Mt. St. Joe's Thompson scores 7 TDs in 55-48 win over Liberty

September 14, 1996|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

Mount St. Joseph senior running back Aaron Thompson tied a state record with seven touchdowns against Liberty last night in Eldersburg -- and the No. 2 Gaels needed every one of them.

His last score, a 1-yard plunge up the middle with 1: 04 left in the fourth quarter, gave the Gaels a 55-48 win over a Liberty team that showed it could do some running of its own.

Thompson, a 6-foot-1, 210-pound transfer from Forest Park who rushed for 232 yards and four scores in the Gaels' season-opening win over Annapolis last week, finished last night with 229 yards on 27 carries.

Thompson did have some help. Mount St. Joe's quarterback Lucas Phillips connected with Matt Thomas for a 64-yard touchdown in the second quarter for the only Gaels touchdown that Thompson didn't score.

Phillips finished 9 for 25 with three interceptions, but several passes were dropped and he had 206 passing yards -- 196 of them in the first half.

The Gaels improved to 2-0 on the season and could slip into the top slot in the Metro rankings after No. 1 Dunbar was defeated, 14-8, by Douglass of Prince George's County yesterday afternoon.

In a game that was dominated by offense, a big defensive play by Mount St. Joe's Jason Tyler set up the Gaels' winning drive.

With the scored tied at 48 with 4: 25 left, Liberty sent Josh Denning (158 yards, three touchdowns) up the middle on fourth-and-two at the Liberty 44.

Tyler filled the hole and stuffed Denning for no gain.

The Gaels took over with 4: 19 left and needed eight plays and 3: 15 to get into the end zone, with Thompson carrying the ball on seven of the plays.

Thompson also had touchdown runs of 19, 23, 4, 6, 40 and 9 yards to offset strong performances by Liberty's Josh Denning, Justin Barnowski (126 yards rushing, two touchdowns) and Joel Denning (52 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions).

Liberty (0-2) overcame a two-touchdown deficit to take a 35-28 lead at the half. Of the eight Mount St. Joe possessions in the first half, four went for scores and the other four ended with turnovers -- and Liberty took advantage of all four turnovers.

After Josh Denning ran 49 yards for a score on the second play of the game to give Liberty a 7-0 lead, Thompson had answers with first-quarter touchdown runs of 19, 23 and 4 yards to give the Gaels a 21-7 lead.

Both teams came out running in the third quarter, with Thompson carrying the load for the Gaels and Liberty spreading the carries between the Denning brothers and Barnowski.

Mount St. Joe's tied the game at 35 on its opening drive of the second half, with Thompson going in from 6 yards out. The teams twice exchanged touchdowns before Thompson scored from 1 yard out with 1: 04 left.

On their final drive with under a minute left, the Lions reached midfield, with Barnowski going right for 26 yards before time ran out.

It was the second straight week the Lions lost in the closing minutes. Centennial scored with 58 seconds left last Saturday to beat the then-No. 7 Lions, 20-17.

Pub Date: 9/14/96

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