(FRANKLIN, Ind.) - The 18th-ranked Thomas More College football team's rally fell short as the Saints fell, 24-21, to 16th-ranked Franklin today (Saturday, November 19, 2011) in the first round of the NCAA Division III Football Championship Playoff at Stewart "Red" Faught Stadium in Franklin, Indiana.
With the loss, the Saints end the season at 9-2. With the win, the Grizzlies improve to 10-1 and advance to play No. 1-ranked and defending national champion, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in a second round game next Saturday (November 26).
Franklin led 7-0 after one quarter, 17-0 at halftime and 17-14 after three quarters.
Franklin took a 7-0 lead with 2:30 to play in the first quarter when Sam Otley scored on a one-yard run and Cole Richards added the point-after-attempt.
The Grizzlies extended the lead to 10-0 when Richards made a 30-yard field goal at the 12:13 mark of the second quarter.
Franklin increased the lead to 17-0 at halftime as Ethan Cook scored on a one-yard touchdown run and Richards added the PAT with 3:07 to play in the second quarter.
In the third quarter the Saints cut the lead to 17-7 when senior running back/return specialist Kendall Owens (Cincinnati, Ohio/LaSalle) returned a punt 84-yards for a touchdown and sophomore place kicker Tim Gormly, Jr. (Cincinnati, Ohio/McNicholas) added the PAT with 11:34 to play in the quarter.
The Saints cut the lead to 17-14 with 7:44 to play in the third quarter when sophomore running back Domonique Hayden (Lexington, Ky./Lexington Christian Academy) scored on a two-yard run and Gormly added the PAT.
Franklin increased the lead to 24-14 with 13:14 to play in the fourth quarter when Jonny West connected on a 16-yard touchdown pass to Logan Worley and Richards added the PAT.
Thomas More cut the lead to 24-21 Hayden scored on a six-yard run on a fourth and one and Gormly added the PAT with 6:20 to play in the game.
Franklin then got the ball back and ran out the clock.
Magness led the offense as he was 12-for-21 passing for 110 yards and had 23 rushes for 24 yards. Hayden finished the game with 14 carries for 55 yards and two touchdowns, while Owens had five catches for 45 yards and added four punt returns for 124 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, the Saints were led by junior defensive back Zach Autenrieb (Cincinnati, Ohio/Elder) with 11 tackles, including two for a loss and senior linebacker Zach Mink (Cleves, Ohio/Taylor) with nine tackles.