Notre Dame wears down St. Mary's - East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

Notre Dame 52, St. Mary's 36 Notre Dame wears down St. Mary's

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Posted: Saturday, September 28, 2013 12:01 am | Updated: 2:35 pm, Sat Sep 28, 2013.

Check the “yes” box for moving the football for St. Mary’s. The Knights can do that.

Leave it blank as far as stopping the football.

Notre Dame is the latest team to get after the Knights as the Saints won their second straight game, 52-36, Friday night at Phoenix College.

The Notre Dame offense looked unstoppable, as it shredded St. Mary’s via the pass and the run. Senior quarterback Thomas Lehman engineered a prolific offense that had 460 yards on Friday and he got plenty of help.

Connor Graham was sensational on Friday for the Saints from his running back position. A sophomore who, one month ago, was on junior varsity, injuries moved him up, and he's produced.

Graham carried the football 27 times for 152 yards and he scored five touchdowns. He also kicked four extra points.

“He runs hard so he was always going to be in the mix with the other running backs,” Notre Dame coach Gary Gregory said. “He’s stepped up for us and done a great job.”

Being a sophomore, Graham isn’t the most experienced running back, but he knew who to credit for the work done Friday.

“It was the offensive line,” Graham said. “They’ve improved a lot since the beginning of the season.”

The Saints (3-2) took advantage of a St. Mary’s team that dressed just 23 players for the game and many of those played on both sides of the football.

“A lot of those kids never leave the field and they play hard,” Gregory said.

It was Gregory’s goal to wear down the Knights' defense and keep them on the field as long as possible. He didn’t want to see much of St. Mary’s offense.

“They play fast and we wanted to keep them off the field,” Gregory said. “We executed our plan.”

When Graham wasn’t running for a touchdown it was quarterback Thomas Lehman going to work. The senior was 12-of-17 passing for 258 yards and three touchdowns.

“He’s a confident kid and he’s getting better each week,” Gregory said.

You knew it wasn’t going to be St. Mary’s night when Notre Dame scored on its opening drive. On a second-down play, Lehman looked right and threw to tight end Christian Rodriguez. The football bounced right off his hands and into the arms of teammate Michael Cole, who scored the touchdown. Notre Dame scored more points (34) that it had done in any of its previous four games.

St. Mary’s (1-4) hung around thanks to the passing of junior Gabe Losada. He threw for 276 yards and four touchdowns but also two interceptions. Throw in two lost fumbles and turnovers hurt St. Mary’s most of the night.

Notre Dame 52, St. Mary’s 36

First Downs: Notre Dame 20, St. Mary’s 20

Rushing: Notre Dame 37-202, St. Mary’s 16-54

Passing (Comp-Att-Yards-TD-Int): Notre Dame 12-17-258-3-0, St. Mary’s 27-48-276-4-2

Fumbles-Lost: Notre Dame 0-0, St. Mary’s 3-2

Penalties-Yards: Notre Dame 14-125, St. Mary’s 2-20

Notre Dame 14 20 12  6 - 52

St. Mary’s     7   7    7 15 - 36

ND: Cole 5 pass from Lehman (Graham kick)

SM: Sullivan 8 pass from Losada (Gonzales kick)

ND: Graham 6 run (Graham kick)

ND: Graham 2 run (Graham kick)

SM: Moser 23 pass from Losada (Gonzales kick)

ND: Schlueter 19 run (Graham kick)

ND: Graham 24 pass from Lehman (kick failed)

SM: Moser 20 pass from Losada (Gonzales kick)

ND: Manov 74 pass from Lehman (kick failed)

ND Graham 10 run (kick failed)

SM: Sullivan 6 pass from Losada (Gonzales kick)

ND: Graham 2 run (kick failed)

SM: Cornado 5 run (Moser pass from Losada)

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[Stats Courtesy of MaxPreps]