriah Davis had 21 carries for 68 yards. As a team, Park gained 356 yards against the Cadets.
“I think in the first half we didn’t play the best that we could,” Gorres said. “But then we came out hard in the second half and we really pounded the ball down the field.”
Park’s defense, meanwhile, frustrated what the Cadets wanted to do all game and pitched a shutout for three quarters. The Wolfpack gave up some yards but continually stopped the Cadets when they got close to the red zone.
“The defense played well,” Park head coach Darin Glazier said. “We had some trouble with the run in the first half. They were driving on us a little bit but then we were creating some turnover opportunities and getting the ball back for our offense, which was nice.
“Second-half, the defense really stepped up and shut down their run game,” added Glazier. “And then we’re doing a decent job against the pass as well. They got that halfback pass on us to set up their own score, but overall I was real proud of those guys. I thought they played very well.”
The Wolfpack held the Cadets to 236 yards.
“I think we did really well attacking the quarterback, getting into the backfield, getting off the blocks, containing, doing pretty much what the defense is supposed to be doing,” said Park senior lineman Jericho Shamberger. “We had a really good game out here, second half, whole game, defense; second half, offense was so-so first half. But second half we came out and gave it to them and pounded the ball down the field.”
The Wolfpack led 7-0 after one quarter, 14-0 at the half and 20-0 after three quarters.
With the win, Park gained a key win in the standings and a probable first-win bye and a home game in the section playoffs.
“In the trenches I feel like the d-line did a good job, holding our own not getting blown off the ball,” said junior lineman Mike Campbell. “This is one of the better efforts we’ve had, but I feel like we can do more. I feel like we’re just scratching the surface.”
Park improved its record to 5-2.
St. Thomas Academy slipped to 3-4.
Park wraps up the regular season Wednesday with a 7 p.m. game at Simley (2-5). Simley fell to Henry Sibley 34-6 last week.