After scoring a modern school-record 65 points in a 43-point win last week, Cumberland will look to maintain that quality of play today at Thomas More.
Both teams are 3-3 but Thomas More is 2-1 while Cumberland is 1-3 going into today’s 12:30 p.m. CDT kickoff in Crestview Hills, Ky., a suburb of Cincinnati. The school is celebrating homecoming at Republic Bank Field.
“Not a bad football team,” Cumberland coach Tim Mathis said of the Saints, who finished 5-1 in the fall 2021 season. “They’re the same as they were last year. Lost their quarterback who was a real good football player.
“Defensive coordinator (Chris Norwell) became the head coach so they’re running the same defense. The same offense, too. Some 4-2-5 on defense. They kind of run our offense.”
But while Cumberland’s offense is based on run first, Thomas More looks to establish the air.
“They’re more built for their quarterback (Cookeville’s Blaine Espinosa is one of two QBs to see action and has 959 yards and seven touchdowns through the air) play than for their running game,” Mathis said. “We’re built more for wanting to establish our running backs.
“Defense, they play as they’re coached. They’re pretty sound in what they do. They don’t have anybody who stands out. They just play well together… If you put so many in the box, they’re going to try to throw it. If you don’t put so many in the box, they’re going to try to run it.”
Whatever Cumberland tried last week worked as the Phoenix piled up a big early lead over Campbellsville.
“It was just execution and it finally all just came together,” Mathis said. “The defense played like they had been playing.”
Mathis said the Phoenix are banged up seven games into the season and without a bye since Sept. 10 when their trip to Reinhardt was canceled. Their originally scheduled open date isn’t until Nov. 5.
Linebacker Champ Leddon will miss today’s game after sustaining an injury vs. Campbellsville. Fellow ‘backer Tanner Woodall will return to the lineup with his hand in a club after undergoing surgery.
“It’s the seventh game into the season so we got a lot of bumps and bruises,” Mathis said. “We got some guys playing hurt.”