CHAMPAIGN — St. Thomas More knows exactly what everyone expected of them.
“We knew everyone else was going to kind of underestimate us and kind of think we were going to be what we were the last two years,” St. Thomas More senior wide receiver Mike Lamb said.
But the Sabers are not what they have been for awhile. They are one of only two teams in the Okaw Valley Conference that remain undefeated.
“We’ve got a good nucleus of athletes,” St. Thomas More Dan Hennessey said. “Not necessarily football players but athletes. That helps a lot.”
“5-0 is obviously one of the better records the school’s had in awhile,” St. Thomas More senior Jacob Richard said. “I think for us, we just don’t want to change anything.”
Things have changed quite a bit since last year. Perhaps even more surprising than the Sabers’ early season success is that they’re doing it with incredibly low numbers. This year’s varsity roster includes just 27 players, almost half of its usual turnout.
“I think a part of it was just because of our past,” Richard explained. “Not a lot of people wanted to stay with the team.”
Those that did stay, are glad they did. St. Thomas More beat St. Joseph Ogden in overtime back in Week 4. A win over the Spartans was something the Sabers hadn’t done in five years.
“That was one of those games, I mean, it could have gone either way for either school,” Hennessey said. “It just fell in favor of us and it was a big shot in the arm for these kids over here.”
St. Thomas More (5-0) will face it’s biggest test yet in its homecoming game on Friday against Unity in our Friday Football Fever Spotlight Game of the Week. A win against the Rockets would solidify the team’s record and guarantee the team’s first playoff berth in years.
“For us, it’s just about being sure with what we know we can do, and knowing we can be successful against a team like Unity,” Richard said.
“I think they believe they can go out and win this game,” added Hennessey. “Every week I’ve been telling them, get that sixth win and then from there, move on.”