They’ve come from behind before, but Friday’s 30-22 win over Mission stood as a new achievement for the St. Thomas More Knights.
The varsity AAA football team fell behind 22-8 but used a second-half rally to turn the tables on the visiting Roadrunners and wrap up the regular season with a 6-1 conference record.
Capitalizing on a handful of turnovers, the No. 2-ranked Knights demonstrated a calm, methodical approach to the comeback. A lengthy march to open the second half ended with Dario Ciccone carrying the ball in from 10 yards. And while Mission made a serious drive of its own in response, getting all the way to fourth-and-goal at the four-yard line, that play saw Rickey Parsons pick off the pass at the goal line and dash 100 yards to tie the game 22-22.
Parsons played a pivotal role in the next turnover, this time in the fourth quarter, when he stripped the ball off a Roadrunner rusher inside STM’s 20-yard line, and Colin Dalla-Vecchia recouped to kick-start the winning drive.
Ciccone threw it to Michael Simone for a 20-yard major, followed by a two-point convert, to put the Knights in front to stay.
The Grade 12 quarterback, who was named the Eastern Conference’s offensive MVP two days after the game, completed 10-of-12 pass attempts for 130 yards, with Simone catching five of those passes for 90 receiving yards.
On the ground, Marc Abboud accounted for 75 yards on one carry, and Julian Valerio gained 70 yards over seven carries.
Defensively, a trio of STM players picked up six tackles each, including lineman Daniel Auld, linebacker Jack Wagner and Parsons, a defensive back.
Joining Ciccone on the awards’ podium were Auld and Parsons on the Conference’s defensive team, while lineman Cross Peloso, running back Vasco Repole and Simone were also honoured.
Parsons, Peloso and Wagner are all Grade 11s.
STM opens the playoffs this Friday, 3 p.m. when they host Nanaimo District Islanders, who topped the Pacific Conference with a 7-1 record, at Burnaby Lake.
The Islanders enter the playoff date on a seven-game win streak, while STM expects to have 2017 Defensive MVP Sam Steele in the lineup.