CECILIA — St. Thomas More quarterback Will Bellamy saw open spaces in the Cecilia secondary Friday night and he didn’t hesitate to unleash the fury of the Cougars’ passing game.
Bellamy completed all but nine of his 22 passes for 296 yards and three touchdowns as the Cougars opened the District 5-4A portion of their schedule with a 41-12 victory over Cecilia.
STM, ranked No. 1 in Class 4A, struck quickly, scoring three touchdowns and a safety during the first seven minutes as the Cougars improved to 5-0.
Bellamy, a junior, completed two of his touchdown passes to running back Trevor Begue.
After scoring with six minutes left in the first quarter on a 32-yard run. Bellamy and Begue found the aerial groove.
Bellamy threw a 17-yard pass to Begue with 5:06 left in the first period and then with 2:07 remaining before halftime, STM bolted to a 35-0 lead as he connected with Begue on a 92-yard screen pass for another TD.
The passing performance, Bellamy said, was just a matter of playing the advantages presented by the Bulldogs’ secondary.
“They started out in cover 0, something that we have seen from defenses all season. That gave us some openings in the middle of the field and we used the post routes,” Bellamy said.
Begue ended the game with four catches for 130 yards, while Bech had three for 69.
The Cougars led Cecilia 41-0 with 19 seconds remaining in the third period, but Cecilia came back with two touchdowns in the final 10 minutes of the game.
One of those scores came on a 68-yard run by Cecilia running back Raymond Calais.
Calais took a pitch from Bulldogs’ quarterback Landon Roberts and once he was free on the edge of the STM defense, Calais ignited the jets and was gone down the sidelines before any of the Cougars could touch him.
Calais ended the game with 146 rushing yards on 24 attempts.
Cecilia head football Coach Terry Martin said he was happy with the way his team played the second half.
“I kind of questioned their character a little bit at halftime, but they really responded and fought back to give us a good second half,” Martin said.
All of Bellamy’s completions came in the first half.
Bellamy drove the Cougars 78 yards in four plays to open the game, with a pair of completions to Tiger Bech before Nathan Thevenot scored from the 2-yard line.
Cecilia’s Tarik Davis intercepted Bellamy at the Bulldogs’ 5-yard line to halt another potential scoring drive on the Cougars’ next series, but the defensive effort was turned into STM points when Calais was tackled in the end zone for a safety.
Begue scored on a 32-yard run following the safety and on the next series, Begue caught the first of his two touchdown passes from Bellamy. That allowed the Cougars to surge to the 23-0 lead.
STM head Coach Jim Hightower didn’t feel the Cougars’ early lead necessarily set the tone.
“I thought Cecilia (1-4, 0-2) stayed in the game the whole way and at the end they really battled back,” Hightower said.
Hightower said he didn’t feel STM’s passing attack was unusually sharp.
“We’ve been pretty productive in the passing game all years. We happened to hit on some big plays,” Hightower said.